Melissa's Reviews > An Affair Before Christmas

An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James
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Dec 27, 09

bookshelves: romance
Read in December, 2009

** spoiler alert ** This was my first Eloise James book and i have to say it was interesting. Eloise writes in a way where you don't just get the hero or heroines POV, but a slew of other characters as well. This setup was surprisingly well done and made for a faster and more entertaining read. The reason i gave this book three stars can basically be attributed to the heroine Poppy. This is because i really didn't like her at all. She was whinny, self absorbed, and quite honestly grated my nerves. I constantly switched between wanting to bitch slap her and wanting to push her into a lake. Poppy never seems to grow up or have a major change in her personality. She only seems to grow horny. This is after years of not wanting to take part in sex or kisses at all. So no big character development there.

I will give Ms. James credit where credit is due because the Hero, Fletcher, was quite entertaining and well written. I nearly died of laughter when i found out he hired a male night walker to ruin Poppy's mother reputation ( The mother is 10x's more annoying than Poppy). Fletcher was loyal and loving the whole entire book (which is more you can say about Poppy). I rather enjoyed him and had hopped he'd just divorce Poppy and move on, but atlas....

The side stories and the side characters in this book was also delish. I rather loved the whole Villiers/ Charlotte side story along with Jemma/Elijah. I was rather happy to learn that they both have their own books and i look forward to reading them.

So all in all 3 stars for good supporting cast and hero.
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Reading Progress

12/22/2009 page 96
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Juliana (new)

Juliana I have never been a big Eloisa James fan - I read one or two of her books and really didn't like them. How are you finding this one? I keep on seeing her new releases over the years and want to give her work another chance, but am never sure which one to pick. Are you liking this book and if not, what's your favorite by James?


Melissa Juliana wrote: "I have never been a big Eloisa James fan - I read one or two of her books and really didn't like them. How are you finding this one? I keep on seeing her new releases over the years and want to giv..."

This is the first Eloise book i've ever read actually. Funnily, i'm liking the side characters more than some of the main characters in the story. I really like the Duke of Fletcher (the hero), but Poppy the heroine makes me want to punch her. I find her so! annoying. I feel bad for Fletcher. I keep yelling at the book for him to divorce her (which i know unfortunately isn't going to happen). I also find Poppy's mother to be annoying as well. They're both so pig headed. I understand that they're merely mirroring many of the women of the time's attitudes towards things, but it doesn't help their personalities. Poppy actually left Fletcher because he got angry at her at a party and "embarrassed" her over something i didn't find that bad. She then sent her mother to live with him and oh gosh i feel sorry for the poor man. He even apologized to her, but she's being so pig headed.

The side characters makes the story really compelling though. I think if it wasn't for them i would have given up on the book awhile back. I'm rather glad to see that they have their own books. I'm particularly looking forward to Elijah/Jemma's and Finchley's books.




message 3: by Juliana (last edited Dec 26, 2009 06:31PM) (new)

Juliana Melissa wrote: "Juliana wrote: "I have never been a big Eloisa James fan - I read one or two of her books and really didn't like them. How are you finding this one? I keep on seeing her new releases over the years..."

I remember that from the James books I have read that she packs them with supporting characters that are very fully developed and central to the stories. That was actually one of the things I disliked in one book, because there were about two other romance stories going on besides for the main one and none of them were very strong - with one being absolutely horrible IMO.

Annoying heroines drive me crazy. Admittedly, I think that most of us romance readers are harder on the heroine than the hero, but frankly I also think that writers are more likely to mess-up on heroines than they are on heroes.

It's tougher on writers too, because for instance while we love (well not all of us, but it's a common character) the bad-rake-flirting-self-centered turned wonderful-charming-one-woman-man hero - since of course it's through his association with the heroine that he sees the error of (most of) his ways. However, would a heroine like that - self-centered, materialistic, flirty, shallow, etc. - who then undergoes a transformation appeal to us? I don't know about anyone else, but for me, **definitely** not!!!


Melissa Juliana wrote: "Melissa wrote: "Juliana wrote: "I have never been a big Eloisa James fan - I read one or two of her books and really didn't like them. How are you finding this one? I keep on seeing her new release..."

It's something that is currently going on in this book as well. I like it to an extend because it a faster and more interesting read, but at the end only one story is finished. Something that can be a bit frustrating (mostly because of the three people i mentioned earlier). It's something different for me though because it's the first romance book that i've read that done it. Usually things are written primarily through the hero or heroine's POV. Seeing things through another characters POV is rather interesting. I can name numerous books where i would have liked to see other characters POV on things.

I have to agree that many readers are harder on the heroine than the hero and that writers are more likely to mess up there. I think its because many romance writers and readers are female and we are generally more harder on other females in nature. I know many traits i find annoying in women i find myself drawn to in men.

I totally agree with you on your last paragraph. As a reader i find myself drawn to those reformed bad boys, but repulsed if the woman is like that. I usually find myself thinking that the guy can do better than that harpy. lol Right now that is Poppy to me. So self-centric and i want to bitch slap her for it. Fletcher has just declared he'd be a monk for her and basically begged her to come home. He even admitted he loved her again, always has, and never cheated on him. Yet, Poppy said no because she wanted her freedom and she didn't love him like that anymore. If the situation was reversed though i believe i would find the girl weak and the guy in his right.

Kinda of strange how things are like that....



message 5: by Juliana (new)

Juliana Melissa wrote: "It's something that is currently going on in this book as well. I like it to an extend because it a faster and more interesting read, but at the end only one story is finished..."

Lol (regarding your last paragraph). It's so true and this is something I've found always applies whenever I talk to other romance readers. We're all so hypocritical or sexist or whatever you want to call it. Oh well, this is all supposed to be about enjoyment, so I'm just fine with our double standards, lol. :-)


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan Great review. I recently finished Desperate Duchesses and loved it. Currently have this one on order to continue reading the duchess series.

Aside from all the great points you mentioned, I also like the way Eloisa James writes dialogue. Can't put my finger on it but I feel like I'm there with the characters.


Melissa Susan wrote: "Great review. I recently finished Desperate Duchesses and loved it. Currently have this one on order to continue reading the duchess series.

Aside from all the great points you mentioned, I also l..."


Thanks ^^ I actually picked this book up originally as a Christmas story to read. I agree with you on the way Eloise writes dialogue. It's entertaining and keeps you hooked into the story. Now i'm reading the rest. The only story i'll be missing is the first in the series.


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