Taming the Duke

Taming the Duke

Finished this 3rd book in the Essex sisters series by Eloisa James some weeks back but forgot all about this review until now.

Imogen has always been portrayed as willful, tempestuous and intense throughout the series, but from the first book, Much Ado About You, the reader already could sense that she will eventually end up with Rafe.  I think being widowed at such a young age messed her up a little, especially since she began to question the kind of marriage she shared with Maitland, short though it was.

By now she already had two happy examples to compare and contrast, and it’s no wonder that Taming of the Duke finds her so embittered she’s determined to have an affair for real, clueless to the forbidden feelings of love her ex-guardian, Rafe, has been hiding from her.  It was quite delightful to see both of them eventually realize that they were made for each other, just as Ms Pythian-Adams finally ditched all pre-conceived notions of Rafe’s illegitimate brother, Gabe, and risked her heart for an unsuitable, and unlikely, man.

This is easily a more entertaining read than Kiss Me Annabel. The comical situations that Rafe got into while pretending to be his brother having an affair with Imogen while romancing Ms Pythian-Adams and ‘drying out’ as an ex-alcoholic.  Oh, the comedy of errors that ensue was hilarious, and Imogen being such a terrible tease was enormously entertaining when she joined in a ‘bawdy’ love song at an inn. The sub-plot of staging an amateur theatre in Holbrook Court was a fitting setting to all the drama and playacting in real life that the engaging characters went through. The epilogue gave quite a bit of the family’s future away, but it was so, so sweet a scene.

However, I must say that the cover spooked me big time — that ghostly pair of hands undressing the man gives me the creeps. Bad cover aside, I think Eloisa has turned in a fantastic follow-up to Annabel’s story.  If Annabel’s story was all sweetness and fuzzy warmth, this one is lots of mischief, laughter and frolicking good fun.