UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish's Reviews > The Duke of Shadows

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 24, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: own-have-read, 5-stars, 2010-reads, artist, dead-no-more, emotional-rollercoaster, historical-romance-stand-alones, keepers, military, must-reread, top-heroes, author-meredith-duran, british-india, cultural-biases-between-couples, reviewed-by-me, favorites, mind-candy
Recommended for: People who like a little angst and darker characters to their HR.
Read from July 27 to 29, 2010 — I own a copy

I’m really indebted to my Goodreads friends who encouraged me to read The Duke of Shadows because it turned out to be a very, very good experience. Sometimes, though, the best books are the most difficult to review because they evoke such deep emotions or cause me to examine, and maybe question, my own beliefs. This is one such book.

In some ways this is a typical historical romance because we’re still dealing with British society, protocol, etc., and yet the first part of the story takes place in British occupied India where these rules really don’t apply, so that in itself is a struggle for the characters, all of them, who are waging a battle of cultures, traditions and religion. I found there to be a level of arrogance that we still see in societies today – people thinking that their way is the right way, so everyone else is wrong and insisting that ages old traditions and beliefs be altered to fit their standards. Quite arrogant indeed. So while this book is historical fiction, I also saw the non-fictional parallels and that was part of what made this such an interesting read.

Meredith Duran did a fantastic job of giving us truly tortured characters who are not just ink on a page, but living, breathing human beings. They struggle, like most of us do, with rights, wrongs and all the gray areas in between. Their emotions and convictions run deep and so I found myself cheering them on, even when I might have disagreed with their choices or became frustrated with their inaccurate perceptions. I’ve always said that we hurt to the extent that we love, and based on the pain they both endured because of one another, it was very clear to me that they loved each other a depth and intensity than neither ever thought they were capable of.

Before her parent’s deaths, Emma had been so full of joy, looking forward to her future, but witnessing their drowning when the ship they were aboard enroute from England to India sank, while she herself survived the tragic event, could be the only explanation for why she went from being a happy, emotionally healthy young woman to being the morose, dark character she became. She was so resolved with what her situation in life had become, that she no longer seemed to think that she could change the direction things were going in, nor did she seem to care enough to want to.

Julian is very close to being one of my all time favorite heroes, in fact, the more I think about it, he is. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like for him, living in a country which doesn’t consider him a native son, and living amongst a people within this country, the British, who consider him someone to be shunned – a Duke, but *gasp* not a blue blood! He was like a man without a country or family, so where were his loyalties to lie? Well – and this is one of the things I love most about him – they lay within himself. Regardless of what anyone else thought, he was true to what he believed in. He didn’t fight for one side or the other, rather he fought for what was right and it cost him dearly because it only continued to drive the wedge deeper, further alienating him from those who should care about him the most… those who he loved.

And when it came to patience, Job had nothing on Julian. As I said, he and Emma been through so much, and Emma just wasn’t able, or willing, to risk her heart again but Julian didn’t give up. He was willing to do whatever she wanted, be whoever she needed, just to have her in his life again. He seemed almost a desperate man where she was concerned. Had she not been so troubled herself, I’d have resented her for the lengths he had to go to get her attention, to earn her affection. I’d have said she wasn’t worthy to lick his boots, but alas, in the end it was clear that they were perfect for each other, for only together could they be completely healed.

I have to say, I was sitting on the edge of my seat stressing out while reading this, worried about how there could possibly be a happy ending with all Julian and Emma had been through, but in a wonderful plot with many twists and turns, they are compelled to rely on one another once again to help each other solve a deadly mystery and to lift one another from their dark pasts, back into the light where they can love and have the happily ever after that they are so deserving of.

This is yet one more in an ever growing list of books by an author new to me that was truly wonderful. Rich with detail and emotionally poignant, The Duke of Shadows has everything I need, and then some, for a book to be a 5 star read.
48 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Duke of Shadows.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

07/12/2010 "YAY!!! It's here! It's here!" 4 comments
07/26/2010 page 10
3.0% "I'm giving this one a go now. I just don't know how anything can compare with Unlawful Contact... so maybe a different genre will be the ticket."
07/26/2010 page 10
3.0% "Did anyone else think this was a little slow to start?" 4 comments
07/26/2010 page 50
13.0% "Ok, now it's picking up!" 3 comments
07/27/2010 page 100
26.0% "I'm really enjoying this now. The cultural differences make this an interesting read and I like how the relationship between Julian and Emma is progressing." 12 comments
07/27/2010 page 160
42.0% "Emma sure is asking a lot of Julian, to turn his back on his people, to pretend he isn't one of them. I don't know if I like her much." 13 comments
07/28/2010 page 204
53.0% "Ok, look. This is getting intense. Someone help me out here. I'm in Part 2 now, and it looks like this is going to be really angsty. Will the H/h hate each other throughout this half of the book??" 9 comments
07/28/2010 page 210
55.0% "Ok, back to reading. I'm just so stressed out I can only read a couple pages at a time!" 7 comments
07/28/2010 page 271
71.0% "Ok, whew. Things are settling down now." 2 comments
07/29/2010 page 371
97.0% "*sigh* What an excellent read! Thank you, Goodreads friends who insisted I try this author, and this book in particular. Review to soon follow."
06/04/2016 marked as: own-have-read
show 1 hidden update…

Comments (showing 1-38 of 38) (38 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Dina (new) - added it

Dina Great review, UM. I love Duran's writing.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) As usual, a wonderful review, Dhestiny.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you so much, Dina and Danielle.

I'm not kidding when I say I've been so lucky with the books I've been reading lately. Several first reads and all so, so good.

This was really quote thought provoking as well as educational and entertaining. I'm looking forward to reading more of her writing and hoping that the next book will be just as good.

Any recommendations?

message 4: by Dina (new) - added it

Dina UM, go right to the next one, Bound by Your Touch. It was my 1st and it was enough to hook me.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Oh, I didn't know DoS was part of a series!!!

message 6: by Dina (new) - added it

Dina No no, UM, it isn't part of a series. When I said "the next one", I meant to say "the next book Duran released". Sorry for the confusion.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Oh, ok! No problem, it doesn't matter, I'll be buying it :)

Catherine What an awesome review. It was such a beautiful, but dark, romance. This author is so skilled, she just drew me in and ripped my heart out right along with the characters. It is a story that stayed with me long after I put it down.

I loved that Julian was stuck in between two cultures. It really provided a depth of character and conflict, especially as a good chunk of the book took place in India.

I loved that the characters had to work for their happy ending. It never felt like the author took the easy way out or inserted an out of the blue event/fact/person that was there right in time to save the day.

While I loved Julian, I found Emma the more fascinating character. Possibly because Julian was more at peace internally?

I love dark, well drawn characters like this. If you run across and others keep me in mind!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Catherine! I agree with so much of what you say. The only difference was that what you saw as an inner peace for Julian, I saw as more of a "resolved with his lot in life." But wow, BOTH were very, very tortured souls.

And I HATE it when authors toss things in from out of the blue to reach a certain point or place in a story - making characters doing something totally out of character... It always feels like a cop out, as you said.

Dina suggested another book called Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran. I'm trying to track it down. Have you read it?

Catherine Yes, I have read all of her books. I liked both Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran and Written on Your Skin by Meredith Duran (which it's connected to) but neither touched me the way DOS did.
Her new one, Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran did a much better job of reaching me like DOS did. I was really surprised too, because it was a much different book. They're all good though!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I've been reading reviews for WBY and it got some horrid ones! I'm adding it to my list of books to order soon.

message 12: by Catherine (last edited Aug 02, 2010 01:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Catherine Really? Wow, that totally surprises me. I thought it was great. I did think the land mystery was rather lame, but the strength of the characters and their relationship made that not matter. I read her books more for the depth of character and intense relationships than a mystery plot.

So, did you get that same vibe from Emma that I did? She was so dark that sometimes I wondered exactly how far she'd take it.

Catherine By the way, while Bound by Your Touch didn't reach me the way it did some people, I know a lot of people found it magnificent. I would definitely check it out.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I wasn't sure what she would ultimately do. My heart ached for her... and Marcus was such a horrid man to her. The way he treated her. I don't know, if it had been me living in those times, how I would have been able to stand it. I don't know if I could have.

message 15: by MelissaB (new) - added it

MelissaB Amazing review UM! If I hadn't already bought this book I would now! It's nice to have a book make such an impact isn't it?

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Melissa! It really is nice to find a book that was entertaining, educational and thought provoking!!!

I hope you love it, too!

Cheryl Such a beautiful review.. I look forward to reading this book and comparing notes! :)

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Cheryl! I'm looking forward to it :)

message 19: by Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (last edited Aug 03, 2010 04:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* Baeutiful review, Dhestiny. It's not part of a series, is it? Because I really don't need to get into yet another series...for now anyway. ^_^

message 20: by UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish (last edited Aug 03, 2010 04:09PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Lady J. Nope, not part of a series :)

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* Phew! *Goes away to order now*

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish LOL!! You're welcome!

Amanda Dhestiny, i'm gonna try this book!
besides great historical romance book, is there any "sizzles part" in this book..LOL!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Oh yeah! They sizzle all right.

Amanda Good to hear this..LOL! thanks Dhes!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish You're welcome! There was one particularly steamy scene... but I'll let you find it on your own. I sure hope you love this as much as I did!

Amanda Can't wait to get this book...
but now i'm half way re-read PC-Naked Edge,
can't put it down....
in depth with Gabe & Kat...LOL!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Oh, I LOVE the I-Team. It's my favorite Romantic Suspense series. Have I said that before? I think I might have, once or twice 87 times. ;)

Amanda Yes you did..!!! we loved all I-Team series
OMG, they are so good..!!!

Quinn Great review, Dhes. Having just read this one, looking at your updates at the halfway mark is hilarious. I was feeling the same way!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Quinn! LOLOL I went and re-read my updates and started getting all stressed again! LOL

Glad you liked the review, the updates, the book... I can't wait to see YOUR review!

Quinn LOL! It certainly was stressful! I've posted my review (such as it is), I always do mine before I read others so I don't get influenced (or intimidated!)

Catherine I'm the same way Quinn. :)

Quinn That's good to know, Catherine. If I did it the other way I'd probably never post a review!

message 36: by UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish (last edited Nov 19, 2010 07:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Oooh, I'll go look for it! Thanks for the heads up!

KarenH I know I'm about 6 months late on the draw but that was a beautiful review, Dhes. Thank you.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Awww, you're welcome, Karen, and thank YOU.

This was such a wonderful book! So different from the same old, same old historical romance. I felt that, when I was through reading it, I had gained more than just a good time, if that makes sense.

Thanks again!

back to top