Thursday, July 1

Eloisa James: Desperate Duchesses

On returning from an extended stay in Paris a disenchanted Duchess needs to entertain herself in the face of continued marital neglect. She finds that entertainment in the form of a distant cousin who asks for her help in seducing a renowned rake into marriage. After transforming the young miss into a desirable woman she concocts a plan to have the man visit her house regularly-she challenges him to a game of chess.
Things almost immediately start to go pear shaped when the man, disregarding her husband, makes unseemly suggestions as to the rules of play and her brother embarks on a mission to seduce the young lady before she marries.
While nothing goes quite to plan, there is at least one happy couple by the end of the book and hints that the Duchess’s marriage might not be beyond hope.
The first in a series, this book stands alone quite well while introducing a cast of characters I expect will be given books of their own.
There are no real surprises to be found as the story plays out in conformance to romantic comedy tradition. But the writing is excellent, the characters well developed and the dialogue amusing, making the tried and true formula shine. The inclusion of flying cow pats, bed wetting toddlers and dubious poetry give the book a certain quirkiness that marks it out from its contemporaries.
Definitely a series I will be following.-Lynn

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