Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Review: This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James

Wedding bells celebrating the arranged marriage between the lovely Duchess of Beaumont and her staid, imperturbable duke had scarcely fallen silent when a shocking discovery sent Jemma running from the ducal mansion. For the next nine years she cavorted abroad, creating one delicious scandal after another (if one is to believe the rumours).
Elijah, Duke of Beaumont, did believe those rumours.
But the handsome duke needs an heir, so he summons his seductive wife home. Jemma laughs at Elijah’s cool eyes and icy heart—but to her secret shock, she doesn’t share his feelings. In fact, she wants the impossible: her husband’s heart at her feet.
But what manner of seduction will make a man fall desperately in love…with his own wife?

When I am ill, I always return to chick lit. It soothes me, it’s predictable, and it reassures me that there is still romance in the world, when I’m feeling at my worst. When I’m really ill I turn to regency romance, and there are three authors who do regency the best. Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Suzanne Enoch. They are the trio of awesome when it comes to regency bodice ripping and beautiful seductions that always end in ‘I love you’s.’

One of my favourite series is the ‘Desperate Duchesses’ series by Eloisa James. They’re historically accurate, witty, heart breaking and ladies, I assure you some scenes will leave you breathless and desperate for a cold shower.
I reviewed the fourth book in the series ‘When the Duke Returns’ way back in December, and have been itching to get back to the series with the fifth book ‘This Duchess of Mine.’ And it was so worth the wait.  One of the biggest things I love about this series is the interlinking characters and storylines, for example a scene covered from two characters points of view at the end of the last book, is gone over from a different angle at the start of this book. We get to see different characters grow and develop, and my favourite pairing has always been Jemma and Elijah – the main pair explored in this book.

There are always side storylines, and Jemma and Elijah have taken a slight backseat in the previous books, but they finally have their chance to shine. And I have been desperate to see more of their story. A lot of the gaps in their past are finally filled in, we learn a lot more about what drove them apart and the events leading up to it – and we finally get to see them have their happy ending. And I’m a sucker for happy endings. Also, we finally get to see the much talked about blindfolded chess game in bed, and it was so worth the wait. I gave up caring about the chess long before Jemma did – the bits happening in between the moves was far too distracting!

Most of the romance books I read are about singles finding love, and there have only been two series that I’ve read that cover love in marriage so brilliantly – ‘The Dark Road to Darjeeling’ by Deanna Raybourn, and The ‘Desperate Duchesses’ series. To watch characters who are already in love, already bound by marriage try to work through problems and overcome obstacles and still come back to that love and intimacy, is sometimes more amazing to read than first love. It shows that love can last.

The writing is as brilliant as ever – James has a way of immersing you completely in the world, and to bring it to life. The characters are completely believable and loveable, even when they’re being infuriating. And they are completely real – they never do anything out of character or inexplicable – and even though you know that it has to have a happy ending, James still leads you on a heart breaking tale full of twists and turns and bleak outcomes that might just happen.

I literally did not stop smiling throughout the book (apart from the bits where I was crying…) It made me laugh, it made me breathless, and it made me cry from how utterly heart breaking it could be. And I loved it. This and the very first book in the series are tied for my favourites of the series. I can’t recommend this series enough. If you haven’t ever read any regency romance before, start with this series – they are a brilliant way to ease into the genre. And if you’re already right here with me on the guilty pleasures, then get yourself a copy and get into the series. The next book in the series is ‘A Duke of Her Own’ where we finally get to see who tames Villiers and his unruly brood…

1 comment:

  1. I love Eloisa James and your review just sums up what makes her so good! Thank you,it has made me want to go back and re-read this series!