Eviltwinjen's Reviews > When the Duke Returns

When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James
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Dec 09, 08

bookshelves: romance

I guess I must have liked this book, because I read it straight through in one sitting (forsaking various useful tasks). James' books can seem scattered, and this one is no exception--the constant jumping between characters and locations can be maddening, but it keeps you turning pages. Isidore is alternately charming and grating, as is her maybe/maybe not husband (although he's been laden with all sorts of anachronistic new-agey beliefs he picked up in foreign climbs). What makes James' books stand out is her refusal to engage in the usual romance genre idealization of sex (Simeon and Isidore are both virgins, and their first encounter is realistically awkward) and her gift for mixing modern sensibilities with intelligent period window dressing. Her best creation is Jemma, the world-weary duchess of Beaumont, whose subplot has stolen the show in all the previous books and who will finally get her own book next year.
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