A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James
I am seriously going to have to enter a 12-step program to get over my addiction to A Duke of Her Own. I cannot stop re-reading this sucker. I just re-read it for the third time in a matter of weeks.
It doesn't look like anything special (cheesy pastel romance cover).
It doesn't sound like anything special (book blurb on the back turned me off--I hate books where the hero is trying to choose between 2 women, and the whole duel thing sounds trite).
But Holy Christ On A Crutch, this book is pretty damned close to flawless. The only other time I have finished a novel and thought, this is a totally perfectly written, constructed, and characterized book, was when I finished Loretta Chases' Lord of Scoundrels. A Duke of Her Own has everything that I adore in a historical romance...incredible characters, a beautiful story, lots of humor, sexy interludes that create a nice slow burn throughout the novel, and a wonderfully satisfying ending.
Thank you, Eloisa James for the most exquisite dialogue, with banter so sharp it cuts like a knife. The dialogue between the hero and heroine is wicked, funny, sexy --it literally sparkles with energy. In fact, in my not so humble opinion, James' dialogue is right up there among the best written in a historical romance novel.
Thank you, Ms. James, for a perfectly constructed novel....the pacing is perfect, the characters are original, the writing is flawless.
Thank you, Ms. James, for creating Villiers...a flamboyant, and yet very masculine, smart, fascinating, commanding, sexy hero.
Thank you for Eleanor, who is one of my favorite heroines ever! I love the scene in the orphanage where she kicks butt. I love the scene with Mrs. Busy where she is caressing her riding crop while kicking butt. I love the scene where she is plopped on the floor in her beautiful gown, playing knucklebones with Villier's bastard son, and growing more competitive by the minute! I love....well, every scene. But the scene at the end of the book with Oyster her pug is so freaking great, that I think I have re-read that scene about twenty times (so far). Absolutely. Wonderful. Thank you!
Thank you to all of the readers and reviewers who recommended this book, so that I read it in spite of the cheesy cover and off-putting book blurb, including Carolyn Hughe's Romance Reviews.
This book is part of a series, which I found rather uneven. However, this book can totally stand alone (although to truly appreciate the depth of Villier's chess obsession, you may want to read the others in the series, too). Eloisa James definitely saved the best for last, because A Duke of Her Own is perfection. Grade: A+++++ (OK, just one plus!)
Happy Back To School To All, and To All, A Good Night (I've got Santa on the brain! hee hee),