Blog Book Tour | “Project Duchess” (Book One: Duke Dynasty series) by Sabrina Jeffries Jorie travels back into Regency Romances and finds a compelling new series therein!

Posted Monday, 1 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

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I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Project Duchess” direct from the publisher Zebra Books (an imprint of Kensington Publishing), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this story appealled to me:

For readers & regular visitors of Jorie Loves A Story – you know that for most of the life of my blog I’ve been showcasing and reading Romances and/or Women’s Fiction on Saturdays –

I have been an avid and ardent reader of Historical Romances longer than I have been intrigued by Contemporary Romances – a choice which first started to enter my readerly life as a child as I was shy of the age of ten by a year or two when I read my first Regency Romance; set at Christmas and penned by Mary Jo Putney. This goes back to when they had those omnibus Regency Romances for Christmas!? I truly loved them – I was swept into the era and the fashions, alongside the characters of course who charmed me about the Regency overall. From there, I would continue to seek out Historical Romances – from the wilds of the West to more Regencies until I discovered the Victorian era of Romances; at which point my trajectory looked more like a ping pong table of rotation! Laughs with mirth.

As a book blogger, I’ve been highlighting my joys of finding relationship-based romances – most of which were Contemporaries but there are several Historicals as well – by authors such as Liz Harris, Zana Bell, Beverley Eikli, Margaret Kaine, Christina Courtenay, Margaret James, Linda Mitchelmore, Jennifer Robson, Catherine Tinley, Carla Kelly and Carolyn Steele.

What can I say? I love the historic past and although Margaret Kaine was one of the authors who solidified my admiration for the Edwardian era, I find myself musefully drawn back into Regencies!

This is why when I saw some Historical Romances going on tour this Summer, I thought why not? It has been quite a bit of time since I’ve soaked inside one and although I had heard of Sabrina Jeffries collective works, I must admit this was the first time I had the pleasure of reading one of them! I used to regularly read the Word Wenches blog and I’m sure in the back of my memories I am remembering seeing her name and stories pop up on their musings as well. She was definitely on my long list for books I need to be reading for #HistRom and it is a joy this Summer I finally had a chance to dive into one of her Regencies – especially one of the auspiciously brilliant launch of a new series! And, you *know!* how wicked addicted I become to serial fiction!!

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Blog Book Tour | “Project Duchess” (Book One: Duke Dynasty series) by Sabrina Jeffries Jorie travels back into Regency Romances and finds a compelling new series therein!Project Duchess
Subtitle: Because duchesses are made not born...
by Sabrina Jeffries
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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 . . .

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781420148558

Published by Zebra Books

on 25th June, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 294

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance OR #HistRom with #Regency

Read more about Sabrina Jeffries | Alyssa J. Montgomery’s blog

the Duke Dynasty series:

Project Duchess (book one) Beatrice’s story – 25th,June, 2019

A Perfect Match (novella) Cassandra’s story – 24th September, 2019

The Bachelor (book two) Gwyn’s story – 25th February, 2020

Available Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

About Sabrina Jeffries

Sabrina Jeffries

Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels and works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas).

Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 9 million books in print in more than 20 languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.

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my review of project duchess:

Even though I had read about the use of the gossip column in Ms Montgomery’s interview with Ms Jeffries, I hadn’t sorted out til I began the novel how that might work out in relation to the continuity and the pacing within the novel itself. By the very first column, I was a bit convinced that this would earmark a lot of pertinent information for us as readers – especially as in the first entry, we’re given the litany of half brothers who are related to Grey, the 5th Duke of Greycourt in such a way as to expose how all of these brothers (and one half sister) have had a rather unusual life as their Mum continued to marry and have children but she had one decidedly unusual strike against her – all her husbands died prematurely!

With only the kind of cheek a man whose head and heart are not in synchronicity with his environs could Grey get away with criticising his butler when he, in fact, was the one to blame for ploughing through a conversation wherein he should have listened rather than spoken out of turn! From there, it was his cousin Vanessa who helps you feel anchoured into their family and the world befitting more Dukes than you can shake a stick at! She has brought news of his recent step-father’s passing – the kind of news that would raise one of his brothers to Duke and set a pallor of sorrow over the rest of the family, as it had for Grey. For his part, the news altered your perception of him – as he was quite stiff and assured of himself when we first saw him but after the letter from his mother, that self-confidence gave way to the truer portrait of a man who had turnt his back on love and was unwilling to accept love was in his future. I felt it surely was a bit more complicated than what he was letting on about in regards to his relationships and conditions of heart – but then, that would be the joy of finding out how Jeffries wants us to sympathise with him rather than feel he is nothing but an arrogant bloke who is choosing to remain unwed.

Vanessa had her own trials and tribulations – her Mum is so bent on her taking a husband she’s willing to fawn her off on her cousin (ie. Grey) if only to secure her in matrimony. The irony there is how both Vanessa and Grey find cheekier ways to mess with her mother’s mind and steal off a few moments of joy for their own sakes! It truly was an interesting bit of leverage they brokered between them and I must say, I think all persons in the Regency (or even the Victorian) era would have benefited with their quick-thinking had they found themselves in similar situations! I warmed to Vanessa straight-off – especially having learnt how she had acquired a new lemony coloured gown!

As we shift closer to the funeral for Grey’s most recent step-father, we find his half brother Sheridan and his cousin, Beatrice (known as Bea); what proceeds after their first encounter had me chuckling quite a bit because Beatrice has such a fierceness about her which was both fitting and comical at the same time! Fitting, because she read a piece of Grey he’d rather tuck out of sight I felt from most women – almost as if he doesn’t quite intend to come across as arrogant as he is and would prefer for women to see him just as he were so to speak. The fact Bea can call him out on his faults was what made the sequence for me the most enjoyable! She didn’t suffer fools but in his case, she didn’t like the presumptuous manner in which he criticised people he didn’t know or felt like assuming the worst about them out of hand. In essence, she called him on the things others might have given him a pass about but for Bea, it meant more than just idle observation.

What I was appreciating about the manner in which the story was disclosed is how nontraditional this Regency was presenting itself – it wasn’t hinged to the London Season, where all of the ton expect to find their husbands chasing after one ball or another nor was it alighting through a traditional plotting for a Regency romance. Instead what I was finding was a keenly curious family who had more secreted ghosts in their closets than you might imagine possible! There was a strong suggestion of intrigue and wrong-doing – bordering on the suspenseful bits you’d expect out of a historically set mystery – yet, in the background, you have this family of step-siblings and cousins all mourning their mutual relative whose left their world.

Even as Grey settles into the Hall where he found his Mum and her more recent son in residence it is what he learns from his brother Sheridan that gives him the most pause! If you counter that against the unforeseen circumstances afflicting Bea and her brother Joshua, it becomes a very interesting constructed dramatic Regency!

I was a bit surprised how easily Sheridan had in convincing Grey to step into an authoritative role at the Hall – not the one he wanted him to tackle, mind you, but one which would give Sheridan a chance to unearth what had befallen their mother’s husband. The closer we draw to the family though, the more you see the mask Grey has been keeping in place to stall the truer personality of his from being seen by his family. It was a curious observation – why would you want your loved ones to have one impression of you which was banked by rumours and gossipmongers, when you could just live your more authentic life by presenting yourself as you actually were rather than what was presumed? I had a feeling Grey was hiding a bit more of himself than just what was being presented of his character – perhaps even, he had issues with vulnerability and his emotions?

You truly feel for Beatrice – how she is fed up with the proprieties of society – wherein, women are highly ruled by the men in their lives and how for each obstacle they must face across gender lines, men face far fewer due to their status being immediately acceptable. It was a tug-of-war of wits, temperaments and a resolve of not allowing society to get the best of you. Aunt Lydia – the boys mother seemed to be at her worst in this story, having just lost her husband which is why it made sense she would lean hard on her sons, Grey and Sheridan. Whether or not that advice and counsel would be approved by Beatrice and Gwyn was notwithstanding of the fact without their interventions, the girls’ would have less of a chance to ‘make it’ once they were presented officially. So many rules and regulations – it is half a wonder anyone made it through a Season!

I wasn’t even half surprised by how Grey and Beatrice were reacting to each other whilst out walking the hounds! They were determined to believe they couldn’t relate to anyone nor would anyone wish to relate to them, that they’ve quite sealed themselves off from everyone! These two simply never had the chance to meet someone of their equal – to talk about things important to them in an open and respective environment of sympathy, understanding and bemusement; enabling them of course, to find a connection to the one person they last felt they’d become attached!

Thorn and Grey are the traditional brothers who once they spy a woman they desire, they don’t wish to share the pursuit! In this case, however, things are a bit more complicated due to how Gwyn and Beatrice are practically their wards as they are trying to help the girls’ come out to society not simply find a ready match from within their own family! Gwyn, of course, being Thorn’s twin has had her fair share of woe trying to stand outside his shadow but for Beatrice, this is a moment she’s dreamt of happening because it would give her the chance to live outside her circumstances. She hadn’t had it easy in life and a proper marriage (she felt) would fix the ills of her past by healing her present with a burst of happiness she never felt she’d find. You truly ached for everyone involved to find their tomorrows laced with more joys than angst. As each of them seems to have mastered the art of habouring secrets from their family!

I loved how Jeffries has her characters play off each other – for Beatrice and Grey, they were two individuals with a past they’d rather no one learnt in the light of day, yet for both to heal from that kind of traumatic past, they did need to talk it out. Jeffries aligns you into their path just when their each still trying to sort out their own lives – taking you closer to understanding the motivations of Beatrice and Grey to singularly stay focused on their own futures and not to allow any wanton or randomly inspired attraction hold them back from what they wish to pursue. It was there – where I saw the heart of not just this novel but of how Jeffries likes to take her readers through the journey of where her characters must tread in order to grow and become free on their own accord.

I love authors who write about families – Jeffries has given us a uniquely slightly dysfunctional family to fall in love with following within her Duke Dynasties series – at the heart of this family is Lydia, the mother who only wished the best for her children but a wish which grew complicated whenever her husbands took their leave for the grave! It is her children – all with their own distinctive personalities who give her the most respite from her losses and heartaches, whilst we endeavour to understand their dynamics as we live through their stories.

Small fly in the ointment:

Although it was not entirely obtuse nor disruptive to the flow of the story, there were a bit more sprinkles of stronger words than I first realised within the pacing of Project Duchess. Thankfully it was not an overt amount as my joy of reading the story would have become dampened but there is just enough inclusion to where at times, I didn’t always feel the words were necessary as Jeffries has a strong gift for narrative and dialogue without them hindering what she wants to share and say.

on the historical romantic styling of sabrina jeffries:

I must admit, I’ve been reading such a large selection of British Historical Romances over the past several years, I had forgotten the fact that most American writers do not write era specific romances set in England or the UK in British English! I am not sure why that struck me as odd as I first started to get into the opening bridge of Project Duchess but as I knew this was set in London, I was taken a bit out of sequence of the paragraphs as I thought perhaps something was amiss – it was but it wasn’t Ms Jeffries fault! I had forgotten when I switch back to reading American writ Regencies, odds are in favour of them being in a more decidedly American language than I am accustomed. It is a style that feels slightly awkward to me but I recover quickly when I have characters as interesting as the ones Ms Jeffries has presented to us!

Language choices aside, what hugged me through the story’s arc was the unconventional ways in which this Regency Romance was constructed. It had elements of the traditional Regencies I’ve read – naturally, but it also held a few surprises for me as well. It was within those surprises where I found myself warming to the style of Jeffries to tell these Regencies, over and beyond the fact I missed a few Briticisms along the way.

Jeffries has kept the ideal vision of the Regency intact in the background of Project Duchess – to where you can ready identify where in history we are as this story is unravelling itself. I love the small touches to the era but also, how she describes their clothes and other little bits of era specific detail that heightened the joy of reading this novel.

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A note of gratitude for the extras:

The lovely bookmark

& the preview of the novella in “Seduction on a Snowy Night”

The bookmark enclosed with my ARC was for the Sinful Suitors series – being this was my first novel I’ve had the pleasure of reading by Ms Jeffries it was a lovely surprise enclosure! I love bookmarks like this one which shows you the cover art for each of the installments of a series but also has the synopsis per book on the opposite side! Makes it nice to get a bit of a purview of what is found in another series by a #newtomeauthor you’ve been enjoying to read!

Secondly, there was a lovely chapter sampler for the novella A Perfect Match which releases on the 24th of September! I always felt it was added joy whenever you find a sampler for the next story in sequence to accompany the previous installment of a series!

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTFollow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating:

As this particular one has a bookaway along the route:

Project Duchess blog tour via HFVBTs
 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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Reading this story contributed to a few of my 2019 reading challenges:

2019 HistFic Reading Challenge banner created by Jorie in Canva.

2019 New Release Challenge created by for and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Project Duchess”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Sabrina Jeffries, the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. 2019 New Release Challenge badge provided by and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, Post Script banner using Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo; Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner, 2019 Audiobook Challenge and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 1 July, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Content Note, Family Drama, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Romance Fiction, Siblings, the Regency era, Twin Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature, Widows & Widowers

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