Monday, October 01, 2012

Review - Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James

Lady Roberta is determied to escape her unconventional life with her father and his mistress by marrying the Duke of Villiers. To that end she journeys to London to visit her distant cousin, in the hope she will bring her into Society. Jemma, a lady of scandal only recently returned from France, agrees. But it is her brother Damon who takes the most interest in Roberta, with predictable results.

A Shakespearian scholar in her other life, Eloisa James is an accomplished and witty novelist with a keen sense of character, pacing and romance. Roberta is no simpering miss while dashing Damon is delightfully direct in pursuit of his love, even as she insist she loves another. The secondary characters are equally unique, yet don't seem out of time for the period, which is depicted in all its decadence. A subplot about chess is well integrated into the main story.

Though Roberta's devotion to the cold, pompous Villiers grated, there was little else to detract from pure enjoyment in this sparkling tale of love set in Georgian London. Highly recommended.

© Teresa Eckford, 2007

This review first appeared in the November 2007 issue of The Historical Novels Review

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