Thursday, November 27, 2008

Meredith Duran: The Duke of Shadows

The Duke of Shadows: A
Emmaline Martin & Julian Sinclair, Duke of Auburn

In a debut romance as passionate and sweeping as the British Empire, Meredith Duran paints a powerful picture of an aristocrat torn between two worlds, an heiress who dares to risk everything...and the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them.

From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous -- and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

I saw Trollop from the book bitches searching for this book, an I can see why. After waiting patiently for several months, I got my grubby little hands on my very own copy (well, my own copy for the next three weeks). I read it through the night (horrible habit, I woke up looking atrocious the next morning) and folks, it was a damn good read.

Debut author, Meredith Duran, has done the very difficult and almost-unthinkable: she has managed to write a romance that can effectively serve as a saga - in three-hundred and something pages.

Emmaline and Julian meet in Delhi in 1857, where tensions are running high and the country's turmoil is glaring. She has come to India to be with her fiance and after a disastrous journey, she arrives, only to realize that her fiance is a flaming jerkwad. Emma also meets Julian, the notorious Duke of Auburn, known for being a quarter Indian. He has been grudgingly accepted by British society because of his dukedom, however, he is neither liked nor admired - much.

When situations in India explode, Emma is caught in the middle. Julian saves her and they abscond to a village where he leaves her - in safety.

Things do not go well and they are separated.

They meet again in London after years of separation, and their experiences have changed them into different people. And the love that was so strong between them has turned into something akin to rage and bitterness.

It is, of course, reading of their journey to reconciliation that was so satisfying and so lovely.

Ms. Duran is a doctorate student in cultural anthropology and I can see that she loves her field and she loves this era of time through her precise and descriptive writings. Furthermore, her prose is beautiful (she uses "meaty" sentences - remember when your English teacher told you to stop being a pansy and to beef up your sentences with details?) and her writing sucks you in.

I didn't love the last thirty pages as much as I wished because I felt it was a little roundabout and a little long-ish, but I decided that was trivial in comparison to her skills as a debut author.

Do give this a try.

PS: Julian is quite delicious. :)

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