Sorry for the muddled state of some of the older posts. Mist is slaving away to reformat them ASAP ; ).

12/2/08

When The Duke Returns by Eloisa James

Every once in a while one of my favorite authors writes a perfect book. Although this one is not it, it's pretty close. I've been following Eloisa James novels religiously and she's pretty hit or miss with me (disclaimer: more hits than misses) and this is the first one I found, well, kinda meh. It wasn't bland per se but I couldn't help but feel indifference towards the hero and heroine. It's not that they lacked chemistry, they actually had it in spades, which I really liked, but it wasn't the kind of chemistry that makes for an explosive romance. To be fair, it is possible that it would have been stand out if it were a stand-alone novel, however, it succeeds one of my top three Eloisa James novel, Duchess By Night, which raised the bar unreasonably high. All that said, lots of people really love this book and even prefer it over the book before it so don't just take my word for it. The Blurb:

The Duchess of Cosway yearns for a man she has never met . . . her husband.

Married by proxy as a child, Lady Isidore has spent years fending off lecherous men in every European court while waiting to meet her husband. She’s determined to to accept him, no matter how unattractive the duke turns out to be. When she finally lures Simeon Jermyn back to London, his dark handsomeness puts Isidore’s worst fears to rest - until disaster strikes.

The duke demands and annulment.

Forsaking his adventuresome past, Simeon has returned to London ready to embrace the life of a proper duke, only to find that his supposed wife is too ravishing, too headstrong, and too sensual to be the docile duchess he has in mind. But Isidore will not giv eup her claim to the title - or him - without a fight.

She will do whatever it takes to capture Simeon’s heart, even if it means sacrificing her virtue. After all, a consummated marriage cannot be annulled.

Yet in forcing Simeon into a delicious surrender, will Isidore risk not only her dignity - but her heart?

My Thoughts : Spoilers Ahoy! What I Liked: The Heroine: I liked that Isidore, a virgin in historical romance, thrived on male attention but waited for her husband to come back. She was no wilting flower either. I like that. A Heroine with a backbone but, then again, I usually can rely on James for that. She's flirtations but is oddly conservative. A strange mix but it works. She also talked herself into accepting her unseen husband for what he was, whatever that may be [which could possibly include the lack of limbs] and that is.just.awesome. The Hero: I also enjoyed the fact that Simeon was a virgin [and wasn't shy about it!]. Not the first time I encountered a virgin hero but refreshing nonetheless. I enjoy a dissolute rake or two as much as the next romance reader but sometimes a girl needs a break. The friendship between the two was great also. They made a great team and it was a source of frustration for me when Simeon just couldn't see it. The Backdrop: The strong storytelling about how the duke's estate has fallen into complete and utter chaos during his absence which makes for great imagery. The way that Isidore comes in and takes charge of restoring the estate is highly enjoyable. This is my favorite part of the book. The Sub-Plot: The Jemma, Elijah, and Villiers side-story grows even more interesting. So Poignant! Oh, the things I would do for an ARC! How Eloisa James teases me so!! What I Didn't Like: Simeon came off kinda immature. He took his control issues a sliver too far for me. The character development was awesome but the romance part [which IS the point of a romance novel] seemed a smidgen rushed to me. It just lacked a certain je nais sais quois. The strong storytelling story about how the duke's estate has fallen into complete and utter chaos during his absence which makes for great imagery unfortunately that includes more attention paid to water closets than I cared for. In Conclusion: What I really like about James's characters are the characterization. They certainly aren't cookie cutter. In this case; the Dowager Duchess is a bitch. And not just any bitch, she's holy shit! A BITCH! but that's not what defines her. There are so many layers as to what makes her what she is and not just because she's evil. Strong but vulnerable. A rather sympathetic mix. The author also promises the next book to be Jemma's story [This Duchess Of Mine] which means I'll definitely be reading on with the rest of the series. I'm curious and a little scared to see what it turns out to be, based on events in this book. Plus the awesome set-up from book one in the series just sets the bar unreasonably high that I'm afraid it's not gonna live up to it. I can hardly wait for Villiers' book too [A Duke Of My Own], he's come a mighty long way from Desperate Duchesses, I've gone from loathing to loving him. All in all: A Solid B

3 comments:

Katiebabs a.k.a KB Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:52:00 PM  

We need more virgin heroes in romance, says I!

Mistress Tuesday, December 02, 2008 11:14:00 PM  

Here Here Katie,lol.

aww Reader "if I could read Historical Romance at all, I'd read it for you"

= ) all twilight humor aside;I was expecting to be turned off by the preteen marriage proxy but this sounds really interesting.

Wanderer Thursday, December 11, 2008 1:52:00 AM  

Hmmmm......don't think I've read a book with a virgin hero before. What other books are out there? I just may check one out :)

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