Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Twelve years after fleeing their burning chateau, Julien Harcourt, Duc de Valère, searches for his lost twin brothers. His frequent travels between England and France at a time when the exiled Napoleon is reported to be marshalling his troops raises the suspicions of English authorities who set secret operative Sarah Smith on his trail. A risky game of cat and mouse leads the two from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris and into a fragile love that neither dares to hope for.
The first in a trilogy of three brothers struggling to reconnect and restore their noble heritage in the aftermath of the French Revolution, each losing his heart along the way.


A moment later, the duchesse was gone, and Sarah was alone in the ornate drawing room. She turned this way and that, afraid to touch anything. Oh, how she hated all of this lying and playacting! But the faster she completed this mission, the sooner she could return to life as a governess. Perhaps she could find the evidence Sir Northrop wanted now, and then she would be able to tuck Anne and Edmund into bed tonight.
With new purpose, she moved about the room, looking for a desk or table with a drawer—anything that would hold or conceal papers. She passed a large painting of an Italian noblewoman and then halted and whipped back around. Was that a—no.
She leaned closer. Was that a Titian?
Oh, Lord. Oh, my. Just how wealthy was this family? An actual Titian! And then another thought occurred to her—with wealth came power. What would happen if the Valères discovered she was not who she claimed? Would she be thrown in prison?
Even worse, what if the Duc de Valère was a spy? If he realized she had found him out, he might see the need to be rid of her. Permanently.
She put a hand to her belly to still its roiling. She could not worry about that right now. She had to keep her chin up and her wits about her. She tried focusing on the Titian.
She wished she could put her spectacles on in order to read the signature, but The Widow had forbid her to do so unless absolutely necessary. So Sarah squinted and leaned in close, lifting one hand toward what looked like a scribble.
"I wouldn't touch that if you want to keep my mother's favor," a deep voice said from behind her.
Sarah swung around, knocking a bowl off a nearby side table. It shattered loudly when it hit the gleaming wood floor.
"Oh!" She looked from the shattered bowl to the man standing in the drawing room's entrance.
It was him. She knew it.
This was the Duc de Valère. The spy. The traitor. The man who might kill her if he knew what she had been sent to do.
Her stomach clenched again, and grabbing the vase nearest her, she promptly cast up her accounts.

This is the first book is a series of thee and in my opinion the beginning of a wonderful adventure. This is not your typical historical romance. Yes there are aristocrats and balls and certain manners and rules but there is also action, suspense, and intimacy. In THE MAKING OF A DUCHESS you meet Julian and Sarah. Sarah is a governess that was orphaned as a child so she is seeking family and a home. She doesn't feel she is very beautiful and she thinks of herself as quite plain. Julian is a French Duc. He is intelligent, noble, and extremely duty bound. When he was a young child, him and his mother were forced out of their home and forced to leave two brothers unaccounted for. He did his father proud and protected his mother until they could reach her family in England. 12 years later, he is still searching and determined to find his brothers.

The plot was very well put together. The story flows nicely with no noticeable plot holes. There were a few times when I felt it was a bit jumpy but it evened out quickly and very nicely. I enjoyed the level of suspense and action that kept me sucked in from the very first page and sitting on the edge of my sea. I also enjoyed the humor and whit. There were quite a few times when Ms Galen had me chuckling. The love scenes were well written and very appropriate for the time period and characters. I thought the chemistry and passion were explosive and I couldn't wait to read more of the interaction between the two characters. I absolutely adored the characters in this book. I felt they were realistic and well written and the banter between them was a pleasant addition to an already great book. The one thing I must compliment Ms Galen on is her ability to make you feel like you are in the story. Her description is so vivid that you can almost smell the scents and see the scenes like a movie being played out in front of you. I truly enjoy getting lost in this historical romances and can guarantee this will not be the last romance I read by this author. She is definitely an auto buy!

I am serving this story up with 4 martinis!!!


For more information about Shana Galen and her book, please visit her website

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Great review, I can tell I am going to have to give historicals a try again. I read so many in High School I burned out, but coughTWENTYcough something years later I should be ready to immerse myself in a great book like this =)

  2. I don't read a ton of historical romance, but this one sounds good! I really liked your review. I'm off to GR now :)

  3. definitely need to add this to my wishlist. Love historicals. Looks good! Thanks for the good review.


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