My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/reviews/RRs/May09RR/thisduchessofmine.EJ.html
As a newlywed, Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont, had her heart broken when she discovered her husband had a mistress. Having fled to France, Jemma set herself up as the fashionable, scandalous duchess everyone now talks about. But when her husband, Elijah, collapses in the House of Lords, Jemma returns to England. The duke and duchess may need to create an heir, but what each truly desires is for the other to give them their heart. With time seeming to slip away, Jemma and Elijah are locked head to head in a match worthy of the two consummate chess players they are. And the prize is a love that could last beyond a lifetime.
Eloisa James has done it again! This Duchess of Mine is a wonderfully romantic, engaging tale that was a pure joy to read. I will admit, Jemma and Elijah are the reason I fell in love with the Desperate Duchesses series, and I have been eagerly awaiting their story. Happily, I can say that This Duchess of Mine was well worth the wait. I loved Jemma. She’s intelligent and witty and, for the most part, full of self confidence, but Elijah brings out the vulnerability in her. Elijah, in turn, has become one of if not my absolute favorite hero of Ms. James’s to date. He’s sensual and so very giving, wanting both to make a difference in the world and to take time to spend with his wife. One of the things I loved most about This Duchess of Mine is that, for all their good qualities, neither Jemma nor Elijah are perfect. Each has made huge mistakes in the past and must work to forgive each other and overcome past hurts. This humanizes them, and endears both characters to me even further.
Aside from the love story, the major driving point of the plot is Elijah’s heart condition. I won’t give away any spoilers, but suffice it to say that Ms. James definitely had me on the edge of my seat, unable to put This Duchess of Mine down for fear that something would happen to Elijah should I put the book down even for a moment. The threat of love being lost just as it was truly being found makes for some poignant moments in the tale and I could feel my own heart break for Jemma and Elijah. That being said, the worry I felt for them also made the ending that much more satisfying.
This Duchess of Mine is everything I’ve come to expect from the talented Ms. James. It’s an utterly enchanting book with characters that have won my heart. I must also admit, I find myself hoping Ms. James decides to write stories for at least some of the children of the Desperate Duchesses couples, as she intrigued me greatly in the epilogue. For now, I shall curl up again with This Duchess Mine and enjoy reading Jemma and Elijah’s tale once more as I eagerly await the Duke of Villiers’s story, A Duke of Her Own.