Monday, February 25, 2008

Much Ado About You; Eloisa James

Written by Eloisa James and published in 2005 by Avon, this is the first of the Essex sisters grouping. The others are: Kiss Me Annabel, The Taminig of the Duke, and Pleasure for Pleasure. The cameraderie between the women in Ms. James' stories is always a pleasure to read, like icing on top of an already delicious cupcake.

Raphael Jourdain, Duke of Holbrook, is expecting four young girls as his newest wards. To say he's surprised when four young Scottish women arrive is a slight understatement. But you know, he's rich & he can afford to support them until they marry- so he copes. One of Rafe's closest friends, Lucius Felton, shows up unexpectedly for dinner the night the Essex sisters arrive. From then on he and Tess and his buddy Garret Langham vie for Tess' attentions.

Poor Tess Essex meantime, is torn between her duty to her sisters and her confused heart. As the oldest of the sisters she feels her duty is to marry well to a man wealthy enough to support her sisters until they marry. And as we all know, in circs like these, love is both unlooked for and not the most necessary characteristic. She makes what IMO was a rash decision which she regrets later (of course; don't we all?).

So Tess and Lucius and Garret muddle along. Feeling each other and the situation out until everything boils to a head (so to speak, lol). Tess and Lucius end up married on a special license on extremely short notice. You know? Quite a few romances end up with a wedding via special license. How is that, I'd like to know? But I digress. One of Tess' sisters creates a huge crisis that ends spectacularly badly- and she blames Tess. You know where good intentions lead you, right? Well, Tess isn't going there exactly, but she needs to learn that sometimes you can't be everything to everyone. Anyhow.

So all's not really that well for Tess. Except for Lucius. Who turns out to be a boon, naturally. :) I must say I've very strong feelings about Tess's siblings. Not all of which are positive either. I anticipate reading each young woman's story entirely due to Ms. James' ability to pull me into her narrative. Like many other romance readers I find Ms. James' books uniformly excellent and I am pleased to say I'Ve several more on my shelves awaiting just the right time to pull them out to savor every word.

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