A very different romance novel, at least not one I've expected to read. The marriages of the ton in general remain much the same - husbands bedding other men's wives ; wives sharing beds with other women's husbands. Haven't we read this nature of marriages in many other novels ? But in addition to this, in 'Duchess in Love', we also know how some of these wives actually feel and react, the different nature of such arrangements, how a husband and wife can be fond of each other as friends, etc.
That's perhaps, a flaw in itself because there are so many characters in the novel, each with their problems in marriages, the story becomes fragmented. Rather than keeping our interest in the hero and heroine, we are often left wondering about other characters. In fact, by the end of this book, the fates of these several characters remain a question, which probably suggests there's more to come. I'm not surprised if each of the remaining characters have a book of them in future. I'm often interested in secondary characters but in this case, it seems that the author has 'overwhelmed' us.
On the hero and heroine, Gina and Camden have always been comfortable with each other. They may not have seen each other after their (unconsummated) marriage but have kept in contact through letters. They even agree to annul, no hard feelings felt on either party. Camden returns before their annulment, sees his wife for the first time after so many years and finds himself attracted to her although Gina intends to marry another man once she gains her freedom.
Not too sure how I feel about this story. On one hand, I like the deeper exploration of the emotions and behaviours of these married couples with their meaningless marriages however, the same factor gives me a disillusionized view of what a romance novel normally offers. If you're new to Elosia James, perhaps you'd like to try her 'Pleasures' series first.