An Affair Before Christmas

Written by Eloisa James
Review by Stephanie Patterson

In 1778 Paris, the Duke of Fletcher falls in love with Miss Perdita ‘Poppy’ Selby. Swept away by the charm of Parisian Christmas-time, he is looking forward to a marriage filled with passion and pleasure. Poppy, dutiful daughter to an ambitious mother, is delighted to have snared a Duke—and such a handsome man at that.

Four years later and back in England, the Fletchers find themselves estranged from each other. While Poppy devotes much of her time to charity, the Duke has gained the reputation of a dandy.

Desperate to find out where her childless marriage is heading, Poppy engages the help of her good friend Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont, whose own scandalous reputation precedes her. Equally unhappy in her marriage, Jemma begins a dangerous card game with a renowned rake. Awed by her friend’s independence, Poppy decides to teach her husband a lesson. But will he take the bait?

An Affair Before Christmas is the second novel in Ms James’s Desperate Duchesses series. It is sparkling with wit and humour, spice and intrigue. Many games are played, and the consequences are not always predictable. However, the novel lags in places. The many characters and their plots can be a touch confusing, but as the story unfolds you become desperate to discover how they might succeed.

This is the perfect read for a week of quiet nights in, with its romance and sense of adventure. Curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and allow yourself to be taken back to Georgian England.