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Book Review
Ratings
Overall: 6
Sensuality: 6
Historical Element: 5

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Review for Duchess In Love
Author: Eloisa James
Date of Review: 01/05/03
Reviewed by: Anonymous

Reviewer Comments: 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.



Ratings
Overall: 8
Sensuality: 7
Historical Element: 7

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This is a romance community member review

Review for Duchess In Love
Author: Eloisa James
Date of Review: 02/14/03
Reviewed by: Desmond CHan

Reviewer Comments: Eloisa James may be guilty of fashioning her Regency-era romance with a shade of Sex-and-the-City modern sensibilities but the refreshing gumption found in the scandalous group of ladies translates to a guilty pleasure. Duchess in Love features the delightful duchess of Girton, Gina receiving her sculptor of a husband, Cam Serrad who escaped his matrimony 12 years ago to the then 11-year old Gina. Through these years they communicated on letters and Cam returns to London again by the summons of his father's solicitor Mr. Rounton to settle his estates and to grant Gina an annulment so that she can marry the starched-up, prim-and-proper Marquess of Bonnington.

What Cam did not expect was the revival of love and lust for the now grown-up Gina. The comedy of mismatched lovers and scandals spirals into several surprising twists to flesh out the nuances of her side characters. Lady Perwinkle finds unrequited love with the return of her husband while Esme is trapped in a loveless marriage and yearns for a child. Eloisa James gives a hilarious and tender portrayal of desires and passion clashing with obligations and sensibilities where the central clueless couple Gina and Cam unravels secrets of Gina's half-brother and illicit mother through a sculpture of Aphrodite. It is a laugh-out riot with her clever usage of Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing to spice up the interplay of witty quips and insults. With empathy and grace, Eloisa James proves there can be a new world after all in the over-recycled and stereotypical genre.



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