the duke of earl

A Cast of Courtly Characters

- Also known as a duke, a duchess, a duchess, another duke not married to either duchess, an earl, a marquess, his daughter, his mistress, his ex-mistress, and the Prince of Wales - 

Present to you a romantic farce. Of Shakespearean proportions.

Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James (@eloisajames)

@avonromance: 2007
Historical Romance
Series :: Desperate Duchesses, bk 1

I have come to expect the best from Eloisa James, and to date she has yet to let me down.

Like Balogh, whose Someone to Love I recently reviewed and whose Someone to Hold I just had the pleasure of reading, James is a frequent and beloved contributor to the historical romance genre, and she is also a standard setter. 

This was my first time reading the “Desperate Duchesses” series, though I had previously read one of the next generation novels, Three Weeks with Lady X

In fact Three Weeks with Lady X is one of the novels that got me back into reading romances novels a few years ago. There was a period of time where I I hadn’t been reading them and I picked up 3WWLX on a whim and tumbled right back down the rabbit hole. And having enjoyed it so much I was eager to finally read the original Duchesses novels, particular after hearing how beloved they were in our little romance community here one tumblr. 

And they were so wonderful - even more than I could have expected. Well deserving of all the praise.

With the Duchesses novels James does something familiar and yet new. 

She gives us, for instance, an AMAZING group of women and their loyal and witty friendship. And you know from recent discussions about Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflowers how much I adore strong female friendships in romance novels.

James also gives us a uniquely laid out, layered plot the likes of which I haven’t often seen even in a series romance. As individual romance novels, though they may feature secondary plots which become additional novels, tend to focus very heavily on the novel’s main couple. Which is to say that, thought Desperate Duchesses is story of Damon and Roberta falling in love (more on them in a moment), James never looses sight of the fact that this is also the first novel in an intricate, interlocking series. Which means that she has to balance:

  • the individual romance of Damon and Roberta
  • the introduction of several vital characters (namely the Duke of Villiers)
  • the secondary and EXCRUCIATINGLY slow build up of the relationship between Jemma and her husband Elijah
  • a number of other facets that will ultimately be important not so much for the successful completion of this book but for the whole of the series. 

It’s like looking at a painstakingly composed piece of music and trying to figure out just HOW the composer managed to keep track of so many different musical themes. 

HOW ELOISA? HOW? *cough*

So, Desperate Duchesses is, as suggested, predominantly the story of the romance between Damon “I push people against walls/trees/etc and it’s really hot” Reeve, the Earl of Gryffyn, and Lady Roberta “Recite one line of poetry and I’ll castrate you with my fan” St. Giles - okay she might not actually because she’s so determined to live a proper and controlled life after years of being embarrassed by her eccentric poet father, the “Mad” Marquess. 

But she’d think about it. She’d think about it.

Technically the love story between Damon and Roberta only takes up MAYBE half of Desperate Duchesses. I haven’t counted out the actual page distribution but I’d say it’s pretty evenly distributed between Damon/Roberta and Everybody Else (again, the duke, the duchess, the duchess, the other duke, etc).

However the reader isn’t left feeling shorted. The expansive cast is full of characters you’ll wish you could have as friends, and the growing love and attraction between Damon and Roberta is lovely and compelling.

Really, compared to some of the future couples in the series, Damon and Roberta have the easiest road to the altar. Aside from a few personal hangups on Roberta’s side, which she is perfectly happy to be proven wrong about, the two don’t face many insuperable impediments.

If you’ve ever longed for a couple that could just TALK to each other like adults, you want Damon and Roberta.

…. I’m mean I’m a drama dragon. I hoard angst, so I love meaty, complicated miscommunication situations. But I have to admit, the sunny and simple ease with which Roberta and Damon slipped into love was a nice reprieve from wanting to knock character heads together.

This is me usually while reading a romance: 

But reading Desperate Duchesses was more like:

Things that I Loved: 

- TEDDY! <3 Teddy is my precious darling child and I am really looking forward to seeing him all grown up in Seven Minutes in Heaven, which is tucked neatly on my TBR shelf, waiting for me. It’s like what I went through with Tobias except that I read 3WWLX first and THEN This Duchess of Mine/A Duke of Her Own much later. This time I went in the PROPER order! 

- Damon “Look at me I’m such a bad boy” Reeve. Nobody’s buying it Damon. You might have been hot stuff once but now you’re Dad stuff. And anybody with common sense knows that Dad stuff is VASTLY preferable to hot stuff. Because when you’re Dad stuff you’re in touch with your emotions, and you love you child (and you don’t give two figs that he is illegitimate!), and you call him “pumpkin” and make me go:

- VILLIERS. Look if you’ve been following this blog I don’t have to elaborate this point. You KNOW that I am obsessed with Villiers. Obsessed. Just go to my blog and look at my #VILLIERS tag. You’ll see. (Yes the tag really is in screaming caps.)

- THAT ENDING THOUGH. You know that moment in a Shakespearean comedy where everybody’s running around the “greenwood” space of choice swapping disguises and genders and partners and there’s fairies or players or both and it’s just CHAOTIC GOOD FUN!?! Well that’s pretty much what happens towards the end of Desperate Duchesses (except without the fairies or players). I laughed SO hard at the image of the portly Prince of Wales - darling, impossible, irrepressible Prinny - standing at the prow of this river boat poling to the rescue (supposedly). I thought I was going to break a rib.

Things I could live without: 

I can’t pick one. I really can’t. The minute I got a few chapters into this book I knew I was going to binge read this whole series. And I did. And I regret absolutely nothing. 

TL;DR ::

If you haven’t read Eloisa James’ “Desperate Duchesses” series than now is the time to pick up this delightful romp of a first book. Desperate Duchess is charming, a little impossible (thus my lovingly designating it a farce), and despite its zany moments is entirely honest and authentic. As always with James the relationships between these characters, protagonists as well as future protagonists, ring true. 

These are the sort of friends to make and to keep for years to come.

Batman didn’t jolt when he awoke, and instead remained still as he tried to take stock of the situation. The last thing he remembered was realizing too late that Poison Ivy had filled the vents with sleep poppies.

He really needed to build some kind of automated sensor into his mask, so it could activate when his hands were tied. Literally or metaphorically. He kept meaning to, but it kept getting put on the back burner in favor of more pressing projects.

Sometimes he wondered if his subconscious was deliberately guiding him toward forced naps.

He wasn’t in a research lab. He was in a bed. A comforter had been pulled up over him. He was still in full costume. Someone was singing Duke of Earl, muffled by at least one door.

Slowly, he sat up. He slid out from under the covers until his boots touched the floor. He kept the lights off, and remained silent as he opened the bedroom door, entered the living room. The apartment wasn’t large enough to accommodate a hallway.

Standing between the couch and the dining room table, he had still somehow managed to go unnoticed. She was still singing Duke of Earl. She made it sound like Duke of Oil.

“Harley.” His voice rasped in his throat.

She twirled around in surprise, her eyes wide. She’d changed out of her costume. She might have been wearing a black hoodie dress, or she might have just broken into the closet of a man Batman’s size. The primary source of confusion was the fact that the neckline went about halfway to her navel, in order to show off a bra stitched to look covered in roses. She may have stolen it from Ivy. The fact that it was too small for her supported this idea. The rose print ribbons in her hair matched her choker. If she was wearing shorts, they weren’t obvious beneath the hoodie. The stripes on her thigh-high socks were mismatched.

It was unclear what this outfit was intended to convey. If anything.

“You’re up!” she said, a wide grin of delight, voice as high and nasal as ever. The headache he did not yet have didn’t appreciate it. Her lipstick was a lighter shade of red than usual. She was holding a metal spatula. “Pancakes’ll be done in a minute, Red says it’s important to eat after ya get up if ya don’t wanna be sick. There’s water for ya, too, you’re probably dehydrated.” She pointed with the spatula to a bottle of water on the counter.

“Harley,” he repeated, a tone of warning underneath the rough texture of it. He considered the best way to express the sentiment he wanted conveyed in as few words as possible. “What the fuck.”

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Today in Music History - February 17, 1962, “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler tops the Billboard R&B chart

Dedicated to all my guy followers: may this be your theme music forevermore!

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On this day in music history: February 17, 1962 - “Duke Of Earl” by Gene Chandler hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 5 weeks on the same date. Written by Bernice Williams, Eugene Dixon and Earl Edwards, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocalist born Eugene Dixon. The song originates as a vocal warm up exercise in the doo wop group The Dukays, in which Chandler and Edwards were both members. Chandler originally cuts “Duke Of Earl” while signed to Nat Records, who are not enthusiastic about the song at all. Instead they another song titled “Night Owl”, recorded at the same session. When Vee Jay Records A&R man Calvin Carter hears “Duke”, he immediately phones his boss label head Ewart Abner to sign Gene Chandler. Abner approves, and the single is released in December of 1961. The record is an instant smash and quickly hits the charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #93 on January 13, 1962, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. “Duke Of Earl” becomes the first million selling single for Chicago-based independent label Vee-Jay Records. When Chandler performs the song live, he often appearing dressed in a black waist coat and tails with topped off with a matching black cape and top hat. “Duke Of Earl” is covered numerous times over the years, and is sampled as the basis of Cypress Hill’s “Hand On The Pump” in 1991. “Duke Of Earl” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

anonymous asked:

Batfamily and favorite cold drinks and hot drinks? Thanks!

Bruce: black coffee, lemon water

Dick: hot cider, lemonade

Jason: spiced hot chocolate, soda (he says pop)

Tim: coffee with lots of sugar, iced coffee

Steph: chai tea, fruit punch

Cass: herbal teas, apple juice

Damian: earl grey tea, Shirley temples

Babs: green tea, strawberry milkshakes

Duke: espresso, fruit smoothies

Alfred: earl grey tea, basil lemonade

pretty sure that whole speech thing sherlock was saying while throwing everything around in his flat when mrs. hudson entered the room was from the shakespeare play “henry V”, which “focuses a lot on [a] deep male friendship” and “there is one scene in Henry V where the Earl of Suffolk and Duke of York die in each other’s arms”:

‘So did he [York] turn and over Suffolk’s neck
He threw his wounded arm and kiss’d his lips;
And so espoused to death, with blood he seal’d
A testament of noble-ending love.’

Anonymous asked:

Based on some of your previously answered questions, you seem to have a decent bit of knowledge of kingdoms/royalty and how it works. On the other hand, I know none. Idk if this is something you could answer for me, but I have a question about relations between different kingdoms. What is stopping one castle’s army from turning on the king? Are there usually any treaties made between castles to protect one another? Love your advice and expertise, thanks!


So, if we’re talking about a single medieval-ish kingdom, all of the land and all of the castles belong to the king. Land is parceled out by the crown to nobility, and these lands usually include castles. The noble will then govern the lands they are given on behalf of (and subordinate to) the king. In fact, these lands come with titles of nobility that relate to the type of territory being governed. Dukes govern duchies, marquesses govern marches (borderlands), earls govern counties, and barons govern baronies. Most of the time (but not always) these titles, lands, and castles were passed on from father to son or nearest male heir. Women did not typically inherit titles and lands, but there are some exceptions.

As long as a family stayed loyal and true to the crown, their title and lands could be passed down for centuries. In fact, the current title of Duke of Norfolk in the United Kingdom goes all the way back to 1483, when it was given to John Howard by King Richard III, and that title still belongs to the Howard family over 500 years later, along with its seat, Arundel castle. While these nobles did not have their own armies, part of their responsibility toward the crown was to raise an army (from among their tenants) should the king need an army for whatever reason. In times of political turmoil, such as the War of the Roses in England, if a noble decided to turn against the crown in support of another claimant, they could typically count on their tenants to fight for them. However, this would be considered to be a huge act of treason and punishable by execution, so it’s not something a noble would do unless they are banding together with other nobles and their armies.

Now, if we’re talking about the relationship between multiple kingdoms, there are a lot of things that come into play. The bottom line is that war is super expensive. Once an army has been raised, that army has to be fed, sheltered, outfitted, armed, and supplied–sometimes for days, weeks, or even months at a time. The funds for that come out of the royal coffers, which means money has to be diverted away from other things, like building and maintaining castles and cathedrals, lavish feasts, the purchase of jewels and other fine things, etc. That said, there has to be a really good reason to attack another kingdom, which generally means the following has to be true: 1) the odds of winning are pretty good, 2) the benefit of winning outweighs the cost of doing battle, 3) the end result will be peace.

Now, sometimes kingdoms have conflicts over things like borders and rights to particular areas or resources. In that case, a treaty or other agreement may be reached in an effort to avoid going to war. Because, ultimately, no one wants that. Not only is it costly, but it makes the people unhappy and can lead to other negative impacts on the kingdom. Another thing that may keep a dispute from boiling over into war is a marriage alliance. Inter-kingdom marriages were pretty common, because if the king’s sister is married to the king next door, there may be less conflict, betrayal, etc.

I hope that answers your question! :)

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Ask box will re-open soon. In the mean time, please check the master list or the main site for help. :)  

Today in Black Music History for January 13th

1962 - Vee-Jay Records releases Gene Chandler’s signature single “Duke of Earl”. The song would reach #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, where it would stay for three weeks

1962 - Sixteen months after it initially reached the top spot on the Billboard
Hot 100, Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” returned to the top of the charts

1975 - Epic Records releases Minnie Riperton’s single “Lovin’ You”. The song would reach number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 and would be Riperton’s biggest hit

1979 - R&B Singer Donny Hathaway, known for his socially conscious solo work and His duets with Roberta Flack, dies of an apparent suicide at the age of 33

2008 - Queen Latifah wins the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her portrayal of Andrea
Williams in the TV movie “Life Support”

2010 - Teddy Pendergrass, Grammy-nominated singer and former lead singer of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, dies due to complications of Colon Cancer at the age of 59

On this day in history, 30th December 1460Battle of Wakefield took place, near Sandal Castle. It was a major battle during the Wars of the Roses and a victorious one for the Lancastrians and saw the deaths of Richard Duke of York, his oldest son Edmund Earl of Rutland at the age of 17, the Earl of Salisbury’s son, Thomas Neville, and son-in-law Wiliam Bonville, Lord Harrington. Salisbury himself was captured later that day. One near-contemporary source (Gregory’s Chronicle) claimed that 2,500 Yorkists and 200 Lancastrians were killed. The severed heads of the Yorkists were displayed at Micklegate Bar in York, the Duke of York’s wearing a paper crown and  a sign saying “Let York overlook the town of York”.

Fun Fact: The 72 Gundam Frames in Iron Blooded Orphans have all been named after The 72 Demons of the Ars Goetia as of late. They each also have different ranks, abilities and represent different things

Barbatos- is an earl and duke of Hell ruling thirty legions of demons and has four kings as his companions to command his legions. He can speak to animals, can tell the future, conciliates friends and rulers, and can lead men to treasure hidden by the enchantment of magician.

Gusion- is a strong Great Duke of Hell, and rules over forty (forty-five according to other authors) legions of demon. He tells all past, present and future things, shows the meaning of all questions that are asked to him, reconciles friends, and gives honor and dignity.

Kimaris- He is described in as a godly warrior riding a black horse, and possesses the abilities of locating lost or hidden treasures, teaching trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric) and making a man into a warrior of his own likeness. He holds the rank of marquis, and is served by 20 legions

Astaroth- is the Great Duke of Hell, in the first hierarchy with Beelzebub and Lucifer; he is part of the evil trinity. Also seduces by means of laziness, vanity, and rationalized philosophies