Duchess in Love lovingly honors Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer in a novel that took me back to much earlier Regency reading experiences. Relying on character and dialogue to move the story has become something of a scarcity in historicals set during this period. And that's just what James does so well in her newest effort. She successfully intertwines the stories of multiple characters with wit and intelligence as they interact and intersect at a house party. There's nary a villainous villain in this one. Central to the story are three wives who, because of their various circumstances, are at loose ends and have every intention of doing something about it. They are Ambrogina (Gina), Duchess of Girton, Esme Rawlings, and Carola, Lady Perwinkle. Central to these central characters is Gina's story. While still a young teen, Gina was married to Camden Serrard in an arrangement made by their parents. Before the ink was dry, Cam took off to pursue his art in Greece. Because his battles with his father left him emotionally scarred and he knows he'd never be a good husband for Gina, Cam has had no qualms about how he left things. It's not as if Gina ever had any more desire to be married to him than he to her (at least that's what he's always thought). In fact they have remained friends via correspondence and Cam has only recently returned to England to grant Gina the annulment she wants. Gina has plans to marry the very proper Earl of Bonnington and can't do so until she gets the annulment.
Buy it at Amazon
Grade: B+Check Review