Katyana's Reviews > The Duke of Shadows

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
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's review
Aug 03, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, romance, historical, abuse, favorites
Read in August, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This book was utterly engrossing to me. Something about the characters was really magnetic, and even when I had to step away from the book, it remained on my mind.

I loved the character of Emma. This book really is her story - her journey, her survival. Honestly, this book felt more to me like the story of a woman's fight for survival than even a love story. Julian was something so much more than her lover - he became her center. I think that's why, even after she escapes London, Emma is still lost because she has lost that center. But Emma is a fighter. Even when her conscious mind is unable to take any more, she continues to fight to survive. But her despair really ... soaks through the pages. Emma tries to shut down her emotions, to preserve her sanity, and it is like she builds a wall of despair around herself. Even in the middle of a reunion with Julian, even in a love scene, she is choking on the despair. You can feel her unconscious terror at the idea of allowing this reconnection. I think Emma knows that if the waves pull her under for a third time, she won't come back up. And so, because she is a survivor, she fights to maintain the cold distance from the world.

The scenes where Julian patiently rebuilds the bridge to Emma... they are really just beautiful. And when I say that this is Emma's story, please do not discount Julian. To me, Julian's journey in this book is... one of a man looking for his home. He's an outcast to both of the bloodlines he was born into, and so he has chosen to live his life apart from the world. Like Emma, he has withdrawn. I think, in Emma, he sees a kindred soul - when he meets her, she has just survived the shipwreck, and as a result, is largely adrift in her life. She can't make sense of the world around her anymore, and he understands. They connect as two outsiders, observing the world from a perspective that no one else shares.

And so Emma becomes Julian's center too, because he had, I think, resigned himself to being alone. In London, when he rediscovers Emma, he struggles to show her that she's not alone on the outside - that he's there too, has always been there.

Ugh, I feel like I am rambling. It is hard to express how touching this book was. The story of two utterly lost souls finding each other on the outside is really a powerful one, and I imagine it resonates with a lot of people. If you have any interest in this genre, you really should pick this book up. You won't be disappointed.
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Reading Progress

08/03/2010 page 1
0.0% "After all the great reviews, I couldn't resist!" 3 comments
08/03/2010 page 56
15.0% "Yeesh, if I were on my way to marry a man like Marcus, I don't think I would have held on to the capsized boat so diligently. ;)" 3 comments
08/03/2010 page 138
36.0% "Oh god! Sex in the desert! Right after our conversation about places sand does not belong! I think that my world is particularly fond of parallels today. Peach cobbler, anyone?" 6 comments

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Catherine I see a 5 star grade, yeah! It was great, wasn't it?

Katyana It really was! I want to do a review, but I need to gather my thoughts (and maybe get some sleep first... grrr). But yeah, I really liked it. It was heartbreaking, watching them dance around each other and wondering if they would ever get it together.

Catherine I'll keep an eye out for your review. After you get sleep, of course. ;P

Catherine What a beautiful review. I agree, they both seemed like broken pieces who needed each other to make a whole. Emma's despair practically seeped off the pages. It was such a dark but perfect love story. If you ever run across any others like this feel free to send me a rec!

message 5: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Great review, Katyana. I keep adding more and more books to my list. I'm looking forward to this one...

Catherine Push this one to the top! You know you want to. ;)

message 7: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Got to get it first.

Catherine A likely excuse!

Katyana Catherine wrote: "What a beautiful review. I agree, they both seemed like broken pieces who needed each other to make a whole. Emma's despair practically seeped off the pages. It was such a dark but perfect love ..."

Thanks! And thanks for the rec, it really was a fantastic book. I enjoyed it a lot. :)

Catherine I'm thrilled you did.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish This was just such a beautiful story. Great review!

Katyana UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "This was just such a beautiful story. Great review!"


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