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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Title- The Making of a Duchess
Author: Shana Galen
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN: 978-1402238659
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating 4.5 Crowns

From the Publisher:

A very dangerous attraction…
Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she’s been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor…

And an even more dangerous secret…
Sarah Smith’s mission is to find out whether the Duc’s trips to the Continent are as innocent as he claims, but the way he looks at her is far from innocent…

Their risky game of cat and mouse propels them from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris, and into a fragile love that may not survive their deceptions…

My Review:

A seemingly simple request leads to a delightfully fun, quirky, and fast-paced game of charades in The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen, the first in her trilogy I am thrilled to announce. How does one describe a novel such as this without giving away the points that make the novel so delightful?

In 1789, Julien and his mother escape the peasant uprising, making 13-year-old Julien the duc de Valere. He and his mother escape France and head to England and begin a new life for themselves and all is fairly calm for twelve years when trouble finds Julien once again. Sir Northrop, a former Naval Officer now part of the Foreign Affairs Office and head of overseeing and training operatives, has been watching Julien, believing him to be an informant and a traitor. Northrop sets up an elaborate ruse to have a spy planted within Julien’s household, an intimate with the hope of an engagement between Julien and Sarafina Artois which would allow for confidences to be shared. The only problem for Northrop is he needs an operative with no family and no ties to the London ton. His choice is his governess, Sarah Smith, who has approximately three days to learn about the elite before being sent to stay with Julien and his mother. And oh yes, how is her Italian?

Galen weaves together a delightful and witty tale of cat and mouse with deception, intrigue, mystery and romance into her fast-paced Regency novel. The Making of a Duchess makes for exceptionally entertaining reading with a cast of brilliantly written characters both central and minor. An example of Galen’s wonderful command of description, wit, charm, and her delightful cast of characters is evident during Lord Aldon’s ball. One cannot help but adore Sarah as she goes from the happy and content governess to an unwilling spy, entering the Season and the ton, both entirely foreign to her. And what of Julien and his mates? Is he indeed a spy as the British government suspects or are his dealings on the continent legitimate and quite legal? Galen’s descriptive writing and wonderful dialogue makes her novel impossible to set down.

I am personally looking forward to the release of the other two novels in this trilogy, The Making of a Gentleman and The Making of a Rogue. If it is not evident yet, let me point out that I highly recommend The Making of a Duchess to any reader who is looking for an intellectual, witty, and all around delightful read.

I received a complimentary copy of The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen from Sourcebooks. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.

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Marg said...

I enjoyed reading about Julian but I did struggle with Sarah a little bit. I love the premise so hope to keep on reading to see if it gets any better for me.

Jenny Girl said...

I enjoyed this one also Jen. Glad you did too and I also look forward to the next one in the series.