An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James

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An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A cheeky and evocative romp through the lives of the eighteenth century A-listers. Good characters and authentic settings make for a good read although you might find it more satisfying if you've first read Desperate Ducheses.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: October 2008
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-0340961063

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When Perdita 'Poppy' Selby met the Duke of Fletcher, she fell in love with him immediately. Quite wonderfully, he felt the same way about her and Poppy was convinced that she would love him forever. He was attractive (some said devilishly handsome), thoughtful – and a Duke. What more could a convent-educated girl like Poppy ask for? Her mother certainly thought that she'd done quite well.

Four years later and the couple are the toast of high society but behind the glittering façade all is not well as Poppy has never really come to terms with the intimate side of married life. It's not that she refuses her husband, but rather that she suffers his attentions and that's not what Fletch wants. He wants her to enjoy making love. The split becomes inevitable when it appears that Fletch is on the verge of having an affair and Poppy moves out. Somewhat unusually, her mother moves in to 'look after' the Duke.

It's a glorious eighteenth century romp with some characters you can really get to know. Poppy's friend, Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont finds herself in a difficult social situation when her bother wounds the Duke of Villiers in a duel. Villiers had been involved in a chess match with Jemma and society was of the opinion that chess wasn't the only match they had in mind. Will Jemma be able to resume the match and will she come to terms with the fact that her husband not only had a mistress, but had once said that he loved the woman?

If you've read the first novel in this series – Desperate Duchesses – I suspect that you'll slip into this book more easily but it's certainly not impossible to read it as a stand-alone novel. It's a sexy, evocative tale which benefits from the fact that the author has more qualifications with regard to the history of the period than you can shake a stick at. Her knowledge is extensive but it's worn lightly and you're not going to find yourself in the middle of a history lesson.

If you're looking for a light, cheeky read that will have you laughing and cheering in equal measures then this could well be the book for you.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If books with an historical twist appeal to you then we can recommend Gypsy by Lesley Pearse.

Booklists.jpg An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James is in the Top Ten Books With A Christmas Theme.

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