Wednesday, December 12, 2012

(Review) An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James

Title: An Affair Before Christmas
Author: Eloisa James
Series: Desperate Duchesses #2
Published: November 13, 2007 (Avon)
Rating: Staying in Tonight
Format: Audiobook & ebook, both from library
Summary: One spectacular Christmas, Lady Perdita Selby, known to her friends and family as Poppy, met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was the perfect match for the innocent, breathtakingly beautiful young Englishwoman, and theirs was the most romantic wedding she had ever seen. Four years later, Poppy and the duke have become the toast of the ton... but behind closed doors the spark of their love affair has burned out.

Unwilling to lose the woman he still lusts after, the duke is determined to win back his beguiling bride's delectable affections...and surpass the heady days of first love with a truly sinful seduction.

In all honesty, I picked up this book purely because I knew the Christmas feature was coming up, and I needed to read more Christmas books for it. I was not particularly drawn in by the summary, but I love Eloisa James, so I went ahead and started it. Little did I know what awaited me!

I love reviewing audiobooks. Since I listen to them while doing something (usually driving) during which I can't write, I leave voice messages for myself with my long, rambly, often incoherent thoughts of flailage or anger. Listening to those before I write my review is freaking hilarious. One day I'll transcribe myself or upload it (except not because then you would probably be frightened away by the crazy).

Let me tell you, this book? Caused me to leave some insane comments. At one point, I swear, I was talking like Lorelai Gilmore on speed. I loved so much about this story! Probably my favorite thing is how it flips so many historical romance norms. For instance, the book starts with the couple in love. How often does that happen? However, they were both young and rash, and you know that they really should not have gotten married at that point in their lives. Obviously, the marriage does not work the way either party planned, and the real story starts 4 years after the wedding.

The problem lies in the fact that while 4 years have passed, neither Poppy or Fletch have really developed. They are both still young, and they are stuck trying to fill these roles they do not really know how to fill. They are both still a little immature, and Poppy, especially, is very naïve. Thus, they are unhappy and resentful. Perhaps this does not make for the most likable characters for the first half or more of the book, but I like it because it is real. I could really see that happening for a couple of the time period, and I wanted desperately to know how they were going to solve it.

During the story, I loved watching each of the characters grow individually before they were truly able to address their relationship. Poppy especially had a lot of self-discovery to achieve and a backbone to grow. This book read almost like a new adult novel, but a historical one, and I really liked that about it.

One other thing I loved about the book was how the main story and the side stories intertwined. It reminded me how much I absolutely adore Elijah and Jemma (especially Elijah ♥), as well as how I need to give the book about Villiers another try. I actually got extremely invested in all three(ish) side plots, and I thought James achieved a really great balance between the main and side stories. They were there enough to be intriguing, but mostly, they were not there enough to take away from the main story.

Overall, An Affair Before Christmas is a great read. If you are looking for a realistic, beautiful romance with side characters who are sure to make you want to read the rest of the books in the series, I would absolutely recommend it.

It’s not manly to be so perfect in every way.

There was no point in letting one’s husband think he was interesting; it would only end in disaster.

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