Four Nights with the Duke
By Eloisa James
Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, Book 2
Four Nights with the Duke is the story of Evander “Vander” Septimus Brody, the Duke of Pindar, and Miss Emilia “Mia” Carrington. Right off the bat, we see that Vander and Mia have a complicated and tumultuous history. Mia’s father and Vander’s mother had been carrying on a long sordid affaire for years that made them scandalous in the eyes of the ton, a fact which Vander bitterly resents. Making matters worse, at the start of the book, Mia essentially blackmails Vander into marrying her. One can only wonder how Mia and Vander could possibly overcome all of these obstacles and end up happily together.
Mia has been in love with Vander since she was fifteen years old. However a horrible incident left Mia completely humiliated and determined to never have anything to do with him ever again. But desperate circumstances force Mia to confront Vander and compel him to marry her, by whatever means necessary. While the idea of blackmailing someone into marriage is no doubt distasteful, Mia has a good reason. According to her brother’s will, she must be married in order to keep guardianship of her beloved nephew, Charles Wallace. I really loved Mia as a heroine, despite the inauspicious start to her and Vander’s marriage. I loved how devoted she was to Charles Wallace, her strength and determination, her willingness to accept her share of blame and responsibility for the state of her marriage, and her refusal to settle for a marriage between the sheets, no matter how irresistible she and Vander find each other. I cheered for her when she demands Vander not just lust after her, but respect and trust her too.
We first met Vander in Three Weeks with Lady X. Even then, it was obvious that Vander had some deep inner demons he was wrestling with. At first, I totally sympathized with Vander’s anger and resentment at being manipulated and blackmailed by Mia, but in true Eloisa fashion, we see how she chips away at that wall and has Vander come to see and embrace that Mia is his once in a lifetime love. His gesture to Mia at the end was heartwarming and endearing. I absolutely fell in love with him for many reasons, but especially because of how great he was with Charles Wallace.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is how Eloisa expertly weaves in elements of their history, their parents’ history , and how that affected how Mia and Vander think and act today. What I loved most about this book is that Eloisa deals with real obstacles that all couples confront, and not so over the top contrived scenarios that push a reader’s suspension of disbelief. Mia and Vander struggle with communication, trust, respect, and understanding each other. These are issues that are at the core of every relationship, and things everyone can relate to. Vander and Mia often misinterpret the other’s meanings and motives.
There are so many great secondary characters in this book. Charles Wallace definitely stole my heart, and as always, it was great to see cameos from the hero and heroines from previous novels. I loved seeing Villiers in particular, though naturally he dominated and stole every scene he was in.
I definitely recommend Four Nights with the Duke for anyone who enjoys a wonderfully written romance with complex realistic characters who will win your heart. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next from Eloisa. I have a feeling that Edward Reeves may be the hero of her next book!