Fani's Reviews > The Duke of Shadows

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
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AMAZING!!! I couldn't read another book for a day and even went back to re-read the best parts as soon as it was over.

Part One: Delhi, India as the Indians' revolution against the English begins.
Emmaline and Julian have known each other for a few days but have taken a liking on each other. They are both outcasts: she has been tainted after been saved from drawning from a boat full of men while he has a half Indian mother. Unfortunately she is also betrothed to Julian's cousin and life-long enemy. When the Indians invade Delhi, he helps her get out of the city. The scenes that follow are gruesome and intense, filled with action, angst and eventually passion. However, these two people tragically get separated in the midst of the war.

Part two: 4 years later, London.
After 4 years, Julian still hasn't got over Emma, believing her to be dead and blaming himself for it. Emma on the other hand, knows Julian is alive in England but stays away from him, blaming him for the trials she's been through after their separation. After the things she witnessed, she is permanently depressed and sad, without spark for life. But she has drawn some magnificent -if too violent- paintings from the scenes she witnessed in India, that attract the notice of a nobleman who wants to exhibit them in London. She agrees to travel there to present them, hoping she won't run into Julian. Unfortunately, at the very first night, Julian sees her and that scene, where they meet after years, is one I read over and over because it was simply, heart-breakingly stunning. Julian wants to continue where they left off where Emma tries to send him away. But soon it becomes obvious that someone is trying to destroy the paintings or kill Emma or perhaps both, and Julian is the only one who can help her.

Simply one of the best books I've ever read. Very emotionally powerful, heart-wrenching and angsty. It is not for the weak at heart and I can even understand it may seem maudlin to those who prefer lighter stuff. I suspect though, that readers who loved Private Arrangements will find this memorable as well, since that heart-breaking intensity found in PA is here as well, even if their plots are completely different.
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Comments (showing 1-46 of 46) (46 new)

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I feel the need to pull this one of my shelf and read it now!


Fani Danielle wrote: "I feel the need to pull this one of my shelf and read it now!"

Danielle, I can't say how much I loved this one! It was in my TBR for almost a year, because I thought I wouldn't like a book set in India, but it was so great in the end! But if you're not into angsty, heart-wrenching stuff right now, you may pass it for now:(


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I love angsty books as long as they have happy endings and don't have adultery that is very obvious in the story. I love the exotic settings and with a hero who is half-Indian I don't think I can pass on this one. But thanks for the warning.


Fani Well, the hero does sleep with other women after they separate but a) they weren't married and b) he really thought her dead. So I guess that justifies him, at least for me.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) That's fine. I don't consider that adultery. Thanks for the warning though.


message 6: by new_user (last edited Aug 27, 2009 07:39PM) (new) - added it

new_user Wow, this is like PA? I'm all over this. LOL. Btw, Fanip, if you liked PA, I think you will like Not Quite a Husband by ST. It's like a second, better version of PA, LOL. More romantic-- and Leo is the stuff of dreams. ;)


message 7: by K. (last edited Aug 29, 2009 12:26PM) (new) - added it

K. Fani: Oh my - I'm not sure now about Duran because although I found PA facsinating with respect to Sherry Thomas' writing (obviously, since I'm currently listening to "Delicious"), I have a love/hate relationship with PA: I sucked it down as an over the top soap drama, and loved to HATE Gigi and Camden both! They are two of the most self-involved, emotionally immature protagonists I've ever read! LOL! Regardless, I loved the book as much as I loved watching "The Young and the Restless" years ago -- it just wasn't romantic to me.

Is this couple more romantic? You already said there's no cheating (yay!), but are they constantly trying to hurt each other? I was pretty excited to read Duran after all the praise she's received, and I actually do have her third book on my TBR. Thanks for your review - loved it! :)
K.



Fani I'm sorry I was late to answer, I was away for a couple of days.

Well, PA and DOS have NOTHING in common in terms of plot or characters. It's the intensity between them, the heart-gripping passion and angst and finally, the same sense of slight melancholy that permeats the whole book that reminded me of it. In the first half, those two heroes are like soul mates, unerringly attracted to each other. They feel so right together that when in the second part the heroine tries to thwart him, it's really heart-wrenching for the reader because you KNOW how much he loves her. So yes, she hurts him at some point by not accepting her feelings for him, but it's only after a 150 pages of passion AND adventure, and she DOES come to her senses before the end of the book; besides it's not like she decides to hurt him for revenge -a la PA- or the fun of it.

So, no unlikable, selfish characters in this one if that's what's scarring you. And there is adventure in both the first part and the second of this, unlike PA. There are some gruesome, bloodied scenes though during the first part, describing battle attrocities which may raise someone's hair but if you can take that and the entire gloomy atmosphere, I think you'll enjoy it. As I said, I loved it; I read the ballroom scene where Julian first sees her after 4 years 3 times on my first read alone:)


message 9: by K. (new) - added it

K. Whew! Okay -- Ya, I think I am going to like it after that info. :) I can take the gorey stuff (no problem - just finished Sutcliffe's "Notorious" -- more gore than romance for sure! :\

Thanks Fani! That ballroom scene does sound very romantic and intriguing!
K.



 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) This definitely sounds like my cup of tea. Adventure and romance is an irresistible combination for me. I first read the historical romances for the adventure when I was a young teen.


Angelc Great review, Fanip! I didn't enjoy the book as much as you did, but yes the reunion scene was absolutely amazing, it was by far my favorite part of the book!!


message 12: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani Sorry to hear you didn't like it Angelc. But at least we agree that the reunion scene was amazing:)


message 13: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Cool! Adventure. That's always nice, so long as it's not too contrived. Fanip, the tone and the writing were in part why I loved PA (it's hard to take it as a soap, imo, when the tone is so very subtle, even the barbs traded back and forth.) Looking forward to this!


message 14: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani I do hope you'll enjoy it new user. And believe me, the adventure in the first part is NOT contrived: the time and place setting make this unique.
What I liked in PA was that I could actually FEEL the hurt and love between the heroes; it's exactly the same here for me.


seton the oily cardboard villain, compared to the quality of the rest of her writing made me want to scream in frustration but there is no doubt that this is a powerful book. I dont remember the ballroom reunion scene unless ur talkin' bout the Globe Scene (which is justly the most famous scene from the book).

There is a lot of parallels between Duran and Sherry Thomas. I do like Thomas slightly more at this point because Duran's second novel wasnt nearly as emotional as DOS.


message 16: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani I haven't read a second book either by Thomas or by Duran so I can't speak for the rest of their books or their style in general. I can't even decide if I like PA or DOS better:) But they're both very angsty, emotional, dark and distinctive.

I do remember the Globe scene and I liked it, but it didn't touch me as much as their reunion. His running after her without any care to everyone who was watching them or the scandal that would be created and their discussion afterwards in the garden, were very touching to me and still are. I just loved his "to hell with anyone, I just found the woman I loved is still alive" attitude beyond sexy and completely endearing:)


Angelc Fanip wrote: "His running after her without any care to everyone who was watching them or the scandal that would be created and their discussion afterwards in the garden, were very touching to me and still are. I just loved his "to hell with anyone, I just found the woman I loved is still alive" attitude beyond sexy and completely endearing:)"

Agreed, Fanip!!!




message 18: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz Oooo I lovedPrivate Arrangements! Great review Fani! Your first line hooked me :D


message 19: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani Thanks East! I love this book, it's quite unique in setting and style IMO and I think you'll like it since you don't shy away from angst:)


message 20: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz I'm surprised at how rich and vivid the setting is without the author going overboard with useless detail. I'm a good 100 pages in and I totally hate that sob Marcus --so far it's pretty good :)


message 21: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani *does happy dance*

I'm glad you're enjoying it! The second part is a little less perfect than the first, but I think that as a whole, it's definitely worth reading. And Julian is to die for:) I hope you'll agree with me when you're done.


message 22: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz I'll keep you posted :)


message 23: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Oh, East likes it too! I'm pretty sure I'll like it now.


message 24: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz Lol NU ;p I lost interest sort of 3/4 through :( Maybe it'll pick up. I'm going to try to finish it this week.


message 25: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani Lost interest? *gasps* But that's not possible!!!
LOL! Well, I didn't love the second half as much as the first, but I did like it more than you I think:) I wish they were more even though.


message 26: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani new_user wrote: "Oh, East likes it too! I'm pretty sure I'll like it now."

Do pick it up nu, the first half alone is worth it. IMHO.


message 27: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz Fani wrote: "Lost interest? *gasps* But that's not possible!!!
LOL! Well, I didn't love the second half as much as the first, but I did like it more than you I think:) I wish they were more even though."


Lol Fani ;) This whole art thing with her is weird. Who's going to want to buy paintings of carnage? It also needs more steam/tension for me. You're right about the first part in India being well done. We'll see. Maybe it'll all work out on the end ;)


message 28: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani Well, there are many famous paintings out there with the aftermaths of battles and all the gore during them, so I don't find that strange. But if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't. I keep hoping it'll improve though:)


message 29: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz True re the famous paintings it just seems strange that all these society people would like to buy them and hang them in their homes. Bit gruesome but maybe it really was like that. Fingers crossed still ;)


message 30: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Aw, second half disappointing? Hmm, that's too bad. Steam, I don't know. I might overlook that since I've been writing enough of it, LOL.


message 31: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani You're writing new user? Now THAT's interesting! WHat are you up to then?


message 32: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz Whatcha writing NU?


message 33: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Trying to a get career off the ground writing novels. :) I hope! I'm working on a scifi romance and a paranormal HR now.


message 34: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani Go for it! I wish I had the talent to do just that, or at least the patience to give it a try, but I don't.

I hope it works out for you and please, let us know when you're done:)


message 35: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Thanks, Fani, I appreciate that! I'm gonna give it my best! :)


message 36: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani I know you will new_user:)


message 37: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz Well I'll be one of the first to check it out :D your reviews are great so a novel, wow! Good luck with it :D


message 38: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Thanks, guys! <3


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) new_user wrote: "Trying to a get career off the ground writing novels. :) I hope! I'm working on a scifi romance and a paranormal HR now."

What?!!! Good for you, n_u! Best of luck! ;)


message 40: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Thanks, Anna! :D I'll take all the luck I can get, LOL!


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) new_user wrote: "Thanks, Anna! :D I'll take all the luck I can get, LOL!"

Ha! You'll do great! *thumbs up*

What kind of HR Paranormal are you writing? Steampunk? Vamps, weres, shifters?


message 42: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user My supes are djinn! :D


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) new_user wrote: "My supes are djinn! :D"

*returns from Google search*

Unique!


message 44: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user LOL. Yeah, I'm gonna flesh them out a lot more than they have been in PNR. Such a shame, 'cause they've got so much potential. :D


message 45: by Fani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fani I haven't read a romance with djinn nu, so that sounds very interesting. Just don't forget to let us know when you're ready:)


message 46: by new_user (new) - added it

new_user Will do, Fani! ;)


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