The Duke Is Mine
James’ most recent fairytale-inspired Regency romance features a plot that reaches beyond reimagining the classic Princess and the Pea tale. The fun begins when heroine Olivia, promised to a man she cannot love, falls for Quin. The trouble is, he’s the duke she had hoped to secure as a fiancé for her proper and well-mannered sister Georgiana, who is without dowry and therefore without suitors. (“Dignity is not desirable,” her sister said.) Although James playfully draws elements of the original fairytale into her story – yes, there are mattresses and a moment of discovery that something lies beneath them – much of the story is new and pure Eloisa James wit and charm. Chapters begin with clever titles like: In Which the Merits of Virginity and Debauchery are Evaluated, and Debauchery Wins, or The Dangers of Poetry Under the Moon. Olivia is a heroine readers will adore for her intelligence and selflessness, but she is atypical in that she is a bit on the, shall we say, plump side. Quin is a hero who accepts Olivia for all that she is and doesn’t choose to be, despite society’s view of her failed “duchification.” (That is, her un-duchesslike behavior.) Historical details are few and far between. But that doesn’t stand in the way of this being a delicious romp and a romantic fantasy that succeeds in entertaining the romantically inclined reader.