Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Christmas with the Duchess-Tamara Lejeune

Christmas with the Duchess
Tamara Lejeune
Zebra, Oct 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420108736

Duchess Emma Grey Fitzroy is a widow with two young kids. She loathes the uninvited annual invasion by her late husband Henry’s family, but there is little she can do to prevent the Fitzroy clan coming for Christmas. Emma especially fears Henry’s odious Uncle Hugh, who uses his nephews as a means of controlling the Duchess.

Fuming at Hugh’s highhandedness, Emma seduces the nephew of her enemy’s wife. An Earl and naval officer, naive Nicholas St. Austell falls in love with the older Emma, but soon learns of her duplicitous using him to get back at his uncle in name only. Nicholas soon marries one of his five female cousins though he has problems delineating any of them from the pack.

A year later, Nicholas pleads with Emma to mentor him on becoming a better lover as he is losing the interest of his spouse. He quickly realizes he still loves the Duchess, but this time, Emma realizes she reciprocates. With no hope beyond an affair as she vows to never marry again and he refuses to file for divorce, love is not enough for this seemingly star-crossed pair.

With a seemingly zillion subplots that include many descendents from the three interrelated families, Tamara Lejeune provides readers with a complicated regency romance that somehow mostly focuses on the relationship between Emma and Nicholas. The support cast is solid in spite of the many players and even the five daughters of Hugh have differing personalities. Readers will enjoy spending the holidays with the Grey, Fitzroy and St. Austell clans.

Harriet Klausner

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