Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

The Duke of Shadows
From the Back Cover:

From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiance's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous - and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

My review:

Part One of this book is utter perfection. Not a word out of place; two wonderfully original, compelling characters; an exotic yet deadly locale where unrest and uncertainty lurk in the shadows; and a grand adventure that finds our lovers fleeing for their lives through the desert seeking only to survive but finding so much more.

Part Two takes place in London, oceans away in terms of both time and place. Here the story lapses into more standard Regency romance form and I found myself becoming annoyed with the characters' actions, (though they would not have been out of place in any other romance), and the magic was dimmed a bit for me.

Even with my disappointment that the second half did not live up to the standards set in the first half, I still thoroughly enjoyed this story, finding myself on the edge of my seat and unable to put it down, and several weeks after finishing it, I still think about it and pick it up to reread certain passages. An excellent plot featuring star-crossed lovers alternating against a backdrop of war and savagery and the ignorant opulence of high society. The best historical romance I've read this year.

Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars


  1. Your review mirrors many of my own reactions. This was a novel I loved in spite of any problems I had, largely due to the splendid first half. I hope Duran will return to India in some of her future work. We have enough London drawing room Victorians & Regencies. Her latest, although set in France, a location I particularly favour, did not engage me emotionally the way TDOS did. Her prose and characterisations, though, were, as always, captivating.

  2. I had put off reading this book for ages, but when I finally read it, I was really pleased with it. The stronger section of the book was definitely the part set in India.

    One of these days I will read more from Duran.

  3. great review! i'm glad you liked this one!! I looooveed the scene where they were reunited. wow!

  4. Hi just stopping by to say you have a blog award on my site. Come check it out.

  5. This book has been on my TBR list but alas, I still haven't got the chance to read it >,< Hope I could find the time to read it ASAP! Awesome review, Jenny!


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