Duchess

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Title: Duchess
Series: Daughters of Fortune
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Summerside
Published: March 1, 2013
Pages: 352

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Rosie Worth, now starlet Roxy Price, has given up everything to become an actress. And she’s found everything she’s ever wanted in the glamour. With adoring fans and a studio-mogul husband, she’s finally silenced the heartache of the past. Her future shines bright and the possibilities are endless until one Black Friday when everything comes crashing down around her feet and leaves her reeling.

The Golden Age of Hollywood is known for making stars but it’s also known for breaking them too. It seems like Roxy’s career is over and when she loses almost everything, she finds herself disgraced, penniless, and without jobs. Her only hope of survival and possibly revival is to team up with Belgian duke Rolfe Van Horne, a longtime film investor and old flame.

But just when it seems like life will once again right itself Roxy finds that Rolfe is not what he seems and that he is using his film and Roxy to support a growing unrest in Europe. His plans could break her heart and endanger her life and it’s up to her to decide which side she stands on. Roxy won’t give up without a fight but now she has to choose whether her fight will be for what’s right or for her career.

Will Roxy come back to the faith she left behind with her past or will she spend the rest of her life empty and alone? Will Roxy choose a simpler yet more fulfilling life or will she give up her chance for normal to fight retirement? Will Roxy support or disagree with Rolfe’s stand on the unrest in Europe? What will she do when she finds out? Will she leave him or will she help him?
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This is my first full-length novel from this author so I didn’t fully know what to expect or whether I would like it. The writing style and detail of the book was amazing but I felt parts drag on and in some places there too much emphasis on the setting or Hollywood background and not enough put on our heroine. Even though I appreciate this author’s efforts to make a book with a different tone, I found it hard to relate to this story and its characters.

The story is placed in the viewpoint of Rosie/Roxy only and that made it drag a bit. The majority of the story was the behind-the-scenes details of the 1930’s Hollywood scene and though that’s fascinating there tends to be a point where you want to read something other than it. Not to mention our heroine is kind of unrelatable. Her drive to get praise from complete strangers means she gives up almost everything and her choices throughout the book aren’t the best nor, for me, very understandable. Though she did a lot of growing throughout the course of the story, her constant stubborn “my way always” attitude and her wishing for what she can’t have made the book drag on for me.

The story, for most of the book, is a look into the Hollywood acting scene in the 1930s and was fascinating and somewhat appalling. It describes in detail about eyebrows being plucked to literally nothing and hair falling out because of the peroxide, age destroying a career, etc. and though it’s fascinating, and I love a lot of historical content, when chapters at a time are mostly about the historical value and not character development the story tends to drag on a bit.

The storyline really picked up after Roxy started working with Rolfe and that part of the story really saved this book from completely failing for me. I would’ve loved the beginning shortened and the ending lengthened. The ending was awesome and what I really want to read in a novel and even though it adds a bit of mystery from her viewpoint I would’ve loved to have gotten inside Rolfe’s head and been give. More details to what he was doing.

This author is really a first for me and though I didn’t love this book I feel like this author has a great writing style and maybe I’ll enjoy something different by her. This author had gotten acclaim for years on her writing skills and I loved her novella that I had the opportunity to read, so I do want to read more from her just maybe something more contemporary or something more historical. I can’t really recommend the author due to my lack of experience with her books but I don’t really recommend this novel.

Overall, the story dragged on for most of the book but the ending saved the book from being a complete disaster. This is great for people who like novels about Hollywood or novels set in the 1930s. This is perfect for adults but it’s best to keep it away from younger readers and possibly teens. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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