Project Duchess

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

This debut of a new series introduces the former Lydia Fletcher who is now widowed for the third time. She is devastated by her husband's sudden death and turns to her eldest son, Fletcher Pryde, for consolation and aide. Fletcher finds himself agreeing to help his stepfather's niece, Beatrice Wolfe, with a season and finding a husband. Soon, both Fletcher and Beatrice are dancing, flirting, and trying to solve a murder. The action is nonstop and the conversation is witty in this new novel.

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for an ARC; all opinions are my own.
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First in a new series, this book follows the Duke of Greycourt (the oldest brother, whose half siblings include 2 more dukes) and Beatrice...the cousin of his younger brothers. 

I did not like the first chapter or so. It was difficult to sift through who was who and figure out his mother’s three marriages to three different dukes, but once we get into the story it takes off with an immediate attraction between them. Grey and Bea are a perfect match. The steamy dance lessons were a win. And, I did like the mystery of the dukes deaths, which I assume resolves later in the series. Overall, a great start to a new series. I’m looking forward to Grey’s sister and Bea’s brother in book two.
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Sabrina Jeffries usually writes in my wheelhouse, but this was mostly okay-ish for me. However, my main takeaway was: "omg, I want to read Major Joshua Wolfe and Lady Gwyn's story so hard. Give it to meeeee."

That's a compliment.
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The story is well thought out and nicely written making this an exciting page turner and one which I am more than happy to recommend."
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I could tell Project Duchess was the start of a new Jeffries series by the plethora of family members who were introduced in the prologue. With that, it’s also fair to say that Jeffries’s romance has family ties as one of its central themes. Because Jeffries’s thematic hand is light and her tone humorous, there be a few dark moments, Project Duchess is a droll, heartwarming series début.

Embedded in the introduction to its many characters (all of whom could potentially serve as heroes and heroines in volumes to come), the prologue sets up the series’ premise. Each potential h/h stems from one Lydia Fletcher, the dowager duchess of not one, not two, but three dukes and all her ducal offspring. When the novel opens, duke#3 has expired and the lone son/child of her first RIP duke, Fletcher Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, 34, with a rake-hell reputation, unjustly so, has been called from his home in London’s Mayfair to his stepfather’s funeral in Armitage Hall, Lincolnshire. Except for one dash to London, the action takes place on this estate. From the get-go, we know that “Grey”, as he’s called, has been estranged from his family, not totally, and not with great enmity, but there is distance and hurt feelings.

When Grey arrives, many of his half-siblings are already there, or pending arrival, and everything is in the chaos of funeral preparations. At the centre of the organizing is one Beatrice Wolfe, related to duke#3, but not to Lydia, or by extension any of her offspring. Which is good. Because Beatrice is Grey’s love interest. Jeffries portrays a quipping, boisterous family wonderfully. Though there is some strain with Grey, there is also no doubt that everyone has nothing but love and liking and a good, healthy dose of teasing and bantering, even in the midst of genuine grief. Grey and Beatrice are thrown together, especially when the weepy Lydia decides to continue working on Beatrice and her daughter’s, Gwyn’s, débuts. As a result, Grey is recruited to help with their dance lessons and one marvelous sexy dance-instruction scene ensues. There’s some mild antagonism between Beatrice and Grey, but overall, it’s obvious they’re compatible and suited.

Complications arise when the 3rd duke’s heir, Sheridan, takes Grey into his confidence that he suspects his father was murdered and suspicion falls on Beatrice’s brooding, PTSD-suffering brother, Joshua. This is where the novel fell apart. Grey, who is supposed to be smart and sophisticated, appears an utter ninny when he skulks around suspecting Joshua and even Beatrice. How ridiculous he appears. Where the humorous ridiculousness of h/h banter totally works to make this a charming read, the whole “who murdered the duke thread?” is meh and unconvincing. I didn’t care for it. Jeffries needed more than Grey’s “I can’t open up to love, I’ll be hurt and vulnerable” and Lydia’s “I”m too poor for a duke to marry me” misgivings. So, there’s the who-killed-Maurice thread to fill up the pages. 

What works are the family dynamics. Okay, they may be somewhat anachronistic (these are not class-based Regency types), but they’re fun and heartwarming. Lydia and her various sons and daughters work things out by being honest with each other. And their teasing and gently poking is all part of the affection. As for the romance, Grey and Beatrice share a friendship and powerful attraction. They have a similar mindset: sharp, honest, and blunt. I liked them a lot, both together and apart. And there aren’t any big misunderstandings or secrets, thanks be to the romance gods: they talk, they recognize the value of openness and honesty and they share a mutual, healthy, and fun lust. Again, even though this felt you could transport the narrative to a contemporary romance and it would read fine, it didn’t diminish the reading pleasure, just the plausibility. A lovely start to a series that looks to continue as it began. With Miss Austen, we deem Jeffries’s Project Duchess offers “real comfort,” Emma.

Sabrina Jeffries’s Project Duchess is published by Zebra Books. It was released on June 25 and may be found at your preferred vendor. I received an e-ARC from Zebra Books, via Netgalley.
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Project Duchess was a fantastic read and an amazing start to a new historical romance series.

Fletcher “Grey” Pryde’s sole focus is expanding his dukedom leaving him little time for anything else. But after his stepfather dies, Grey knows he must do his duty to his family and heads to the family estate where upon his arrival he meets the charming Miss Beatrice Wolfe who is assisting with the funeral arrangements. When his mother decides to prepare Beatrice for her debut, Grey offers his assistance for the chance to get close to the unconventional woman. But after Grey discovers Beatrice’s brother may have been involved in his stepfather’s death, the pair will be left to decide what is more important, their newfound love or family loyalties.

Grey had a difficult childhood which is something that still affects him as an adult. After his mother’s second marriage, Grey was sent to live with his father’s family which led to Grey having some resentment towards his mother and siblings as Grey was the only one sent away. Add in the fact that living with his father’s family was not a great experience for him and I can understand why he’s a bit standoffish with his family.

Like Grey, Beatrice did not have a happy childhood and upon finding out what she went through, I really felt for her. After her parents passed away, Beatrice, as well as her brother, went to live with her grandparents and her uncle. The descriptions of Beatrice’s uncle made me seriously hate the man for what he put Beatrice through and I admired Beatrice for the fact she was able to move past the man’s actions.

Grey and Beatrice’s relationship was interesting as from the start they were both adamant that they had no interest in romance or a relationship. For Grey, the issue was that he refused to give up control over his emotions and for Beatrice, she didn’t want to end up with someone who treated her the way her uncle did. However despite their lack of interest in a relationship, the pair had a hard time fighting the attraction that developed between them. I enjoyed watching Grey and Beatrice slowly overcome their initial hesitations and when their relationship progresses, it’s very well done.

Overall I really enjoyed Project Duchess and I can’t wait for the second book in the series, The Bachelor, to release next year.
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Sabrina Jeffries came as a pleasant surprise to me. This was the first book of hers that I came across all on my own (usually the HR authors are recommended to me), and am I glad I did finally pick it up to read this,  inspite of knowing next to nothing about this author?

It’s the first of a series that I am assuming is about all the step siblings mentioned/introduced in this one, and all very very interesting on their own, making one get a glimpse/look forward to their own stories.

With a backdrop of murder and intrigue, the romance between Grey and Bea makes for an interesting read. All the secondary characters make their introduction into the story effortlessly and quite enticingly as it leaves you wondering about their stories and looking forward to the next book.

For a change, the hero did not think the worst of the heroine, and that is one bit I really liked about this book. He loved her and completely trusted her without a doubt. Grey had his own silly issues but from day one he ‘knew’ and trusted Bea. 

Needless to say, I am eagerly awaiting Book Two in this series, as this one had me completely fascinated to say the least. Sabrina Jeffries is one author I shall follow ‘blindly’ from now on.
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Project Duchess is the first book in Jefferies NEWEST series “Duke Dynasty” and I am such a fan for Sabrina Jeffries and she is pretty much an auto-read author since she was one of my very firsts adult authors to pick up. Now lately I never know if a regency will work for me or not but this book was so delicious in every way and I just didn’t want to put it down. There was something so sweet and connecting about this story that I gravitated towards and I have no REGRETS in any way because once again this author has delighted me and I am more than happy with that.

    Every time you offer to do whatever I wish, you tempt me, Beatrice. So don’t offer unless you mean it

In Project Duchess, our story sets off when our hero has come to his family’s estate when he hears that his step father has been killed and rushes home. He has had a great distance from his family and mostly that is due to his own actions and decisions and what happened to him when he was young and sent away from his family. Now having lost the only real father he ever really knew he is devastated and regrets that they weren’t able to mend fences before he was killed. When he arrives he meets a cousin of one of his step brothers, Beatrice, who is sassy and smart and doesn’t hold back with him and he finds her refreshing and wanting her like a breath of fresh air. Beatrice is in training to have her come out under the guidance of Grey’s mother. But there is a murder to solve and Beatrice’s brother is their primary suspect. Can he get to the truth without compromising the love that is forming between himself and Beatrice? or will that bride be burned unable to be rebuilt?

    What I want is to make love to you. What I want is to show you what it feels like to need someone so desperately that nothing else makes sense, that the mere thought of seeing that person makes one’s heart race.

Project Duchess was a stunning story and I was really captivated by the sweet and fun bantering that these two had whenever they were near to each other but at the same time, there is powerful chemistry that is built between them that really stuns you in all the delightful ways. I truly didn’t want to let go of what these two had together. The chemistry that slowly forms between them is powerful from their walks in the woods, to Grey teaching her to dance and the slow passion that forms into burning desire was captivating. I honestly found myself caught in these fiery moments between these two. I had forgotten how well that Sabrina Jeffries crafts these steamy moments between a couple and she did it just right for these two.

    At last he’d found a woman who could not only know him thoroughly, but could accept him for what he was–a man with flaws and fears, but a man still capable of loving.

The story itself is highly engaging and I was really curious about this murder mystery that is brought into the story and found wonderful balance with the romance itself. It is so intricately placed into the story that we find the ways that these two come together and see what is really going on with her brother Joshua. We also see a delightful connection form between Gwen (Grey’s sister) and Joshua and they are book two so I love the little teasers and their book I have a feeling is going to be explosive.

Overall I found Project Duchess to be a truly entertaining and edge of your seat fun….a true pleasure to read and become engaged in!! You can’t go wrong with this one here, so grab it up, settle in with a nice cup of tea and embrace this love story bound to curl your toes and leave you with a smile!
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I always love a Sabrina Jeffries title and Project Duchess is no exception! Fletcher Pryde, the Duke of Greycourt, meets Beatrice, the (non-blood) "cousin" that his mother has decided to use as her new project to take her mind off the death of her most recent and beloved husband. By presenting Bea to society, it gives the Duchess something to take her mind off her troubles, as well as providing a whip-smart temptation to Grey, who is tasked with helping to present her. As you can probably guess, he ends up falling for the woman he's helping. 

I enjoyed the story between Bea and Grey, but I also appreciated the setup for an interesting series: Grey's mother has been widowed multiple times, and somehow produced three different Dukes as a result -- Grey and his brothers. We also get to see the beginnings of Grey's sister's story, clearly focusing her attention on the wrongfully accused murderer who is Bea's brother. 

All in all, certainly a title worth picking up! Jeffries is on my list of automatic reads, and she hasn't steered me wrong with Project Duchess!!
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I've enjoyed several of Sabrina Jeffries books in the past, and Project Duchess was a delightful introduction to her new series, the Duke Dynasty. This was a fun and relatively quick read (I couldn't put it down!) stuffed full of interesting characters. Jeffries also does a great job of setting up a mystery that will hopefully be carried into future entries into the series, as I found myself as interested in that subplot as I was in the main storyline.
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Project Duchess
Duke Dynasty Series - Book 1

By Sabrina Jeffries
Zebra Books - July 2019
Historical Romance


Fletcher Pryde, Duke of Greycourt, had distanced himself from his family. As a child, his step-father's career had meant they had lived abroad, but he had been sent back to live in England. However, when the rest of the family had returned to England, Grey had continued to maintain the emotional distance from them. When word arrived that his step-father was dead, and his mother wanted him to come for the funeral, there was no question that he would be there for her, and his siblings. 
When Grey arrived at Armitage Hall, he wasn't greeted by the expected servants. Instead, there was a young lady who had no compunction of speaking her mind and telling him exactly what she thought. Grey was intrigued by the cousin of his younger half-brother, the new Duke of Armitage, Sheridan, but Beatrice Wolfe would not be his focus while he was there, and he didn't intend to stay long. 
Or so he had planned. Sheridan was certain that his father had been murdered, and possibly the previous Duke as well. His only suspect was Beatrice's brother. Also, his mother wanted to give Beatrice, and his sister, a Season, and he was the one with the most experience in society. He would teach her to dance, talk with her, learn about her brother. 
And most unexpectedly, find himself falling in love with her. 
Project Duchess was an exceptional introduction to Sabrina Jeffries' new Duke Dynasty series. First, there is the ironic situation of Grey's mother having been widowed by, and giving heirs to, three Dukes. I loved the vast cast of siblings, and the complex relationships they all have. Certain to come to the aid of each other, however, they still each have issues with one another that will be fascinating to see resolved in the upcoming stories. I adored Beatrice and her defense of her brother, and enjoyed watching the romance between her and Grey. I am really excited for this new series and seeing what Sabrina Jeffries does next. 

Kathy Andrico - KathysReviewCorner.com
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I wish I enjoyed this book more than I actually did - unfortunately I found it to be suffering a little under the weight of trying to plan out a whole series and establish a series' worth of characters rather than focusing on the romance. The dialogue and distrust between the two main characters in the beginning felt a bit tedious. 

In summary: Duke Greycourt has two step-brothers who are also Dukes. He comes home when his third step-father dies, thus making his step-brother Duke. He's there to support his mother and angst about his terrible childhood. He gets roped into staying longer by his mother who guilts him into it for her sake and for the sake of our heroine, the not-blood "cousin" Beatrice who has never come out into society officially and now needs to be "trained." 

There's an unnecessary "was my step-father murdered?" mystery, and lots of Hero brooding that didn't really land for me. I can't put my finger on why, but overall the book didn't really stand out for me.
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Like It? Hate it? Love it? Why? Project Duchess kicks off a brand new series by one of my (few) favorite authors, Sabrina Jeffries with quite the mixed/blended family. And at first had me a little confused when it came to the romance. There isn’t any blood ties between Beatrice and Grey but they are family through Grey’s half siblings.

Let’s see if I can sort this out quickly. Grey has four half siblings, and one cousin who all share blood connections with him. His half siblings from his mother’s third marriage have cousins who do NOT have a blood connection to Grey. That’s where the heroine, Beatrice comes from. She’s cousins with Grey’s half brothers, Sheridan and Heywood. 

I enjoyed Grey and Beatrice’s road to romance. They were both so stubborn but at the same time these two were made for love, family, and friendship, which made Grey’s estrangement from his family so heartbreaking once he revealed his reason for being aloof with them.

But as much as I enjoyed Grey and Beatrice’s romance, Project Duchess was as much a story about reconnecting with family as it was about falling in love and Sabrina Jeffries balanced both in a way that was charming and heartwarming. I fell in love with Grey’s blended family and I can’t wait for more from them. I have high hopes for Beatrice’s brother Joshua’s story. I do love a wounded, grouchy character.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Sabrina Jeffries excels at creating strong family bonds while also crafting a believable romance.
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Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt sealed his heart against feelings years ago when his family sent him away. Things are about to change when he’s summoned to Armitage Hall when his stepfather dies. 
Beatrice “Bea” Wolfe has lived at Armitage Hall then at its Dower House since her father passed when she was 10. Her uncle Armie the late duke took her and her brother in. He was a nasty and vile man who tried very hard to damage Beatrice’s self esteem. 
From the moment Bea and Grey meet sparks fly. Bea has the habit of telling the pompous Grey exactly what she thinks of his actions and words. Grey finds Bea very appealing and needs to get to know her. They both fight their attraction. Grey will not allow his heart to be broken again and Bea’s not meant for London she like tramping through the woods with her dogs. But one thing leads to another and feelings start budding they find themselves questioning everything they believe to be true. With the possible murder of Grey’s stepfather and Bea’s uncle things start to spiral down and if they can’t trust and be honest with each other they don’t have a chance. 
I love Sabrina Jeffries books. She has a way to spin a tail and you are drawn in to it and you cheer, cry and laugh for all the characters in the story. I like how her secondary characters play such a big roll also. 
This is the first book in the Duke Dynasty series and I can not wait for the next book.
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Wow! there are more than enough dukes to go around in this one. One woman has married and outlasted 3 dukes and has 3 children who are now dukes. Grey as the oldest is wealthy, entitled, disillusioned and a rake. The perfect role model of a regency romantic hero.  While he has distanced himself from his family for a variety of reasons he shows up in time for his latest step brother's funeral and meets that perfect regency heroine who's heard all about him and hates him sight unseen. 
Compelled to stay at his step brother's request to investigate the death of his step father which appears suspicious he can't help but cultivate a relationship with his mother's latest project Beatrice. Not only is Bea's brother chief suspect but Grey has a surprising attraction towards her. 
I found the story slow with a lot of different characters vying for attention. I understand that this is a the first book in a trilogy and the author is trying to convey her story arc to the readers. I have really enjoyed Ms. Jefferies writing style and story telling in the past but this one did not do it for me.
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This is a great start of the series. The characters have lots of story going on both good and bad. I love the Beatrice and Grey on how they get to know each other and finally falling for each other. 
This book has everything you want in a romance, both Beatrice and Grey are likeable, a mystery, steamy love scenes......I can't wait for the next book
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Sabrina Jeffries latest new series The Duke Dynasty series begins with Project Duchess released on June 25th. I was lucky to receive an eARC from NetGalley just prior to its release and really enjoyed the book.

The Duke Dynasty series will focus on a family of grown children of an often widowed mother. She married well three times, and provided heirs to each Duke she married. Project Duchess follows the story of Fletcher “Grey” Pryde the fifth Duke of Greycourt and Beatrice Wolfe, a cousin through marriage that he meets at the funeral of his stepfather.

Grey had a dark childhood and trusts no one with much of anything really, let alone his heart, but he is also immediately drawn to Beatrice because she is different from the ladies that were brought up politely in the Ton. Beatrice raises and trains dogs, walks through the woods in sturdy boots, and most importantly, doesn’t let Grey win his way in an argument easily.

Though in mourning Grey helps Beatrice and his sister prepare for their coming out parties and along the way falls for Beatrice. Though their feelings are mutual, neither fully trusts each other for most of the novel, refusing to share their past traumas with each other.

I found this a delightful read with the right amount of danger and romance. I can’t wait for the next installment of the series to come out!

Happy reading 🙂
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I’m pretty excited about this one because it’s the first one I requested to read and got approved for. The other’s I’ve requested I got rejected for, so this feels like a milestone for me. And the story was a pretty good milestone one as well. It would’ve sucked if my first approved book wasn’t great.
Luckily it was good! 
A scoundrel who isn’t a scoundrel. An innocent who isn’t so innocent. A murder that’s possibly not a murder. There were a few different layers to this book that I found really engaging. Although there were a couple of moments where I wasn’t sure which story was meant to be more prominent. The romance or the murder?
The story is written in third person from either Grey’s or Beatrice’s point of view. However, there were a few points where we seemed to shift mid chapter. Mostly it only switched characters at the end of a chapter. Or if it did change mid-way through there was an obvious break in the chapter to show the change. Which made it a bit weird when it swapped part way through. 
I quite liked this, but for those wanting a pure romance, you should be prepared for the murder investigation aspect. Unfortunately, I was left hanging at the end. I didn’t get the closure I wanted as to who murdered who and why. 
On the romance front, however. The ending was very satisfying. So much so that I’ll be keeping an eye out for the sequel which is due for release in February 2020.
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How I loved this story!  Beatrice is strong and smart. She's a wonderful protagonist who will steal yours and Greycourt's heart.  She's fiercely loyal and easy to connect with.  Greycourt is totally swoon-worthy. Even though he's determined to have a proper Duchess he can't seem to stay away from Beatrice. With many twists and turns this story will have you enthralled from beginning to end.
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Ms. Jeffries never disappoints! I loved this one and can't wait to read more in the series. 

Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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