Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Affair Before Christmas, by Eloisa James

In the second book of the Duchess series, Eloisa James continues on with her world of Georgian England with the story of Fletcher and Poppy, the Duke and Duchess of Fletcher. Under the rule of a proper Englishwoman (her mother) Poppy enters her marriage with Fletcher as a girl in love and sure of herself in all things that a proper Englishwoman would not do, in or out of the bedchamber. Fletcher though, is of a different mind; his time spent in Paris has taught him the ultimate pleasure, that of giving pleasure. He enters his marriage confident that Poppy will enjoy their activities in the bedchamber as much as he will, but things go wrong quickly, and Fletcher learns that the woman he fell in love with neither desires him, or his touch. She only tolerates his advances, much to Fletch's sadness. A continuing character in the Duchess series, Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont, allows Poppy to move in with her while she sorts out her marriage. Jemma is no proper English lady and encourages Poppy freedoms that she never dared while with her mother, or with her husband, although he never denied her anything. The two eventually find love again, after a series of interesting mishaps, including tar and a few feathers!

In the middle of all this, the chess match of the century is brewing between Jemma and The Duke of Villiers, another carry over character from "Desperate Duchesses" and a rake to boot. The ever important Elijah, The Duke of Beaumont, seeing his old childhood friend intruding on his scandal-free life, makes his own chess challenge to his wife. Jemma and Elijah are not the main characters in this novel, but they are certainly the most interesting.

Once again, Eloisa James has created a world of characters enriched by their individual personalities and the glamour of the ton. This book spans the lives of several characters, so pay attention! This series is not complete, so you will waiting until July to find out who she writes about next (I am hoping for Jemma and Elijah!). With her switch to the Georgian era, James has created another captivating series that keeps you on the edge of your seat while you wait for the next one. This series is definitely worth the wait!

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