The `Desperate Duchesses' series continues with the Duke and Duchess of Fletcher. They married young and were helplessly in love, but after four years things are less than perfect.
In Fletch James portrays a truly sympathetic hero, frustrated by his wife's lack of interest in him, despite the love and loyalty to her he maintains. The lengths he goes to while trying to gain her attention are really quite sweet. In contrast Poppy is naïve and feeble, which might have made her quite unlikeable if not for her mother: Lady Flora.
James outdoes herself with Lady Flora - a purely selfish woman who has belittled, manipulated and dominated her daughter her entire life. Whenever she appears it's all too easy to feel sorry for Poppy (not to mention Fletch and his poor staff) and understand how she became the woman she is.
But thanks to time on her own - and a little help from Jemma, Duchess of Beaumont - Poppy is given a chance to grow up and learn to appreciate things for herself. Including her husband.
But, as always with Eloisa James, this book is not just about Poppy and Fletch. Several characters from Desperate Duchesses return, not least the Beaumonts and Villiers. In fact the story thread with Villiers adds some of the funniest and sweetest moment in the book. His valet, Finchley, is a gem.
A sumptuously crafted tale about seizing control of your life, growing up and appreciating the things you've got, James adds plenty of wit and intelligence to the mis. With a touch of love, several sensual moments and the glorious Georgian decadence this is a tale to savour.
(Oh, and for those who want to know the conclusion to Charlotte Tatlock's tale, check out Eloisa James' website for the bonus chapters. I doubt you'll be disappointed.)