Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Once and Future Duchess Book Tour: Review + Excerpt + Giveaway!

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Welcome to my post for the Once and Future Duchess book tour! I have a review coming up, as well as an excerpt and a giveaway for copies of The Duke Diaries. But, before we get to all that, allow me to introduce the book:

The Once and Future Duchess (Royal Entourage, #4)
Release date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical (Regency) Romance
Series: Royal Entourage #4

A duchess in time saves a noble line...

In theory, the Duke of Candover is the most eligible peer in the realm. But in truth, he has a deep aversion to the merest hint of marriage, not to mention two botched engagements which have marked his jaded soul. Now, after a debauched bachelor party that causes public outcry, the Prince Regent is demanding that it's Candover's turn to be brought to heel. And Prinny secretly believes that Isabelle Tremont, the Duchess of March, is precisely the lady up to the challenge.

Isabelle must marry, but a day of reckoning with the man she's loved for years is her greatest fear. If Candover insists she's too young and innocent for a seasoned world-weary man like him, there's no shortage of other candidates. Gentlemen of prestige and position. Gentlemen whose attentions are driving Candover to jealous distraction. Yet one abandoned moment under the stars hints that if they can put aside pride and duty, then a love once denied might just be their destiny.

My Rating: 3.5 Roses

An enjoyable, sweet romance, The Once and Future Duchess was a lovely read. It wasn't perfect, but it was a good read and I liked it.

Isabelle was a wonderful heroine. She was strong and independent and not afraid to go after what she wanted. And, she wasn't going to let anyone try to rule her, even the duke she loved. I thought she was a lovely, likable character.

Candover was frustrating for me. On one hand, he was sweet when he wanted to be, fiercely loyal to those he cared about, and his troubled past gave understandable reason to any flaws. On the other hand, he got hung up on the stupidest things when it came to considering marriage with Isabelle and he was SO stubborn about it. Not only was it annoying, but it ultimately slowed the plot down.  Despite my annoyance, though, I was okay with him, overall.

The romance was...okay. The problem was that it moved...so...slowly. It took so long for Candover to even begin let go of his reservations and it made the book feel like it was going in circles, until Isabelle decided she'd had enough and Candover finally decided to step up, which were both very late in the book. But, I still thought they were a perfect match, once stubbornness stopped separating them. And, they certainly had chemistry between them. I thought they were a good couple.

There was a secondary romance involved (and a somewhat tertiary one) with Amelia and the Duke of Sussex. I thought it was sweet and all, but it needed more development. It felt like it went from Sussex hating Amelia for what she did, to him suddenly loving her. There needed to be much more of a bridge between those two. So, I thought it was good, but it could have been better.

The plot was well paced and, despite any issued I had, I was still kept interested the entire way through. Any issues I had were frustrating, but not enough to keep me from liking the book. I enjoyed the story and I thought the ending was sweet.

The Once and Future Duchess was a lovely historical romance. Despite its faults, it was ultimately an enjoyable read that I quite liked. Romance lovers, you might want to check this book out.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

“And you are the most courageous lady I know,” he whispered in her ear. “And you never back down from a challenge.” And then he his arms tightened and pulled her deep, as close to his heart as she had once dreamed.

And he lowered his lips to her forehead which felt like a benediction to everything good. His lips fell to her cheek, easing the tension there, and crossed to her ticklish nose, her eyelids, and came to a rest on her lips, which craved his.

Her uneven breath fanned the hollow of his cheek as she tried to stop the trembling of her body without success.

His mouth took possession of hers and she gave over to the wild thrill of the moment which seemed precariously balanced on the precipice of everything fantastic. He coaxed beyond her lips and teased her tongue to engage with his own. And she felt like she was falling, falling.

The taste of Armagnac, and the poignant remembered scent of shaving soap and his cologne dangerously dabbled with all her other senses and she grabbed his sleeves with a fierceness born in her breast.

The feeling of his lips trailing down her neck to the sensitive skin below was nearly her undoing.

She couldn’t breathe.

He raised his head for a moment to gaze at her; his eyes were stark against his bronzed face, and filled with palatable need. His eyes would not leave her face as he passed his hand over her breast once and then delved beyond the edges of her pale yellow silk gown. She squeezed her eyes shut so she would not make a sound.

He traced a light circle on the tip, increasing the pressure until he paused and gently squeezed her tip drawn up tightly. The sensations were so shockingly exquisite the back of her throat closed and she gasped.

“No more,” he kissed her temple and nuzzled her ear. “No more, Isabelle. ”

He withdrew his hand but she covered his large bronzed hand with her own, halting his motion.

“I will not forgive you if you stop,” she whispered, determined to see this through. “I swear to God I won’t.”
Up for grabs are 2 copies of The Duke Diaries, the previous book in the series.
Good luck!

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About the Author:

Sophia Nash was born in Switzerland and raised in France and the United States, but says her heart resides in Regency England. Her ancestor, an infamous French admiral who traded epic cannon fire with the British Royal Navy, is surely turning in his grave. Before pursuing her long-held dream of writing, Sophia was an award-winning television producer for a CBS affiliate, a congressional speechwriter, and a nonprofit CEO. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs with her husband and two children. Sophia's novels have won twelve national awards, including the prestigious RITA® Award, and two spots on Booklist's "Top Ten Romances of the Year."


  1. Thank you for hosting today!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway.