Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty, #1)by Published 25 Jun 2019
|Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty, #1).pdf|
From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . .
A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .
Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .
“Anyone who loves romance must read Sabrina Jeffries!”
—Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author
"Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty, #1)" Reviews
Beatrice Wolfe has too much experience organizing funerals. When she is called upon to help her Aunt Lydia after the death of her husband, she does so without hesitation. But when Fletcher Pryde, the Duke of Greycourt arrives, and not knowing who he is, she doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind regarding his rudeness. Just looking at him, she knows exactly what a man of his ilk are like and she wants nothing to do with him.
Grey is instantly taken with the woman who gives him her blunt rebuttals to his inquisition. When his brother shares concern that the woman’s brother may have been involved in a murder, he offers to spend time with her to learn what he can. Soon, he’s battling a mixture of emotions that offer him no peace except to claim Beatrice as his own.
Poor Grey. He had an awful childhood that left him untrusting of people in general. Trying to fit in with his half-siblings, he struggles with old wounds even as he hungers for Beatrice and the satisfaction that her presence brings to him. I loved that he adored Beatrice for her hoyden ways and her straight forward honesty. The very thing that would keep her from finding a suitable husband, and the things his mother’s project would fix, were the things that drew him to her. Sigh. Exactly what I look for in a historical romance.
”She was perfect for him in every way. And all she asked was that he let her look inside his very soul.
He should let her. It meant nothing, right?
It meant everything. It meant sharing his secrets with her, taking hers on faith, trusting her to hold his heart in her hands and not crush it, the way everyone else had. Because apparently he did have a heart if he were to judge from the searing pain in his chest.”
Beatrice was amazing. She was so kind and caring, always ready to help at a moment’s notice. With the weight of the her and her brother’s world on her shoulders, she’s fighting to do what needs to be done to assure they are not cast aside and found homeless.
But as suspicions of murder arise, she can’t help but worry that they are true. She was a strong heroine, determined to solve her problems in the best way society would allow. Her ability to speak her mind to Grey and stand up to him made me like her even more.
This has a lot of steam for a regency, but I LOVED it! If I want to read a flat historical romance, I’ll pull out one of my momma’s old books. Instead, this is what I want. A romance with suspense, mystery and intrigue all laced with sizzling passion. With enough uncertainty and drama to keep the story moving and a pace that matches it, I found myself reading this within an afternoon. I couldn’t stop.
Project Duchess sets up this series as we meet the characters that I assume will have their own books. There isn’t a one of them I don’t want to know more about. With the possibility for danger and mayhem as this series progresses, I’m eagerly awaiting the next book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by NetGalley and Kensington Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Safe [spoilers removed]
Triggers [spoilers removed]
I’m just back from Le Festival du Roman Feminin in Paris where I was lucky to meet a bunch of awesome authors, so I have a bit of struggle put back my feet on earth.
This is my second read by Mrs Sabrina Jeffries, I do remember my first one, I liked it but I had mixed feeling about the heroine.
But here, she outdid herself and crafted a great young woman, with no weak knees ( how I dislike women who become puddles of drool at the sight of a man! ). Beatrice is strong woman, she was shaped by her upbringing and the behavior of her uncle toward her. Instead of undermine her character, it strengthened it, she blossomed in a woman who speaks her mind and lets nobody thwart her projects. Sure, it renders her less prepped to face London society.
Fletcher Pryde has ressentes his family since he was estranged at ten to be raised by his uncle and guardian. Worst, his uncle abused him to have him comply to his wills. He changed him to a man who refuses any emotional involvement. Why his life is turned upside down when around Beatrice, he feels a compulsion to be close to her, to hold her, to kiss her when at the same time he suspects her to might been part of some wrongdoings.
I loved they were able to tell what they have in mind, that they do not shy away and ask instead of turning around. They are far from perfect as their faith in the other is put to test at each bend. Their trust is balanced between their certitudes and hearsay and rumors. They each time come to realize when they have made mistakes and then they try to fix them, as it often done by blurting out before thinking but words can cause great pains. Why the truce they made to be true when they are together is often challenged as they must compromise between sentiments and secrets.
As a first in a series, the storyline introduced a wide range of characters, will each of the sibling get its story?
I just wondered why Gwyn, Grey’s half sister, never had a debut, even when they were not living in England. If I figure out my sums, she is in her thirties, I do like my heroines not fresh out of the nursery which it is more a spinster’s age than a debutante’s, but she acted rather like a very young woman instead of an adult one.
In all, it was a good beginning in this Duke Dynasty series, there are plenty of great tales in the making.
I was provided an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the editor Kensington Books/Zebra but I had previously preordered my own copy, so here is my true and unbiased opinion.
Formulaic, tropey in the worst way, uninspired, and tossed together like a bad salad. Not even 300 pages and I had to force myself to not skim large chunks of it. I just was not captured by anything here. My mind wandered so long and so far while I struggled to read this book. I decided to fold the laundry so that I could have a few minutes away from it. I even put the folded laundry away. That's how unexcited I was about these characters and the plot (what little there was of one at least).
There is no legitimate chemistry between Grey and Beatrice and I lost track of the number of times I rolled my eyes or flat out had to put the book down over the shit they did and said. Grey pops a stiffy every time she's in his general vicinity and it's always for reasons he doesn't want to examine too closely. I never believed that he felt anything genuine for her, just physical attraction. I know the aristocracy are repressed, but COME ON PAL. A little self-reflection and emotional intelligence isn't going to cause you to lose your standing to Society or turn you into a weeping Byronic mess. Just stop thinking with your dick for five seconds. Please.
And Beatrice! Beatrice was so focused on hating Grey for half the book that those swoopy feelings in her gut whenever he was around sounded more like an impending IBS flareup than any kind of romantic attachment. These two ran lukewarm then cold and it was taxing to read. Physical lust is not the same as being emotionally engaged with a person and you can’t change my mind.
The smutty bits were AWFUL. If I ever have to see the phrase “earthquake in her soul” when describing an orgasm again, the offending book will be buried in my garden as fertilizer and maybe serve a useful purpose.
Vaguely referenced feelings and motivations that didn’t make sense dragged down what little actual story there was and just didn't inspire me to want to care about these characters. For example, Grey keeps thinking about how bitter he was about Things. Did I care about this and how it shaped him into the man he is? No. No I didn't. Because he did not display any depth of character or redeeming qualities. At all.
Finally, there was a lot of ~foreshadowing~ about an overarching plot but little of it actually interests me. The only character I'm actually curious about and want to read more of? Joshua Wolfe. We see far too little of him but his page time was the only thing that had me actively engaged with the story. Which is why I’ll read the next book, dammit. Jeffries knew what she was doing when she made him the focus of the next in the series.
In summary, I can’t recommend this to anyone. Save yourself and go find something else to read.
Lydia, the 4th Dowager Duchess of Armitage has married either very well or very badly, depending on your prospective. She has married three dukes, all who have left her widowed, the first two in a three year time span. The third duke had at least hung around for 30 years. From those marriages Lydia has produced three dukes, one spare and one daughter.
It will be these adult children who are at the center of Sabrina Jeffries new series-the Duke Dynasty. Jeffries is getting off to a stellar start with her first entry, Project Duchess
Those who know Lydia have no doubt that at least the second and third marriages were love matches. The very recent death of the 4th Duke of Armitage leaves her heartbroken. To help her grief Lydia has taken on a two projects. The first is the rapprochement with her oldest son, Fletcher Pryde the 5th Duke of Greycourt. The second project is the simultaneous launch into society of her daughter Gwyn along with a niece she never really knew, Beatrice Wolfe. Since it is a long time until mourning ends and the launches launch, Lydia has time to remove all of the rough edges from Beatrice. There are many since she grew up roaming the estate when she wasn’t serving as companion to the late Duchess or reluctant hostess to the widowed (and now late) 3rd Duke of Armitage.
To help with this grand project, the Dowager Duchess has enlisted to help of Greycourt. After meeting the acerbic Beatrice, Greycourt has found himself less resistant to this idea than he would have first supposed.
Although Beatrice is the grand-daughter of a duke, fate has ordained that she and her war damaged brother, Joshua, reside in the Dower house. Joshua holds the job of head gamekeeper on the Armitage estate; a job far below his status but one suiting the reclusive Joshua just fine.
Beatrice had made herself useful in other ways, being an efficient manager of estates, homes, and people, if they lose their residency in the dower house they will be homeless and destitute, so Beatrice does her best for the Armitage estate.
In Project Duchess Duke Dynasty #1, Jeffries introduces all of the adult children who will be starring in the forthcoming books with teasing glimpses that perfectly whet the appetite.
Fair warning though, rough seas ahead, with Project Duchess tackling dark issues; a serial killer, physical, mental, sexual abuse, and PTSD. These threads don’t overwhelm Project Duchess but make it deeper and more absorbing than the usual HR.
I’m greedy; I wish authors could just stream books as do so many of the cable and internet channels with their series. Especially with a series that starts out so wonderfully.
There are heartbreaking back stories, intricate plots, and characters whose stories one can’t wait to read; and that’s just with the first, Project Duchess.
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
4.25 stars- Reviewed for Wit and Sin
Sparks fly when a guarded, conventional duke meets a spirited, unconventional lady unimpressed with his position in Project Duchess . Sabrina Jeffries kicks off her Duke Dynasty series with an engaging romance filled with likeable characters and a mystery that’s bound to keep this series interesting.
Until age ten, Fletcher “Grey” Pryde had an idyllic life with his mother, stepfather, and four siblings. But when he was taken back to England by his uncle, Grey’s life changed forever. Though he clearly loves his family, he keeps them at arm’s length and has walls around his heart. But when his stepfather dies, he doesn’t hesitate to go to his mother’s side. He’s prepared for memories to bombard him, but what he’s not prepared for is his mother’s newest “project”: preparing the lovely Beatrice Wolfe for her debut. Beatrice is his half-brother’s cousin and she is a breath of fresh air to Grey. She is forthright and sees value in people, not titles. Beatrice knows all-too-well that being a duke doesn’t make a man a gentleman. The two of them come from very different circumstances, yet it’s clear they’re made for each other from the start. I loved watching Beatrice and Grey fall in love. They’re unfashionably honest with each other, which helps break down some of the walls around their hearts. I enjoyed their dialogue and the chemistry that sizzled between them. Ms. Jeffries makes it incredibly easy to root for them because they’re such a likeable, well-matched couple.
Love, however, may not be enough for Beatrice and Grey to get their happily ever after. It isn’t a difference in station that makes things difficult, but rather a mystery. Was Grey’s stepfather murdered? The possibility seems increasingly likely and in his search for answers, Grey is forced to delve into Beatrice’s family’s secrets. Both Grey and Beatrice are pulled by duty, loyalty, and love and their burgeoning relationship may not survive the answers they find. How things work out, I’ll leave readers to discover on their own.
Grey and Beatrice are the heart of Project Duchess , but their families add depth to the world and make the book stand out. Grey’s mother has been married and widowed three times, all to dukes, and I adored her and Grey’s brothers and sister (the bright and vivacious Gwyn especially). The family dynamics were every bit as engaging as the romance. Between the overarching series mystery and the delicious tension between Gwyn and her future hero, I am on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happens in the next Duke Dynasty book.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.