Imogen, Lady Maitland, has decided to dance on the wild side. After all, she's in the delicious position of being able to take a lover: a discreet male who knows just when to leave in the morning.
But Lady Maitland is still under the watchful eye of her former guardian, the wildly untamed Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook. He believes she is still in need of a "watchdog". She laughs at the idea that someone so insufferably lazy and devoted to drink can demand that she behave with propriety.
It's Rafe's long-lost brother, a man who looks precisely like the duke but with none of his degenerate edge, who interests Imogen. To Imogen, he's the shadow duke... the man who really should hold the title. But when Imogen agrees to accompany Gabe to a masquerade - whose masked eyes watch her with that intense look of desire? Who exactly is she dancing with? The duke or the shadow duke? Rafe... or Gabe?
©2006, 2011 Eloisa James (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
"RITA Award-winning James' latest addition to her Essex sisters series is truly delectable. James' writing is graceful and witty, her plot delightfully clever, and her characterization - including the captivating Miss Gillian Pythian-Adams - is nothing less than brilliant." (Booklist
"James's considerable talents for clever prose and tight, breezy plotting are on full display, promising a perennial delight in each coming adventure of the Essex sisters." (Publishers Weekly)
This is a great story. I love romances where the hero/ine is/are flawed. This is certainly the case in this one. Somehow you respect them more for being flawed than otherwise. The hijinks they get up to come across as pretty believable and at times very amusing. Erotic without being too graphic, tender without being mushy.
The hero - Rafe, is one of the best romance heroes of all time. Honestly. I think the description is very misleading - he isn't "wild and untamed" in the usual sense. Instead he is unkempt, depressed, drunk and going to seed, but in spite of all this, he is a genuine sweetheart, and if you dig flawed heroes, you should do yourself a favor and read this book (it helps if you read the two preceding ones, "Much Ado About You" and "Kiss Me Annabel," too, since this book starts in the middle of an ongoing story).
The most interesting: Rafe and his problems. The least interesting: everything else about this book. The story was weak - I believe the author likes to include a lot of literary references, but in this case, I felt it really weakened the story. The heroine was okay, but the fundamental love story is weak here and I didn't buy any of it. Many of the secondary characters are interesting but the story was pretty lame, so they didn't really have a chance to shine.
I can see this as a movie or TV show. I don't have any opinion about the stars.
I have read two of the four books in the series and have loved them both. I especially like triumph over an addiction and anything related to Dukes so this book was particularly delicious to me. The topping to this cake is EJ’s passionate scenes. She has a gift for writing. A VERY entertaining book
I listened to it while driving, so it was not wasted time.
Like most Romance, it was predictable. I mean, if I did not want a happy ending, I would not read Romance
All her characters sounded the same, especially the female leads. Her natural voice tends have a very breathy quality and that is annoying to me.
I know there is one already.
It was not one of Eloisa James's best. I never really felt there was going to be any real obstacle in their way, so I wasn't really concerned for the outcome.
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