Refreshing Romance Novel: A Review of Eloisa James' "The Duke is Mine"
As a reader, I tend to stick to what I know. I find an author that I like and I read almost every book that author has written. When I finally discovered Eloisa James, I was pleasantly surprised to find her books, while very easy to read, extremely enjoyable. All of her books are inspired by either fairy tales or current events. For example in The Duke is Mine, she creates a minor character named Lord Justin Fiebvre who likes to sing, inspired by Justin Bieber.
The Duke is Mine, as James reports in her Historical Note at the end of the novel, is primarily inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea. For those of you that may not know, The Princess and the Pea, is a story about a prince who cannot find a true princess. After he has come home, depressed, and thinking there are no more true princesses out there, a girl comes knocking on the castle door on a dark and stormy night. The queen puts her to the test by putting a pea in her bed under twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds and in the morning the girl claims that she could not sleep a wink and that she is black and blue all over because of something hard being in her bed. The princess’s sensitivity leads the prince and his parents to believe that she is, indeed a true princess and they marry.
When I started reading the book, I was a little confused as to who the main female character was. It starts out with Olivia and Georgiana, twin sisters born in a merchant family, both training to become duchesses, though only Olivia is actually betrothed to the heir to a dukedom. When Georgiana is invited to the Duke of Sconce or Quin’s home (to be tested by his mother the Dowager Duchess), Olivia is only too happy to support her sister. At this point in the novel, I thought, “This could go two ways, either Georgiana and the Duke are perfect for each other and they eventually fall in love and Olivia will meet another man and fall in love with him, or Olivia and the Duke will fall in love and Georgiana will fall in love with someone else.” I knew that there was no way James would let either of the girls end up in a loveless marriage so it could only be one of those two options. It was refreshing to not have a clear idea of what exactly was going to happen.
Olivia, herself, is refreshing as a Romance novel heroine. She’s described as curvy and sensual throughout the entire novel and she, realistically, dislikes her body … until she sees how much Quin loves it. She also has an improper sense of humor that is not suited for a woman who is supposed to become a duchess but makes her all the more desirable.
Quin is also a refreshing character. As the hero, he is actually rather anti-social and awkward and has a white streak in his black hair. I like that James isn’t afraid to having a less-than-god-like hero in her novels, though he is described as having rock hard muscles, but that’s something I can live with.
In the end, as with almost all Romance novels, the hero and the heroine end up together happily ever after and all is well in the world. James likes to end her novels with epilogues, which I enjoy because I always wonder how the couple will be doing years down the road and it gives me a better sense of completion than those novels without epilogues.
To everyone who enjoys any kind of Romance novel, I definitely recommend Eloisa James. She has something for everyone in all of her novels.