6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Last in Desperate Duchesses series,
This review is from: A Duke of Her Own (Mass Market Paperback)
Eloisa James is, in my opinion, one of the better current writers of historical romances. Although her books do contain some historical inaccuracies and some Americanisms, and this is no different, they still read as an enjoyable historical romance. She works hard at characterisation and providing three-dimensional heroes and heroines in her stories.
The Duke of Villiers has appeared in several of her previous books as a mysterious, chess-playing duke. In this story he is still mysterious but his nature is slowly unravelled as we see him interact with his children - he has six illegitimate children. Also observing is Eleanor, daughter of the Duke of Montague, a woman who said she would only marry a duke - when the duke that she loved and wanted to marry married another. Vowing to only marry a duke when there are so few leaves her pretty safe from having to marry someone else that she doesn't love.
But now there is a duke on the market, the Duke of Villiers. And he needs a woman from a good family who will have the status to bring up his bastard children. He has two possibles for the role, Eleanor and another duke's daughter, Lisette, and so he spends some time with both of them at a house party at Lisette's father's house. Villiers has a particular requirement in his bride, and Eleanor's heart is someone else's, but can they both change their minds?
What I liked about this book was the characterisation - the slow way in which we learned about Eleanor and watched her understand the nature of her feelings to the two dukes in her life. Villiers was always rather remote in the previous books and he was still a little such in this, but it was good to see some humour and warmth in him.
Overall this was a very good read. I found the houseparty situation, with adjoining bedrooms sharing a balcony between Eleanor and Villiers unlikely, especially as the property is spoken of as Knole House in Kent (with which I am familiar), and some of the conversation seemed a bit too modern for those days, but the book is worth reading for those who like this genre.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2009