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An Affair Before Christmas (Desperate Duchesses, #2)
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An Affair Before Christmas

(Desperate Duchesses #2)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  5,948 ratings  ·  486 reviews
Magic under the mistletoe...

One spectacular Christmas, Lady Perdita Selby, known to her friends and family as Poppy, met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was the perfect match for the innocent, breathtakingly beautiful young Englishwoman, and theirs was the most romantic wedding she had ever seen. Four years later,
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by Avon
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Miriamgreen It is least favorite of the series / skimmed it, a first they do not play a role in the later titles that i can remember
however, Villier's book,…more
It is least favorite of the series / skimmed it, a first they do not play a role in the later titles that i can remember
however, Villier's book, extra chapter on her website describes the birth of Eleanor and Villier's child and subsequent baptism of all his illegitimate children, the Duke and Duchess are gifted with the terrible twins and still noted as powerful, loving couple and he has become a voice in Parliament. I skimmed this because the mother was so awful and the premise had too much to do with Poppy's distaste of intimacy owing to her mother. Her passion was revealed as a naturalist, that helped. If you are dedicated to the series, it is a must read despite everything.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  5,948 ratings  ·  486 reviews

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Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
HAHAHAHAHA, so okay you guys, this is the premise: TwwooWuvvv Sexiness is overcome by some itchy hair powder. For four. years. No, really. The hero's supposedly perfect, superior bedroom skillz are overcome by the fact that his wife's hair powder makes her head itch, so the shy heroine is too distracted by that during sex to enjoy it, never responds to his touch for the first four years of their marriage. And never says a damn word about this fact to him! 'Cause, you know, that would be too ...more
I had so many problems with this book. First I thought the heroine was an idiot. I know, I know, she was young and dominated by her mother. But that only works for me in the beginning. This was a woman who was married for four years to a man that adored her and tried to do everything in his power to please her sexually, only for her to rebuff him and show him nothing but distaste. Because she was an idiot. So she goes off to "find" herself, telling him that she really wasn't in love with him ...more
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It takes a lot for me not to finish a book, no matter how much I'm frustrated with it but this one really pissed me off and for several reasons.

I'm a Eloisa James fan first and foremost so part of my frustration and bafflement with this book was trying to wrap my head around why she would write a story like this with a premise and heroine like that. I'm a huge fan of her work and every book I've read of her's so far has not disappointed except this one. I kept going why why WHY? while reading
V. A Court of Wings and Ruin is NEW ADULT/EROTICA but Goodreads editors won't tell you to include it in the choice awards


Jen's review
Heather's review

For those of you who don't know what safety means I'll say this: Goodreads isn't the best place to find information about books as it's a heavily sales-oriented websites. Reviewers, especially the top ones (who get there because the number of likes of PR teams accounts and of course of the fans of certain
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Desperate Duchesses series is one that needs to be looked at for what it is - and it's exactly what it is named - desperate duchesses, all with different problems, and how things work out for them. This second book in the series (which I read out of order, 1 then 3 and now 2) started out kind of slow - and sad. It's a sad story: Poppy and Fletcher are unhappily married and living separate lives. Neither one wants to communicate or work things out. They're just upset at each other and ...more
Nov 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I have a hard time deciding how to rate this book. On one hand, the story about our main heroes, Poppy and Fletcher doesn't deserve more than 2 stars, but on the other hand all the subplots and secondary characters in this book were wonderful. So I'll compromise and give this book 3 stars.

I really can't buy the fact that Poppy felt NO PLEASURE at all because of (view spoiler) for FOUR YEARS. Really? And how can you be so oblivious to the fact that your hair is
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lady Perdita "Poppy" Selby marries John, the Duke of Fletcher. It's love! ROLL CREDITS—ha, just kidding. Fletch and Poppy are having Marital Strife because John wants teh sex and Poppy just lies there. They go their separate ways for most of a year before Poppy discovers that she's allergic to hair powder and John discovers that a prostitute won't make his Boner Pop. This, obviously, results in the Sex of True Love.

1. Fletch's introduction—a man who refuses to communicate using words and is
Anzu The Great Destroyer
This is really difficult to rate. First of all I really like the universe Eloisa James created. Her characters are usually really interesting but this time I was disappointed.

I didn’t like the main ones at all. Poppy is an idiot and Fletch is a bigger idiot for drooling after her for years and yet not getting anything in return. Seriously?!?! You give up on your husband because your hair is itchy and your mom is a psycho? WTF?!

The only thing I liked about it was poor Villiers. He was the main
Penny Watson
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have discovered the most ludicrous central conflict ever to grace a romance novel.

A hairdo.

Yes, that is correct. Eloisa James' An Affair Before Christmas explores the failing marriage of Poppy and the Duke of Fletcher. Why, you ask, is their marriage failing? Well, Fletch thinks Poppy is frigid in bed, when in actuality, her hair is itchy and she is unable to concentrate on the pleasure he is attempting to give her.

(Yes, I was speechless, too). Hee hee hee heeeeee.....Oh my goodness, this is
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I really loved how realistic the main story felt for the time period. I feel like this series is just reading one long book with the way there are continuing stories through every book. It's been an enjoyable start to the series.
An Affair Before Christmas is an entertaining holiday historical from the Desperate Duchess series, which I haven’t read yet, but I’m now eager to pick up. I think this is how many authors entice you to pick up their novels, which is by writing holiday stories that tie into their series in order to whet your appetite. Well it worked!

During a beautiful holiday afternoon, Lady Perdita Selby, otherwise known as Poppy to her friends and family, accepts a betrothal from the Duck of Fletcher with the
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
I didn't really enjoy this, partially because books where the couple loves each other but everything falls apart because they just can't connect with each other make me sad, and partially because the conflict between the couple in this book had the potential to actually explore and solve real problems, but then it's wrapped up artificially and I barely noticed it happening.

As with the first book, the book is also diminished by the focus being spread out across too many other stories. I know it's
May 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
OK I did not like this book. There was just too much goign on and not much of the main romance that was described on the back of the book. I wanted to read about Fletch and Poppy putting their marriage back together. Not about other people playing chess, and this Duke dying and that Duke unfaithful and blah, blah blah. I realize this is part of a series but there was hardly any of the main couple in the book. In fact it seemed like they spent most of their time apart. I just didn't like any of ...more
I normally love Eloisa James and I've read the Desperate Duchess series in a totally random order. What I can say is that this series gets better further down the line and no one will have to put up with heroines that are quite as annoying and silly as Perdita. Also, there will be not so much of a mish mash between all the other relationships which is something else that bothered me about this story. It just seemed all over the place. Definitely one of my least favorites in this series.
Lori McD
Ay! What to say about this book? If only I'd read the reviews here at Goodreads first, perhaps I wouldn't have bothered. I wasn't a huge fan of the 1st book in this series, but I usually adore Eloisa James' books, so I thought I'd give it another go.

But, alas. Trying to get through the 1st 2/3rds of this book was almost like torture. I've adapted a rule about giving up on books if they don't capture my attention, but somehow, I didn't give up on this one. And once I pushed through in the last
The heroine’s idealism about marriage and her groom for annoying really fast.
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read the first book in this series 2 1/2 years ago and liked it. I have no idea why I didn't continue the series. Well, here we are: Christmas and I've got the book, and the audio too, so I can clean and decorate till the house glows, shop till I drop, and bake till I'm burnt, all while listening to wonderful Christmas books. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE !!!

This is one where the narration made the tedious tasks of the Christmas Season sooooo much easier to bare. I love the accents and how the
3.5 Stars.

For a genre I usually don't read (Romance) I was again satisfied by Eloisa James's book. It was fun and flirtatious and had the right amount of character building and actual romance. I had a good time reading this book. It was good to take my mind off of more serious things.
Poppy was a push over for a lot of the book and Fletch was such an whiney prick at the start of the book, it does not bode well. It got better to the end but a lot of the book was spent on contemplating the benefits of infidelity. I just couldn't deal. I also disliked the subplots of the other romances, I was confused. I should have read this series in order!!!
Jun 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Not as fun as the first one, but still love the world. Trashy fun!
Nov 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I quite enjoyed this! Although I actually liked the secondary characters (Gemma, Charlotte, and V.A.) better than the hero and heroine who I found a bit insipid. I think what really sold me on this was the wit. I found the dialogue really witty and funny. My first Eloisa James book, but it certainly won't be my last!
The beginning of this was bad, but it did grow on me as it went on!

So, the hero and heroine are married. It was a love match. Four years, later and they're still in love. Great! No conflict! Oh wait . . . .

The conflict is the heroine's mother spent her whole life telling her what a terrible experience sex is. So she just lays there and the hero doesn't like that! But the heroine is clueless! So the heroine does a wonderfully mature and sensible thing and asks the hero, "What's wrong? What are
Susan (susayq ~)
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Where to start? Poppy and Fletch were in love, got married and 4 years later split up even though they still loved each other. Why? Cause Poppy was an immature idiot who listened to her witch of a mother. Lady Flora insisted women don't like sex and shouldn't have to "service" their husbands. I say Poppy and Jemma (yes, she was in here) need to hire a giggilo that will give Lady Flora the proper experience she needs to realize sex isn't so bad ;) Eventually Poppy and Fletch (who's name is ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it liked it
While I thought the heroine was severely lacking, the overlying arc in this series always keeps me interested. After thinking about it, I am still annoyed with her, but I can understand where she comes from. So many women pretend to be pleased by their husbands/SOs/whathaveyou because they think they're supposed to SAY they enjoy it, but don't really believe they will. I thought it was a stretch to make it the central conflict in their marriage - if James had made a bigger deal out of evil ...more
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not one of the best I've ever read. Oddly, the writing itself was pretty good, but the subject matter and plot were weak and implausible. There's very little Christmas to the book, and an odd fascination with chess, both as a game and a euphemism for more intimate activities.

The heroine becomes estranged from her duke because her mother has taught her not to like sex. And apparently the mother was quite a teacher for her lessons to supersede 4 years of marriage to a very attentive duke whom
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathleen by: Get Booked
Shelves: romance, ebook, christmas
2.5 stars. I'm not generally drawn to category romances, but I keep them in occasional rotation so I don't completely lose touch. The premise of this work, a traditional romance between a couple who is already married in chapter one (and not by arrangement or for convenience) intrigued, and I liked it more than expected. Especially given the historical setting and the heroine's background, her journey is believable, and that goes a long way.

Chemistry is told more than shown, but the reader
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New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James writes historical romances for HarperCollins Publishers. Her novels have been published to great acclaim. A reviewer from USA Today wrote of Eloisa's very first book that she "found herself devouring the book like a dieter with a Hershey bar"; later People Magazine raved that "romance writing does not get much better than this." Her novels have ...more

Other books in the series

Desperate Duchesses (9 books)
  • Desperate Duchesses (Desperate Duchesses, #1)
  • Duchess By Night (Desperate Duchesses, #3)
  • When the Duke Returns (Desperate Duchesses, #4)
  • This Duchess of Mine (Desperate Duchesses, #5)
  • A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses, #6)
  • Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #1; Desperate Duchesses, #7)
  • Four Nights With the Duke (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #2; Desperate Duchesses #8)
  • Seven Minutes in Heaven  (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #3; Desperate Duchesses, #9)
“She still remembered sitting for hours as a little girl and pretending to be a hassock. A foot stool. Because if she could just stay very small, and very quiet, her mother would forget she was there, and then she wouldn't scream about people and places and things that had gone wrong.” 41 likes
“Then he just blurted it out, with no preparation. 'The truth of it is that whether your mother arranged our marriage, or whether it was all an illusion, I must be horribly obtuse, because I can't talk myself out of being in love with you.” 4 likes
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