Eloisa James: THIS DUCHESS OF MINE

This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James
Desperate Duchesses #5
Avon 2009
370 pages
3/5 stars

This novel marks the end of my journey with the Desperate Duchesses series, at least for now, and I’m sorry to say it was pretty much what I’d expected – a disappointment.

Jemma and Elijah have been married for years, and their squabbling, arguing, and misunderstandings have been described and built up throughout the series. However, they never really appealed to me: they obviously love each other, and their inability to communicate has been deeply frustrating and soon lost its charm, especially when there have been couples in the series I have preferred.

I also think James is capable of so much better than this book. It’s episodic and messy in structure, as well as full of see-sawing and repetitious. Perhaps a more detailed reading would make more order out of it, but I could see close to none. It veers mores towards romantica than romance – Jemma is bent on seducing her husband, although this is done by mutual agreement and it often ends up being him seducing her instead. I didn’t really follow their reasoning for some decisions, and just hoped they would have made up their minds. My notes show me grumbling and hoping for an external barrier to unite them, because that is really the only thing that will work, but even when it comes along it’s weak and frankly rather boring.

One thing I did enjoy about this book were actually the politics and the political circles. I got a strong urge to watch The Duchess (2008) and Amazing Grace (2006). In the end I didn’t, but that is the sort of feeling I got whenever Elijah was discussing the political situation with his peers, and particularly when Jemma expressed interest and understanding of the discussion.

In a nutshell, my least favourite book in this series. I was annoyed with the main characters even before starting, and the lack of dramatic arch – or, rather, the difficulty of figuring out where it was – made this a rather tedious reading experience.

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