katalysis asked Hello again! I was the one who asked about This Duchess of Mine, the fifth book in EJ's Duchess series. Now that I'm nearing the series' end, I do agree with you a little bit more about your assessment of Elijah. He is too pure, isn't he? Anyway, I enjoy your funny reviews terribly and I wondered if you could do a little comparison across the series...what you liked, what you didn't like, etc. Thank you!
Overall, I loved the series and I would be delighted to go through it. Let’s roll!
1. Desperate Duchesses (Roberta and Gryffyn) (Oh his name is actually Damon) This was either the first or second Eloisa James book that I ever read, and I loved it. Roberta’s father is the writer of hilariously bad poetry and Roberta herself is gutsy and fun. Damon is pretty damn sexy, too. Plus we’re introduced to a lot of the series regulars, most especially VILLIERS, who is one of my favorite romance novel characters ever.
2. The Affair Before Christmas (Poppy and Fletch) This one was definitely more sweet than steamy (ew I just said that, sorry, I feel like an ancient publisher now), since Poppy’s been under the thumb of her domineering mother and generally feels like shit about herself and everything else in her life and Fletch has to be slow and gentle so he doesn’t scare her off. But there’s a time and a place for slow and gentle, right? There’s a lot of interesting details about hairstyles in the Georgian era, and both Poppy and Fletch are super fashionable. I read this to get into the ~*~Christmas spirit~*~ last year and it did very nicely, although only the beginning and end really take place around Christmas.
3. Duchess by Night (Harriet/LORD STRANGE) Okay, let’s just get that out of the way: the hero’s name is Lord Justinian Strange. LORD JUSTINIAN STRANGE. Doesn’t that make you want to go read the book right now? No? Fuck you.
ANYWAYS. Harriet is a fantastic heroine, one of my favorites of the series, because she’s a bit older and wiser (especially compared to the naive Poppy) and the way she riffs with Lord Strange is most satisfying. Also, it’s a cross-dressing book (Lord Strange’s house is most scandalous and she has to sneak in) and Eloisa James turns it into the sexiest damn cross dress fest ever.
4. When the Duke Returns (Isadore/Simeon) Loved it! Reviewed it here.
5. This Duchess of Mine (Elijah/Jemma). UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH. I’ve been clear on my feelings about this book before. It was a huge disappointment, because Jemma was so interesting before and, like I said, she just loses her teeth when it comes to Golden Boy Elijah.
6. A Duke of Her Own (Eleanor/Villiers) (MOTHERFUCKING VILLIERS FUCK YEAH) This one was absolutely my favorite, because Villiers is the fucking shit. He’s been around the block and uses that knowledge (and his knowledge of 19th century contraceptives) to his (and our) advantage. Like Jemma, we’ve been following him the whole series, but here it pays off. It was so much fun and a fitting and wonderful end to the series.
katalysis asked Hi! I recently read your review of When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James, and you mentioned that you have read (and not quite liked) Jemma's story. If James' intention was to prolong the resolution to that story until hJemma's own book, she succeeded because I really wanted to read it. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the subject, and why you didn't like it. A review like the one I've read would be very, very interesting and appreciated. Thank you!
Hello! And thanks for reading!
It’s been such a long time since I read Jemma’s story, but I will do my best to give an idea of why it didn’t appeal to me. I think the simplest answer is that it was just not interesting. Is it because I’d been following Jemma and Elijah for several books and I felt like I knew how it was going to turn out anyways? Maybe. We also follow Villiers for the entire series and he remained fascinating and a bit ~*~mysterious~*~ and his book ended up being my favorite.
But I think the real problem is this: Elijah is, how can I put this delicately, so fucking boring I almost fell asleep every time he was onpage. I couldn’t get a sense of what he looks like. Even now I remember Villiers has the skunk hair (trust, it’s sexy). Lord Strange has dark hair and a hawkish nose. Fletch is dark and superhandsome. Griffyn has brown hair, blue eyes, and a mischevious smile. Simeon looks vaguely Italian and is ridic buff. Elijah is … golden? Has aristocratic planes on his face? Many romance novels use that descriptor and I have to be straight with you, I have no fucking idea what it means.
But honestly, it’s not how he looks, it’s that he’s just so … good. He made one mistake many years ago and he even made that mistake because he’s so kind and good-hearted and angelic and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Excuse me, I must have nodded off. Give me a man with a sense of humor and a bit of mischief any day over some golden angel with aristocratic planes on his face and a sensuous mouth. And while Jemma provided a lot of that excitement, she completely loses her teeth when it comes to Elijah. Ugh.
Of course, this is all a taste issue, your mileage may vary.
One final thing: I can’t spoiler it, because it’s a huge plot point, but there is a total deus ex machina at the end and it left me going, “Really? Really? Fuck this book.”
However, if you’re sold on Jemma and Elijah, you should go ahead and read it. I’d love it if you’d review it for ME, actually.
beresbel asked Hey, so I was wondering: Got any stories that are kind of like Ever After? (The movie with Drew Berrymore, which, yes, I am currently watching.) I am just curious, because, damn. Could be a really great book. With, you know, more than kissing.
Ha, I love that movie, even though Drew Barrymore’s accent makes me want to punch a baby.
Anyways, Cinderella stories are plentiful in Romanceland, but my favorite is A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James (I typoed at first and said A Kill at Midnight, that sounds like a Bond movie, doesn’t it?).
I know, contain your shock. Me recommending Eloisa James. Stunning. But I love this book, and I even reviewed it for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Rest assured, they do more than kiss.The slipper fits very well, if you catch my drift. There is hot princely dick. They have sex with each other. If you know what I mean.
My other favorite Cinderella adaptation is a YA book, and is one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME: Ella Enchanted. There is nothing more than kissing in this book, but everybody in the world should read it because it’s so wonderful.
Readers, any more Cinderella stories?
Thanks to everybody for your feedback yesterday, here’s what I ended up getting:
Magic Bites, by Kate Daniels: My friend Nancy read the first one and was so impressed that she got the next two in the series, and since she’s the one who led me to both Kresley Cole and Tempest Rising, I trust her judgment.
Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters: We’ve discussed before that my experience in same-sex romance is pitiful, and this book looks fucking awesome.
When the Duke Returns, by Eloisa James: Like I said, I’m craving a James and this is the only one of the Desperate Duchesses series I haven’t read. Also, honestly, I was completely sold by this one-star review on Amazon:
Reading this book gave me the impression that Eloisa James had done extensive research on 18th century plumbing, and wanted to make the most out of that knowledge. Page after page is devoted to discussion of the disgusting, malodorous water closets. At one point our intrepid hero, the duke, is too repulsed to hit a man covered with poo and so he instead delivers him a roundhouse kick to the face. One of several roundhouse kicks to the face the duke uses to take down bad guys. I actually had to read that part aloud to my husband, so he too could partake in the ridiculousness. This is not a book I would recommend.
I’m afraid I have to disagree with you, aquatea, IF THAT IS IN FACT YOUR REAL NAME. There is nothing that says “must-read” like “extensive research on 18th century plumbing” and “several roundhouse kicks to the face.”
weena76 asked HELP. ME. I am being a brave little toaster and valiantly fighting my way through Eloisa James's "Desperate Duchesses" which I am finding to be a vast desert of NO SEXY TIMES. Yes, I finally hit the sexual motherload but not until 75 percent of the way through the book (damn you, Kindle percentage counter!) whereupon I was hit by a tidal wave of bodily juices. My question--should I continue reading all the books in the series (because I do suffer from series-itis) or should I cut to the chase and head straight for "A Duke of Her Own" which I believe someone on Romance Club highly recommended. I do love The James, but this book was like hiking through peanut butter to get to the juicy jelly inside, and it hurt me. What say you?
First of all, take a deep breath. You’re okay. We’re okay. The sex is coming.
Now, I have to admit that I adored the first book in the series, because I thought Roberta’s father was hilarious and I loooved the world that she was creating, but you’re right. In terms of sex, it is a bit of a desert until 3/4 the way through. THIS IS THE BANE OF HISTORICAL ROMANCE. If you did not enjoy the roller coaster before the loops, then it may be time to get off the ride.
I have read most of the Duchess series, and the only one I did not like was the one with Jemma and Elijah (they all have terrible names and I cannot distinguish them). I really loved the one about Harriett (that one I THINK is Duchess by Night and get this, the hero’s name is Lord Justinian Strange), but the last one is by far the best.
You really have to be able to ~*~appreciate~*~ Villiers for his book to be really good, but you can probably do that after one book. It worked for me!
HOW. EVER. If this was not sexy enough for you (and I’ve seen the kind of books you read … ), then A Duke of Her Own may be a bust either way.