Four Nights with the Duke
By: Eloisa James
Published date: March 31, 2015
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
How hot is it: 4 out of 5
Hero: Vander, Duke of Pindar
Heroine: Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington
We all know that Eloisa James elevates the genre of romance, and it’s not just because she’s a professor of Shakespeare, though I imagine that type of respect for detail and verse is a large part of it. To me, what sets her apart from other Regencies is the big picture. Her novels are so complete in a way not many are, emotionally complete, logically complete, and characteristically complete. There are no loose ends to clear up, no actions or decisions by characters that seem wrong or silly. The characters themselves are drawn so wonderfully and richly that it takes me twice as long to read her books because I literally want to savor the words and the world they create. I want to hold on to those moments, to be with those people for longer than is probably reasonable because what she creates is so special.
The main character of this novel is a romance author, so I imagine James had fun writing this one. The chapters started with small plot notes from Mia’s (short for Emilia) book, and were cute and also stayed somewhat relevant to the story. I really hate when people stick long passages before stories that have nothing really to do with the story, even metaphorically. Anyway, the story begins with Vander finding a poem that Mia wrote about him. And it’s bad. Like super bad. Like moonbeams and pearls for eyes bad. In any case, Vander laughs it off, and hurts Mia’s feelings and that portion of the story ends with ultimate mortification for Mia. Fast forward a decade or so later, and Mia has rescued her deceased brother’s son, Charlie, from being drowned at birth because he has a lame foot. And here’s the part I didn’t quite pay so much attention to, but there’s part of some will or contract that stipulates that Mia must be married by a certain date to take Charlie or else Charlie and his lordly estate will be in the care of his very evil and ridiculously litigious uncle.
Soooo, then Mia’s affianced just leaves her at the altar, so she blackmails Vander into marrying her by showing him a treasonous letter his father wrote. Some quick side info, Mia’s father and Vander’s mom had a notorious affair because Vander’s dad was literally batshit crazy. And she gets tragically deeper with that storyline, but back to what I was talking about before, which was Mia and Vander and Vander and Mia forever and ever and ever. Then Vander agrees, but is furious, and of course, hates Mia, and so lays down the stipulation that she can only spend four nights a year with him for the sexin’ because Vander believes she is blackmailing him into marriage because she still loves him even after all these years. But then he finds out she’s not, meets Charlie, falls in love with him, and then proceeds to totally screw up his relationship with Mia even though its quite clear that he loves her, uh, duh.
I think it’s safe to say that Vander is one of my favorite Eloisa James characters. I guess because, and this might be untrue because it’s been quite some time since I’ve read her earlier novels, but her heroes tend to be very nuanced and generally very un-alpha and extremely witty and charming, but Vander was just a sweet guy who cared about horses and screwing his wife. I know I probably should have wanted more, but I was satisfied with that. I liked that he was just kind of a stubborn ass, but also intelligent and kind and a great father to Charlie. He was completely secure in himself, and it was refreshing. Mia was lovely too, and I really enjoyed that she stood up for herself and wasn’t physically perfect.
I will always be an Eloisa James fan, and this book had everything I want in a romance novel. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I booed (mostly at Charlie’s uncle), and I felt better after having met these characters. Here’s to horses, romance novels, and romance novels about romance novelists! If you don’t read this book, I recommend just starting with her first one, except you’ll be out of free time until you’re finished with them all!