Eloisa James does it again, another fun book with a whole new cast of characters to provide intrigue for many books to come. Gina is the duchess of Girton. She was married at the age of eleven to her childhood buddy and then he promptly fled out the bedroom window and the country without consummating the marriage. Twelve years later Gina finds herself in the position of wanting to get married for real, so she asks her husband Cam, the Duke, to return home from Greece and get their marriage annulled.
Camden Serrard, the Duke of Girton, arrives back in England hoping that his solicitor will get the annulment done quickly so that he can return to Greece and his sculptures. The solicitor thinks that Cam should stay in England to take up his responsibilities as the Duke so he convinces Cam he should at least go see his wife at this house party that she and her friends are attending. Cam hasn’t seen his wife for twelve years, so when he walks into the ballroom he looks around and sees this lovely woman that he thinks looks like she was going to eat her husband alive right on the ballroom floor. He asks his cousin who the woman is and he is told that she is his (Cam’s) wife. In twelve years she had certainly grown up, to say the least. So much for a quick annulment, he might have to get reacquainted with the Duchess.
Gina thinks she wants a normal marriage. Her present one is far from normal and none of her friends have anything close to a “normal” marriage, they are almost all living apart from their husbands. She hopes that leaving passion and love out of the equation and dealing with respect and dignity will be enough. That is what she has with Sebastian, Marquis Bonnington, her future fiancé. Reputation seems to be the most important thing to him, to the point of being a little too stiff. Getting reacquainted with Cam may change some of her opinions, they were best of friends when they were children, he pretty much still acts like a big overgrown kid, but an awfully lovable one. He’s going to be hard to resist.
Eloisa James lays the ground work in this book for more to come. All Gina’s friends need to have their own stories. She lets us have just a taste of each of them in this book, gets their stories started and then leaves us hanging. Another fun thing about this book is it is a “girl friend” book. Even in Regency times it’s great to see a group of women get together and help each other out. You know, sometimes girlfriend advice can land you in more trouble than you get into all by yourself!
Debbie Olson, December 2002
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