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The Duke of Shadows - Meredith Duran Thoughts:

The majority of this book takes place in India and then the rest in London. After reading the authors site apparently regency romances usually don't take place in beautiful India. British influence in India is not a part in history I've really pondered, so it was absolute fun that this book takes place in such an occasion in history. Though the events may not have been much fun for our characters.

The lovely Emmaline Martin survives her voyage to India after her ship sinks and she is the only surviver. Some fisherman save her and deliver her safely. On arrival the British Indian society constantly nag and rub in her questionable virtue, as if the fact that she survived such an ordeal was shameful. After surviving this Emma doesn't want to waist her life listening to the ton, worrying about her what society thinks, she's a surviver. Her eyes are now open and she doesn't want to go back. She's confronting her long time cheating fiancée and is taking her life back. Dipping into a little free will. Emma is a well educated woman and she's not going to hide it. Now the daring Emma is falling for the mysterious Sinclair, who is part British and native—the forbidden hot stuff. A revolution is happening in India, British power is being questioned. Soon Emma will be in the middle of it, a refugee in a strange land.

Emma was a fantastic character. After her life and death experience she's not ready to conform to the trivial confinements of society. I love how she's testing the water, breaking out of the confines of being a woman in her time. Emma is sensible, thinks things through, and just doesn't allow things to sweep her of her feet in the heat of a moment. (Namely our sizzling Duke!) After the scarring experiences she went through to escape from India to get back to Britain, I was a little restless with her new self. She was a little off, no longer my smart and sassy Lady. Sadly, she sunk back a little into her role in Society. Even when she displays controversial paintings of what she witnessed in India. She's scared, which is understandable. Of course with the help of the Duke, she'll snap out of it!

Julian Sincliar, the Duke of Auburn, is a very interesting male lead. He's a man who belongs to both British and Indian society, but both do not want to acknowledge him. British society has made him out to be a rake, everyone knows his scandalous exploits. As we get to know Julian, most of the rumors seem to come with the package of being mixed breeding. Julian ends up being a pretty deep guy. He doesn't hate either societies for hating him, but tries to help preserve both. Which is just a bonus to the tall, dark, and handsome thing he's got going on.

In the case of plot, I'm not sure what I was expecting. It's a romance. Deep down I think I was expecting the usual, maybe a good plot and lots of sex scenes. Instead there are about two sex scenes and then a lot of plot. The sexual tension slowly builds as the attraction comes a long for our couple. I'm wondering if the plot in this book is really out going for the genre? (As this is my first title for Historical Romance.) There was a devious fiancée, a revolution in a foreign country, assassination attempts, and dirty war far. Lots of soap opera drama for our couple, Julian thinks Emma died in India and Emma thinks Julian didn't mean a word and dropped her flat after he got what he wanted.

The writing was awesome! I felt like I was in that era, the writing never felt like I was reading 20th century style trying to pull of regency. It all felt authentic, including the dialogue. I am now officially a fan of the wit of regency books. Insults are so elegant. It's like the French guy from the matrix says, “It's like wiping your bottom with silk.” Though not quite in those words.

Bottom Line:

I loved this book, regency is something I'm coming back to visit. For a first time reader of this genre I think this is a great place to start, I might even venture to say that some long time readers will like it. The plot really shocked me, as I came into this genre thinking that the plot might accompany the sex scenes. This book is rich in everything that a reader is looking for. The dark chocolate of the book world—the kind of dark chocolate you hide under your bed and savor it bit by bit! Plus Julian has got to be one of the hottest, well fleshed out guys (oh, yes pun intended), I've read that doesn't have fur or fangs. This couple didn't need to convince me that they were in love, the author does it all beautifully.

Sexual Content:

Two scenes, which are pretty mild.

5/5 – Ah, this is Heaven! Skipping this book is not an option.