This week’s BotW is the new novel from Eloisa James – who is one of my favourite historical romance authors. Four Nights with the Duke is book 8 in her Desperate Duchesses series. My first Eloisa book was Desperate Duchesses 3 – Duchess by Night – which I stumbled across at the library back when I still lived in Essex (so 5+ years ago) and when she returned to the series to add a 7th book last year I was thrilled. Although I’m still really annoyed that we only got a UK paperback release of books 1 – 4 – I had to buy 5 and 6 from the US to read them as they weren’t on Kindle at that point – and then the paperbacks started again with 7. And of course none of them match…
Four Nights with the Duke is the second story in the second generation of the Duchesses – which appears to be subtitled “Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers”. Four Nights tells the story of Mia and Vander. Mia needs to get married (no, not because of that) and the only person she can turn to is a man she swore that she would never marry (and he was there when she did the swearing). Vander definitely doesn’t want to marry Mia – after all her father was his mother’s mistress and he’s still Very Angry* about that. But Mia has a rather incriminating piece of paper that means that he’s going to have to do it, or lose everything. So he offers her a deal – he’ll marry her, but he’ll only spend 4 nights a year with her (if you know what I mean) and she’s going to have to beg him for them…
Now that sort of set up is totally my sort of thing** – this is a plot device that totally floats my boat – the spouses at war/married because we had to trope is one of my favourites – right up there with fake engagements and you’ve been like a sibling to me until…x. Not an accidental pregnancy in sight (yay!). Add to that the fact that Mia has an alter ego as a romance novelist and I’m in historical romance heaven. And Eloisa James is such a safe pair of hands. There’s never an anachronism that I can spot, or a jarring word (except when I’ve got the American editions with the Wrong Spelling) or something that seems just too improbable – even for romance.
I read this practically in one big gulp on Easter Sunday – pausing only (with less than 50 pages remaining) to go to the big family meal at my auntie’s in the evening – and if I could have put off leaving to finish it, I would have done. The only problem with that is that I’ve now got to wait a year until there’s another one, and I think I’ve practically read the whole of the Eloisa James back catalogue now – as evidenced by the Kindle folder and the romance folder…
Having read some Historical Romance recently that I was less than crazy about – and a couple of books that weren’t as good as I was hoping they would be as well, I was really pleased that this totally lived up to the hype that I had given it in my head. It’s not my favourite in the series (a toss up between a Duke of Her Own and Duchess by Night) but it’s still really, really good. If you’re not a historical romance reader – and want to see what the genre is all about, Eloisa James along with Julia Quinn and Sarah MacLean are the authors I recommend as starting points (they’re also the authors that keep hold of after I’ve read them – as you can tell from the romance shelf).
You can get your copy of Four Nights with the Duke from all the usual sources – it’s got a paperback release – so Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles are all stocking it – and you never know, it might even make it into WH Smiths and the supermarkets too. And obviously, like me, you can buy it for Kindle or ebook.
And in the interests of full disclosure, I bought my copy of Four Nights – but I am in Eloisa’s fan outreach-y group on Facebook. But I’m posting this because I loved the book – not because they told me to.
* Sorry, I was watching Pretty Woman over the weekend – and writing that sentence made me think of this quote: “I was very angry with him. It cost me ten thousand dollars in therapy to say that sentence: “I was very angry him.” I do it very well, don’t I? I’ll say it again: I was very angry with him. “Hello, my name is Mr. Lewis, I am very angry with my father.” Although obviously Vander is angry with his mother and Mia’s Father, not his father. But still. It’s a good line.
** The Smart Bitches would call it my catnip. I’m not sure whether I can pull off calling something my catnip. I think I might be too British/dull/self conscious.
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