Title: The Duke Is Mine
Author: Eloisa James
Published: December 2011 (Avon)
Format: Physical copy from library
Summary: Tarquin, the powerful Duke of Sconce, knows perfectly well that the decorous and fashionably slender Georgiana Lytton will make him a proper duchess. So why can't he stop thinking about her twin sister, the curvy, headstrong, and altogether unconventional Olivia? Not only is Olivia betrothed to another man, but their improper, albeit intoxicating, flirtation makes her unsuitability all the more clear. Determined to make a perfect match, he methodically cuts Olivia from his thoughts, allowing logic and duty to triumph over passion...until Quin begins to question whether perfection has anything to do with love. To win Olivia's hand he would have to give up all the beliefs he holds most dear, and surrender heart, body and soul...unless it's already too late.
My Review: Eloisa James is one of my favorite historical romance authors, and she has done a series of stories with fairytale elements. The Duke Is Mine is, as you can probably tell from the cover, a story with a strong influence from the fairytale The Princess and the Pea. I wasn't particularly excited about this idea, because I've always found that to be a ridiculously stupid story. It's never made sense to me. But I adore James, and the summary of the book caught my interest immediately, so I read it anyway.
There were several things I enjoyed about this book. My favorite element was the witty tone and wonderfully snarky banter that made an appearance at times. I also really loved that both the hero and the heroine had what might be considered physical flaws. Olivia was curvy, and Tarquin had a thick white streak in his hair. Such a unique touch! I hadn't read another book where this was the case, but I liked it. It was a way to make the hero less than perfect physically without giving him actual disfigurement or horrible looks or something. I liked how both of these played into the story as well, particularly Olivia's weight.
Olivia was awesome, hands-down. Her sense of humor was hilarious and very similar to mine, so I appreciated reading from her perspective. The aforementioned snark predominantly played out there. She had traits that could have been annoying, if over the top, but she balanced them well. It was also interesting and touching to read about her relationship with her sister. I also really liked Tarquin, with all his logic and reason and poems to nonexistent women.
Overall, the romance was great. There was some drama toward the end that was a little boring and predictable, but it was necessary for the story. There were also surprising elements such as the ability to make me tear up a couple times, and I snorted with laughter on more than one occasion. So, although there were some weak elements, The Duke Is Mine was a highly enjoyable romance with a great take on the fairytale twist.
❝That way no one will think that we spent the night doing wicked things in a tree, which I’m sure is what would come to mind if we appeared together. I often assume people are cavorting in trees.❞
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