Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review - - My American Duchess

My American Duchess
By Eloisa James
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 26, 2016








Miss Merry Pelford has the unfortunate habit of falling in love. Repeatedly. With the wrong men. Though perhaps it's more accurate to say Merry has a habit of falling in love with love. After breaking two engagements and being sued for breach of promise by the second fiance, Merry's name is on the lips of every gossip in Boston and her matrimonial prospects are slim. Her guardians, her beloved aunt and uncle, have brought her to London - far from wagging tongues - to find a husband. Merry hopes to find a man who wants her for herself, not her fortune, and believes she's found him in the bright and shiny Lord Cedric Allardyce, younger twin of the Duke of Trent.

The Duke of Trent is captivated by the delightful American miss he encounters on a deserted balcony and by the end of their conversation has decided that he has finally met the woman who will become his duchess. And then he discovers she's already engaged. To his brother. Honorable to his core, he steps aside when Merry tells him she's in love with Cedric though the more he's around the couple the less he believes that's the case. And, try as he might, he just can't bring himself to view her as a sister. The desire is too strong, growing by the day and if he isn't mistaken, reciprocated by Merry.

The very night she becomes engaged for the third time, Merry encounters a man to whom she is immediately drawn. It's only later that she discovers he's the Duke of Trent, the man destined to become her brother-in-law. The more time she spends in his company, the more she likes him while her fiance becomes less appealing with each encounter. While one man appreciates her as she is, the other constantly tries to "improve" her by changing her dress, her hair, her speech and by stifling her natural enthusiasm and American ways. Merry can see the light at the end of the tunnel and knows it's a third broken engagement bearing down upon her but then Ms. James throws in a twist...and another...taking the story in a completely unexpected direction. And that's only half-way through the book!

Eloisa James is one of my favorite authors. She has her own keeper shelf in my library yet even within those keepers there are a few books that rise to the top. My American Duchess is one of the risers. It is Eloisa James at her best. After reading the book (the first time) I tried to think of a word to describe my emotions. That word is joy. This story - these characters - filled me with so much joy. Okay, not Cedric. Definitely no joy there though the book's epilogue leads me to believe there may be hope for him down the road. But Trent and Merry? Oh, yes! Let me count the ways. I love the humor (traditional, smitten English duke vs outspoken, effervescent American miss), their intelligence, kindness, passion. Definitely their passion! I want to be their friend. I want to spend a few weeks at their estate, digging in the garden dirt with Merry and playing with George, their adorable puppy. I want to give Trent hugs because with his childhood he deserves all the hugs he can get. I love that both Trent and Merry bring something to their relationship that the other needs and that, together, they are whole. But I also appreciate that it takes them time to realize this. They both have past baggage to unload and choppy waters to navigate and Ms. James steers them through with supreme skill and realism. Their happiness is hard won and all the more satisfying because of it. I have complete confidence that 40 years from now, they will still be deeply in love and slipping away to the estate greenhouse to indulge in a little "afternoon delight."

If you're an Eloisa James fan, you'll want to add My American Duchess to your keeper shelf. If you haven't yet read her books, this standalone is the perfect place to start. It has my highest recommendation. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll pay a visit to Merry and Trent. For the third time.

~PJ


Have you read any Eloisa James books?

What's your favorite?

Do you enjoy "fish out of water" stories? Merry - our American heroine - certainly isn't swimming in the same pond with English misses - something deeply appreciated by her hero!

Have you read My American Duchess yet? What did you think?

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a print copy of My American Duchess
(U.S. / Canadian addresses only)



38 comments:

  1. Not as yet, but I am certainly looking forward to reading it.

    Yes, I like "fish out of water" stories. I'm currently reading an ARC of "How to Capture a Duke" by Bianca Blythe. The heroine fits this description perfectly.

    I would say that "The Ugly Duchess" is an Eloisa James novel that I truly enjoyed reading.

    Congratulations, Eloisa James, on the publication of your long-awaited novel!

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    1. I love fish out of water stories too, Connie. I haven't read Bianca Blythe. Will have to check that one out.

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  2. Thanks for the great review! I am so looking forward to reading this! I have 2 favorites so far - A Kiss at Midnight and When the Duke Returns.

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  3. Eloisa's novels are captivating and very special. I do enjoy "fish out of water" stories since they are fascinating and true. I haven't read My American Duchess but I know that it would be memorable. When Beauty Tamed the Beast was wonderful.

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    1. When Beauty Tamed the Beast was a great read!

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  4. My favorite Eloisa's book is The Taming of the Duke. I like "fish out of water" stories very much. My American Duchess would be greatly enjoyed. Thanks for this lovely feature.

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    1. I adored Rafe but I can't stand Imogen. The Taming of the Duke is a good book but I was never able to buy into their happy ending because I just didn't think she deserved him.

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  5. Yes! Fish out of water, true! I adored Merry. She was not overdone or became tedious. The writing was sublime, delicious. One of my favorites and one that I was surprised how much it appealed. I was unsure if I would be this enthralled with the storyline. A bit hesitant but I know Eloisa writes superbly and frankly , deep satisfying characters. She, once again, did just that. I adored this book and you are right, so much happened and the twists were unexpected . Hmmm I am hard pressed to name any one novel of hers to equal this because so many of Eloisas works are soooo good!

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    1. I adored her too, Hope. I want to dig in the dirt with her and be her bestie! :)

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  6. This book sounds very good. I have read a couple of Eloisa's books. They were good, but for some reason, I haven't read any of her latest ones.

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  7. Great review, PJ! I loved My American Duchess. In fact, I just named it my best of January read for another site. If I'm wearing my critic/reviewer's cap, I'll choose Three Weeks with Lady X as my favorite EJ book because I think it is her best book. But if I'm wearing my romance reader/fangirl cap. Pleasure for Pleasure will always be my favorite because I am so heavily invested with the characters. I'm so excited that we are going to get another look at Josie and Mayne in upcoming stories!

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    1. Gotta agree--my PFP pick is for my fangirl invested in the characters, but I do agree that I think Lady X was her BEST book to date.

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    2. I agree with Three Weeks with Lady X as her best work, Janga. So much love for that book!

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  8. They better deliver my copy of the book today...or there will be PROBLEMS. *LOL*

    I love fish out of water--I love writing them and I love reading them. But my favorite Eloisa novel is STILL Pleasure for Pleasure. After all this time. Always. *LOL* The only thing I like better than a fish out of water is a plump heroine who turns into a beautiful swan. ;)

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    1. Hellie, I sure hope you got the book today!

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  9. I have read the fairy tale novels and most of Eloisa James' other books. When Beauty Tamed the Beast has been my favorite so far. My American Duchess is on my TBR list which is getting crazy big already this year! I have read several books where an American heiress is in England in search of a husband, not that I can remember any titles right now! They make a good "fish out of water" story and I look forward to this one.

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    1. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did, Laura!

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  10. Three Weeks with Lady X and her fairy tale romances have been my favorites. This new book sounds like another delightful book!

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    1. I loved those books too, Cheryl. Hope you enjoy My American Duchess!

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  11. I loved her "Duchess" books. I've put this one on my "wish list".

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  12. I have read The Ugly Duchess--to be honest the long separation between the hero and heroine bothered me. I'm willing to give her another try though:)

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    1. I enjoyed The Ugly Duchess though a lot of readers agree with you on the long separation, jcp. No long separations in My American Duchess!

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  13. haven't read this one yet, but I've enjoyed every Eloisa book I've read so far!
    Fish out of water stories are a lot of fun - especially if 'the fish' ends up teaching something to the other folks!

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    1. Ah yes, there are many lessons taught in this one, Di. ;-)

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  14. Oh, yes, I read it and about to read it again, very soon. What do I think? Hmmm... You know, I've found myself saying this quite often of late every time I read EJ's new book, "OH, this one IS my NEW favourite!" And then EJ would just go and wrote a another new book that I would have to change and update my "Favourite book" list! ((sigh)) And that is exactly what's just happened with "My American Duchess," has become my latest new fave.
    I just love Merry, what can I say? She's my kind of heroine, not the part about her falling in love with love so easily like you said, but she's young, I think I can forgive her that whether it's a young maiden of 18-19 centuries, or of 21st century, but she did learn from her mistakes in this lesson of falling in love business, three a charm, as they say. The fact that she is smart, intelligent and not afraid to speak her mind, and stump the English snobs with her penchant of stick it to them (American style) with,"Do you know........?" factoids, it's quite funny, really. She won my allegiance with her unique personality bec I like heroine that has brain and brave, add some spices to her character also. I could see why she felt like "fish out of water" among the English tons, but she's a different kind of fish, maybe a vibrant and smart dolphin suffocating among a bunch of dull tunas?

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    1. she's a different kind of fish, maybe a vibrant and smart dolphin suffocating among a bunch of dull tunas?

      ROFL! Love this!

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    2. But it rings true, doesn't it? Dolphins are often found swimming among tunas, but they're hardly the same. Maybe not the best analogy, but since we're talking about "fish".... so, there. :D :P

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  15. If I enjoy an author as I do Eloisa James, there is just no way I could pick a favorite. I love variety and fish out of water is just one kind of story that I would enjoy. I haven't read her newest book as yet but hope to!

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  16. This one is high on my TBR list. I really enjoy Eloisa's books and this one sounds great. When Beauty Tamed the Beast and Three Weeks with Lady X are my favorites. Thanks for the post and giveaway.

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    1. It's in my top EJ favorites, LSUReader. Hope you enjoy it!

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  17. Unfortunately I haven't read any of Ms. James' books. But I really want too!! I love "fish out of water" stories. I like seeing the evolution of the characters in their new environments. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh my gosh, erin! You have so much wonderful reading ahead of you!

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  18. Great review, PJ. I can't wait to read it. I do like fish out of water stories, especially when "the fish", per se, endears him or herself to their partner. Sounds like this book fits the bill.

    My favorite EJ book would be a tie between Pleasure for Pleasure and This Duchess of Mine. Both for probably the same reason. LOL They were both the culmination of stories I had been waiting for through the entire series - Josie & Mayne, and Jemma & Elijah.

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  19. I have never read one of hers. Thanks for the chance.
    ladbookfan

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