Duchess by Design: The Gilded Age Girls Club

Duchess by Design: The Gilded Age Girls Club

by Maya Rodale

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In the first novel of Maya Rodale’s enthralling new series, an English duke vows to make an American seamstress his duchess...

In Gilded Age Manhattan, anything can happen...

Seeking a wealthy American bride who can save his family’s estate, Brandon Fiennes, the duke of Kingston, is a rogue determined to do the right thing. But his search for an heiress goes deliciously awry when an enchanting seamstress tumbles into his arms instead.

...and true love is always in fashion

Miss Adeline Black aspires to be a fashionable dressmaker—not a duchess—and not even an impossibly seductive duke will distract her. But Kingston makes an offer she can’t refuse: join him at society events to display her gowns and advise him on which heiresses are duchess material. It’s the perfect plan—as long as they resist temptation, avoid a scandal, and above all do not lose their hearts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Rodale (It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke) charms with this captivating historical, the story of an impoverished English duke who sets out to marry an American “dollar princess” and a genteel dressmaker who prizes her independence above all. The Duke of Kingston would prefer to marry for love, but he’s got dowries to fund and a mother whose fashion spending rivals a small country’s GDP. He hopes for both love and money when he meets Adeline Black, whom he erroneously believes to be heiress Harriet Burnett, in the lobby of New York’s most fashionable hotel. Once his misapprehension is corrected, Kingston cuts a swath through Manhattan’s most eligible—but he can’t forget Adeline. After a group of subversive suffragettes sets up Adeline with her own shop, she believes she has it all—but Kingston reminds her that she doesn’t have love. Sparkling characters, able plotting, and joie de vivre make the first in Rodale’s Gilded Age Girls Club an utterly enjoyable standout. (Oct.)

Booklist (starred review)

With an almost Wodehousian flair for words, perfectly placed wit, endlessly amusing characters, and a vividly evoked 1890s New York City setting, Rodale launches her new Gilded Age Girls Club series on a spectacularly high note.


Adeline Black is a character any reader would be proud to know.

Kirkus Reviews


The Duke of Kingston has crossed the pond to wed a wealthy heiress, a quest complicated when he meets a talented, ambitious seamstress he mistakes for a potential wife.

On the way to a fitting with an heiress at a Fifth Avenue hotel, seamstress Adeline Black literally runs into the Duke of Kingston in the lobby. The duke has come to America to find a rich wife and immediately been deemed the most eligible bachelor in New York. Adeline reads the papers and realizes that the handsome Englishman is the celebrated duke, and while they shared an instant attraction and a brief flirtation, he is completely out of her league. Kingston, meanwhile, misinterprets the fact that she's in the hotel to mean she's from the upper class. When he pursues her, he inadvertently gets her fired, which is at first devastating but ultimately leads her back to the heiress client who, along with a group of forward-thinking society women, backs her in establishing her own dressmaker's shop, rewarding Adeline's talent, vision, and courage to express her dreams. Her designs quickly become the talk of the town, as does the duke's interest, though they both know he must marry wealth. The relationship remains platonic but still tarnishes her reputation, since society considers her a threat and her former employer is resentful of her success. Just as Kingston resolves to marry the woman he loves, thanks in huge part to Adeline's penchant for challenging his worldview, Adeline's integrity and devotion to the women who now work for her may jeopardize their chance for happiness. In the end, Adeline's originally weary reproach of "Change the world, Duke" becomes both an aspiration and a rallying cry for the remarkable couple.

Rodale's Gilded Age-set series launch is a smart, bright love story that perfectly balances messages of female empowerment and social potential with romantic tensions created by class and gender dichotomies ripe for revolution.

Entertainment Weekly

Duchess by Design is a heartbreaking, soul-renewing, subversive tale of the limitations of gender and societal expectation and a reassertion of the world-changing power of love.

Romance Reviews Today

DUCHESS BY DESIGN is a refreshingly different premise with a modern young woman and a duke who struggles with what is right, and what his heart wants. This tale is fun, realistic, and well written.

All About Romance.com

Duchess by Design stands out as unique and refreshing.  It’s more than worth your time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062838803
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/23/2018
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 498,582
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.10(d)

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