Night Jasmine Book Club: The Dowager

Cue the sound of a cane ominously tap-tap-tapping away. Yes, it’s none other than her Grace, the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale, come to wreak her usual joyous havoc. Let’s indulge in a little lese majeste that would undoubtedly have the Dowager fuming at our presumption: i.e. let’s talk about her.

What did you think of the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale?

Do you think her actions in the book were justified?

How does she really feel about Charlotte?

Are the dowager’s problems with Charlotte (and vice versa) due more to character clash, generation gap, or family history?


  1. Stephanie Stoddard on February 24, 2009 at 2:10 am

    I think shes hilarious, an eccentric old woman. With plenty of life left in her.

    I do not know, it was pretty sneaky to pay someone to flirt with Charlotte to make another guy jealous. However, it did work out. Maybe she wanted to have Richard stick around or, she saw they were well matched. Probably tired of having to go through all the trouble to get Charlotte married off.

    I think she thinks Charlotte is a book worm and not as outgoing or as feisty as she is. In her way she likes Charlotte but she wished she was more more like her and had the same kinda spunk Penelope has. I think then they would get along better, most of her criticism of Charlotte seems to stem from their differences (and vice versa). If Charlotte was more social and outgoing, i think they would have had a better relationship.

    Because of the family history and Charlotte’s father dieing, the grandmother may resent having to take care of her, but it seems to me that she enjoys having girls around and the drama of the Ton. Its a source of amusement to make their suitors jump out of windows with fright. LOL did i mention i think shes hilarious..

  2. Catherine on February 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I enjoyed the Dowager Duchess – she always brought a quirky smile to my face every time she made her entrance. (Although not as much as Miss Qwen does…) In a way, I kind of pictured the Dowager as Mary in her much later years.

    As to her actions, I think she seems to be one of those people who are under the delusion that they know what is best for everyone around them. Arrogant, yes, but coming from an essentially good place.

    Charlotte, being a sensitive soul with imagination, seemed understand her grandmother somewhat. The Dowager appeared to be frustrated with Charlotte due to not being able to understand her in return. Their clash I would chalk up to ALL the problems mentioned but would pin the brunt of it on the character difference.

  3. Kristen on February 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I agree, I thought that The Triple D was wonderfuly feisty and absoultly hilarious.

    I don’t think that you could justify some of her actions, paying a man to be interested in your granddaughter is just too much. However, I honestly think that she thought nothing of it and maybe back than that would have been aceptable, but I doubt it. As for her other actions, I love making the poor footman carry her around.

    My opinion is that she loves Charlotte. I also believe that she thinks she knows what is best for every single member of her family (Robert included), and she will do it and they better go along with it. The fact that she sees Charlotte as a represtitive of her mother, and thus the Triple D’s one faliure in life, hinders their realtionship. Unless Charlotte had what she would call “the Dovedale spirit” I doubt that she could ever see Charlotte differently. Charlotte is who she is and what she is and I’m glad that the two of them accept eachother and they both aren’t trying to change the other completely.

  4. AngelB on February 24, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    The Dowager is one of the few characters I’m not sure about. She comes across great with her stories of her past, and scaring the young, etc. But the change at the end (without really so much of an appearance in the book since Robert’s arrival) with her laying into Charlotte made me sit there and go hmmmmm.

    So I’m not sure if she’s just a rambuctious (sp?) old lady, a real meddling PITA, or is she just losing it to pay someone 5K pounds, let alone Freddy, to flirt with her. I really don’t know.

  5. Diana on February 24, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Although I loved much of the Dowager Duchess’ antics in this book and the others, I was appalled in her final scene with Charlotte. I felt she put her own needs before her own granddaughter’s feelings and needs. She was trying to control both the Duke and Charlotte where she failed with her own son. Charlotte has a lot of patience for her grandmother. I think the Dowager can’t get past that Charlotte is more like her mother’s people in looks and, I am assuming, temperament. I am hoping that the Dowager will look a little more kindly upon Charlotte now that she and Robert are together, though I would expect her to be as fiesty as ever.

  6. kiley on February 24, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I love the Dowanger. She reminds me of Lady Cathrine de Bourgh if she had a sense of humor.

    I think that she shouldn’t have bribed a man into being interested in Charlotte.

    I also think that she loves Charlotte, but her personality doesn’t allow her to show it like anyother grandmother would. Like Charlotte said in the beginning of the book “Grandmama generally just ignores people she doesnt like…” The Dowanger does anything but ignore Charlotte. She was always making comments about how Charlotte was not a Lansdowne how her looks favor her mother’s people etc. Besides that the Dowanger seems to be stuck in the past and cannot get over the decision that Charlottes father made and cannot forgive him for that and unfortunately Charlotte has had to hear day in and out.

  7. Lisa Danielson on February 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I think the Duchess is an interesting character. It would be interesting to read her story as a young woman becuase as an old woman she is such a dragon. As the grandmother of a shy vulnerable little girl, her intimidating behavior is aweful. She has completely isolated herself from her family and doesn’t even care. Who knows what Charlottes life would have been like in a warm loving home rather than growing up by herself in the library. I hate the fact that she kept the Duke and rightful heir away from his home and I hate that she had to pay Charlotte’s friends! All of this makes for cool fiction, though. I can just imagine her with her big hats and fancy cane…and her little dog too. I do love how all the men are intimidated by her. They absolutely run the other way when she comes around. Plus she seems to be the ultimate busybody. She is just simply “in the know” and is capable of ruining young debutants.

  8. Stephanie Stoddard on February 26, 2009 at 1:33 am

    I need to edit my answer. I wrote Richard instead of Robert. My term paper is about Richard Weaver. LOL such a funny slip, i probably should have been writing the paper instead of procrastinating.

  9. Gina on March 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Well, I have to admit , the whole suitors-jumping-out-windows bit was pretty funny. Overall, I quite like her….except for her treatment of Charlotte. That really makes me sad, because Charlotte is so resigned to it. It was a little be tragic to see the Dowager treat the granddaughter that I’m fairly certain she loves that way. 🙁

  10. Cynthia on March 3, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I really enjoyed the Duchess. As a parent with 20-something year old kids, I don’t even blame her for spending money to try to get her granddaughter married off. When you are older, you see things differently because you have really lived in a different world than what the young now inhabit.this may make a person do things that seem unjust to their children, but are meant to protect them. Especially given the socio-economic treatment of women in those times, I think I would have been willing to do just about anything to make sure that my granddaughter was married and therefore at least somewhat financially protected. If the true heir is handsome distant cousin, so much the better.

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