Review: The Ugly Duckling Debutante by Rachel van Dyken

by 12/08/2012 2 comments
Hey Everyone!

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend! I have a review to share with you today, so without further ado, here you are.

Summary from Goodreads

ebook, 247 pages
Published September 26th 2011
by Astraea Press
0013429027 (ISBN13: 2940013429024)
Since childhood Sara has lived with the reality of being ugly. Something her awful family never ceased to remind her. After her sisters run off to Gretna Green, she's left with one choice--go to London and take their place for a Season. It's up to her to marry well and save her family from financial ruin.

A distant aunt decides it's in her best interest to sponsor Sara for the season and help her snag a husband by any means possible.

Nicholas Devons, Earl of Renwick, is a retired rake and consequently bored with life. He's given up beautiful women and carnal pleasures. Desperation makes him decide to give his massive fortune away and marry the first country girl he sees.

Lucky for Sara she's that girl. Unlucky for Nicholas, he's to be her new tutor in the ways of the ton. Two waltzes, one masquerade, a violent carriage ride, and two duckless ponds later.... and all that's left is a fun twist on one of the oldest stories ever told.


I wasn't able to resist the premise of this book. It sounded too sweet, and sexy. An ugly duckling heroine? A reformed rake? These are characters I can never resist. I'm such a sucker for outrageous premises. Anyway, I just had to read this book. It was a quick read, I found, light and easy to read and less than 300 pages long.

I think I'll begin with the writing got on my nerves. Van Dyken's writing varied from polished and clean Victorian styled language to modern and badly edited. So I totally blame her editors. I really really do; I mean, I caught missing periods and improper use of capitals everywhere. Usually where the writing started to sound too contemporary, filled with expressions like "sure" and "he mentally yelled at himself" both of which didn't flow with the rest of the text and style. So I think her editors just totally missed entire sections that needed a bit of polish. It made me groan with vexation because it distracted me from the story. But, that aside, I did enjoy the novel.

I really liked Sara's character. She was quick witted and smart, and reminded me a little of Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I liked the way she was able to turn a phrase to say a lot while saying very little. I also liked that despite the fact that she'd been told she was ugly and worthless all her life, that she had enough spirit to speak out with that quick wit. I think I'd be too afraid if I was Sara, to speak my mind that way. And especially to someone as worldly and handsome as Renwick.

Poor Renwick! The reformed rake is a stereotypical character, one I love to read about because who doesn't want a bad boy player turned into a loyal, sweet lover all because of the love of one good woman? Who I ask you? Who? And Renwick is not only the besotted lover of Sara, but a man who is so vulnerable he's turned away from even the possibility of loving anyone ever again. He loves Sara very much, but he's so afraid of letting anyone in that he refuses to acknowledge it to anyone, even himself. I was actually very touched when he finally felt himself loved enough to begin to feel that he was healing, all because of Sara's love.

I thought the characters were lovely, but they did lack something in the way depth. I think I wanted to see more emotion from them, instead of being told about it. But the story was sweet, and I was glad that they were able to overcome all the scandals and misunderstandings and simply love one another. Overall, a good read and a promising series.

3 glittering stars

Jewels E


I'm a thirty something girl who loves to read, write and dream. Because I'm so addicted to the written word in all its forms, I created this blog to share the books that devastate me with you.


Kara said...

It's so frustrating when the editing is bad. But it does sound cute. Perhaps I'll check it out from the library. Nice review!

Jewels E said...

Yes, it was quite mind boggling at times. But a cute story nevertheless.