Format Read: Print
Number of Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: March 25th 2008
Publisher: Pocket Star
Formats Available: Ebooks, Paperback
Purchasing Info:Good Reads, Author Website, Amazon, Book Depository
In a debut romance as passionate and sweeping as the British Empire, Meredith Duran paints a powerful picture of an aristocrat torn between two worlds, an heiress who dares to risk everything…and the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them.
From exotic sandstone palaces…
Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé’s betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.
To the marble halls of London…In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous — and that a single decision can alter one’s life forever.Destiny follows wherever you run. A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned…and some passions never die.
The Duke of Shadows is the second book I read from this author and I wasn’t disappointed. Meredith Duran gives us a beautiful romance filled with action and mystery and laced with historical events all of this set in an exotic country.
The book is divided in two parts, the 1st part is set in India in 1857 and the 2nd part in London 4 years later. Most of the Historical romances I read takes place in England, but this was a welcomed change. I’m not sure I would have appreciated this book as much if I hadn’t studied a little bit the British Raj history in college, I loved connecting the events in the book to what I learned of India and colonialism at that time (in other words, I hate feeling lost reading about Historical events I have no knowledge about!)
The first part of the book, set in India, starts with a terrible event, Emmaline left England to get married to a British Colonel positioned in India but she loses her parents in the shipwreck of her boat. She’s an heiress and her parents arranged the marriage years ago, there’s no love involved in this marriage arrangement . We realize that Emmaline is not ‘fit’ for society, she says what she think and she’s more intelligent than men would want her to be. Colonel Lindley is in need of money and we soon learn that he is ashamed of Emma’s behavior, he only wants to marry her for her money. We meet Emmaline at her engagement party housed by one of Colonel Lindley’s mistresses, Emma knows all about his infidelities but she knows a good wife should pretend everything was normal. At this party she meets Julian Sinclair, the infamous Duke of Auburn…Julian is a ‘mixed blood’, he’s part Indian and the British society cannot accept that, he’s considered ‘one of them’ by the British but also by the Indians, he doesn’t fit in completely, he’s part of both worlds. Julian tries to warn the British that a rebellion is bound to happen, but he’s not taken seriously.
History takes an important part in the story, tensions between the ‘natives’ and the British leads to the dramatic Mutiny of 1857, when ‘native’ troops rebelled and started killing all the British. Emmaline finds help in Julian as they try to flee the battle fields, but nothing goes as planned…I can’t tell more without spoiling the book, so I will just say that this is was an intense journey. There’s a lot of tension and you never know who to trust or what will happen, it leaves you on the edge of your seat. Lots of blood, death, violence and treason. This part of the book was amazing, I loved discovering India with Emma. I couldn’t stop reading it. Many things happened in few pages.
The 2nd part of the book takes place 4 years later in London. Julian and Emma were separated during the Mutiny, they went their own way and we meet them again this time in London. I didn’t like this part of the book as much. Emma is still scarred from what happened, she still has nightmares of blood and violence and she uses painting as an outlet to express her misery, Julian is not faring much better, they are both still haunted by these events. They meet again and there’s incomprehension…it felt like they didn’t understand one another. I liked the fact that there’s something going on apart from the romance. Emma did something she is ashamed of and the consequences could be fatal for her, but after 4 years her secret is in danger of being revealed.
This is a difficult book to review, I’m not sure I can explain what I felt while reading this book. The first part was intense but there was a lot of action it felt like it was going somewhere. The second part though was full of angst and I found it depressing, the relationship between the main characters was nearly painful. I like that fact that there was a mystery to unravel though.
What I liked:
- Julian…I loved the fact that he is part of both world, that he is a ‘mixed blood’. He’s sexy and dark. If I had to describe him in 3 words it would be ‘Nom nom nom’ *wink*
- The setting: India. It felt as if I was there, I loved reading about the beauty of this exotic location.
What I didn’t like:
- The fact that it took 4 years for them to meet again (I hate the ‘4 years later…’ it rubs me in the wrong way. It’s the same for any book, It’s never a good omen). It did not feel realistic, I know it was explained why they didn’t meet before but I still felt that it was a weak excuse.
- The angst in the second part and the fact that the characters are traumatized. I felt depressed and that’s not what I needed right now. (but again that’s just me it could suit other readers)
All in all, I really enjoyed reading The Duke of Shadows even if I wasn’t thrilled by the second part it was still a very good book, and I will keep on reading Meredith Duran’s work. You are sure to travel to the best places when reading her books. You can’t afford vacations? Well grab her books and be transported to exotic countries (you don’t even have to get shots!! lol)
I give this book 4 Bookies.
I bought this book myself
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