Free Prime The Duke of ShadowsAuthor Meredith Duran –

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 Everythingand 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 Fianc 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 Disownedand Some Passions Never Die

10 thoughts on “The Duke of Shadows

  1. says:

    The Duke of Shadows was a meaty, involving historical romance, the kind I love I admit I put off reading this book because I wanted to be in the right mood for it I was hesitant when I started it, feeling it would be too much for me right now However, it turned out to be a good book to read at this time, because I was completely focused on the storyline.I completely respect the way Ms Duran addressed the setting of the British Raj in India, mid 1800s She showed the complex issues at work nationalism, prejudice, exploitation, cultural insensitivity, imperialism, loyalty, race and for Julian and Emmaline, add falling in love to that picture Although I have discussed with some romance fans who don t enjoy exotic settings about the tendency to pander to stereotypes or to oversimplify the pertinent issues, I enjoy exotic settings very much Probably because I crave a good story of adventure and of travel to far away destinations it adds another desirable layer to the escapist joy of romance reading Of course, I do want to experience writing that does reach that next level, and that addresses the important topics that go along with imperialism in a clear, thoughtful, and honest way I feel that Ms Duran did accomplish this in writing The Duke of Shadows As the descendant of African slaves, Native American tribespeople, and Irish immigrants to America, I can identify with the anger and sense of injustice of being under someone s economic and social yoke, with the wrong belief by the overrriding culture that they are bettering the savage or inferior race, showing a profund lack of respect for the beliefs and cultures of that conquered group of people I definitely could see the side of the native Indians, their land taken over, their cultures devalued, their people abused On the other hand, the savagery in which the natives attack the British residents, civilian including children and women and soldier alike was very difficult and injust in a different way Two wrongs never make a right Duran shows both cultures at their best and their worst, making it clear that at the heart, we are all humans, good and bad I m sure that Julian felt like he was being ripped in two by the uprising, having both Indian and English blood flowing in his veins Not to mention that he never seemed to belong fully to either culture too Indian to be a British person, and too British to be an Indian man On top of that, was the fear that he couldn t protect Emmaline, the woman he d fallen in love with, or his Indian relatives This made for a very dramatic, somewhat shocking in parts, and extremely poignant read Also, seeing Emma s breakdown and her struggle to survive after what she d seen and experienced, and had to do for her survival I can understand her anger at Julian in believing he d failed to honor his promise to her, that he d forgotten about her Especially after the traumatic loss of her parents.The reunion between these reunited lovers in London had me glued to the page It was both what I would expect, and completely different I was prepared to it to be powerful I had not counted on Emma s rage I didn t expect for Julian to be so out of control and primal in his need to hold Emma, even in polite company Of course it made sense Although their time together in India was short, a profound bond had formed, and their separation had left enormous holes in each other s hearts They had come to love and rely on each other deeply, both in the tamer times in the British Raj, and during the fires of blood soaked revolt Despite all that had passed while they were separated, that love still simmered deep inside them both However, they had to break past the barriers and the pain that Emma faced From what I surmised, Julian would have taken up where they left off without a second thought, making Emma his duchess, since his love had never died To my surprise, Emma turns out to be the tortured person in this book Julian s life had always been troublesome to some extent, because of his mixed heritage He had many years to develop strong defense mechanisms that protected him from the scorn of society, and he had cultivated a reputation for being a fairly notorious, edge riding member of the Ton Not one easily dismissed, but not completely accepted by all in the snooty British society realms For Emma, to go from being a coddled young girl with loving parents, to an orphan forced into a loveless engagement, to fighting for her life in a world in which she is hated and people want to kill her and her kind and seeing her countrymen commit their own unspeakable acts of brutality , was no simple thing to recover from It left deep scars on her psyche It might have destroyed a frail person, I m sure.Meredith Duran s writing reminds me of some of my favorite historical romance writers, like Laura Kinsale, Connie Brockway, and Anna Campbell, in a good way, although she establishes her own unique style and voice It has a depth and an authenticity that shows me that she respects the time period and the impact of a historical romance with a powerful sense of period, texture, and intensity of emotion and passionate romance Julian and Emma both are potent, vivid characters that resonated within me as I read I think that Ms Duran will likely become a favorite for the manner in which she writes, and the compelling charisma of her characters This book just has that extra wow factor that I look for in a historical romance, after than twenty years of reading this genre Although there were parts of this novel that I felt weren t ideally paced, I think this is a five star read, because I was so involved and transfixed by this story And I have to say this is an excellent effort for a first time author I formed a bond with this book I didn t just read it, I experienced the story of Julian and Emma as an active participant The powerful pull into a story will urge me to give a book five stars, as I did in this case Recommended

  2. says:

    I m really indebted to my Goodreads friends who encouraged me to read The Duke of Shadows because it turned out to be a very, very good experience Sometimes, though, the best books are the most difficult to review because they evoke such deep emotions or cause me to examine, and maybe question, my own beliefs This is one such book.In some ways this is a typical historical romance because we re still dealing with British society, protocol, etc., and yet the first part of the story takes place in British occupied India where these rules really don t apply, so that in itself is a struggle for the characters, all of them, who are waging a battle of cultures, traditions and religion I found there to be a level of arrogance that we still see in societies today people thinking that their way is the right way, so everyone else is wrong and insisting that ages old traditions and beliefs be altered to fit their standards Quite arrogant indeed So while this book is historical fiction, I also saw the non fictional parallels and that was part of what made this such an interesting read.Meredith Duran did a fantastic job of giving us truly tortured characters who are not just ink on a page, but living, breathing human beings They struggle, like most of us do, with rights, wrongs and all the gray areas in between Their emotions and convictions run deep and so I found myself cheering them on, even when I might have disagreed with their choices or became frustrated with their inaccurate perceptions I ve always said that we hurt to the extent that we love, and based on the pain they both endured because of one another, it was very clear to me that they loved each other a depth and intensity than neither ever thought they were capable of.Before her parent s deaths, Emma had been so full of joy, looking forward to her future, but witnessing their drowning when the ship they were aboard enroute from England to India sank, while she herself survived the tragic event, could be the only explanation for why she went from being a happy, emotionally healthy young woman to being the morose, dark character she became She was so resolved with what her situation in life had become, that she no longer seemed to think that she could change the direction things were going in, nor did she seem to care enough to want to Julian is very close to being one of my all time favorite heroes, in fact, the I think about it, he is I couldn t imagine what it must be like for him, living in a country which doesn t consider him a native son, and living amongst a people within this country, the British, who consider him someone to be shunned a Duke, but gasp not a blue blood He was like a man without a country or family, so where were his loyalties to lie Well and this is one of the things I love most about him they lay within himself Regardless of what anyone else thought, he was true to what he believed in He didn t fight for one side or the other, rather he fought for what was right and it cost him dearly because it only continued to drive the wedge deeper, further alienating him from those who should care about him the most those who he loved And when it came to patience, Job had nothing on Julian As I said, he and Emma been through so much, and Emma just wasn t able, or willing, to risk her heart again but Julian didn t give up He was willing to do whatever she wanted, be whoever she needed, just to have her in his life again He seemed almost a desperate man where she was concerned Had she not been so troubled herself, I d have resented her for the lengths he had to go to get her attention, to earn her affection I d have said she wasn t worthy to lick his boots, but alas, in the end it was clear that they were perfect for each other, for only together could they be completely healed I have to say, I was sitting on the edge of my seat stressing out while reading this, worried about how there could possibly be a happy ending with all Julian and Emma had been through, but in a wonderful plot with many twists and turns, they are compelled to rely on one another once again to help each other solve a deadly mystery and to lift one another from their dark pasts, back into the light where they can love and have the happily ever after that they are so deserving of.This is yet one in an ever growing list of books by an author new to me that was truly wonderful Rich with detail and emotionally poignant, The Duke of Shadows has everything I need, and then some, for a book to be a 5 star read.

  3. says:

    5 Stars Also reviewed at Lady Jayne s Reading Den Note I had such a hard time letting this one go, that I just had to read it twice in a row Some reviews seem to come easier than others, but it seems the books that touch me the deepest are the hardest to write about This was my first read of Meredith Duran s work and it certainly won t be my last I LOVED this AMAZING For me, The Duke of Shadows was like a rich, beautiful and complex tapestry A tapestry depicting the tale of an epic love a love that spanned two continents.I see the threads of Julian s and Emma s story as made up shades of earth browns, sand, blood and scarlet reds, ocean and midnight blues, grey, black, and interspersed with threads of gold sunshine While this tapestry was mostly made up of dark hues, there was beauty within the darkness, and the bright moments were richer and all the cherished.The interlacing threads of Julian s and Emma s story were woven in tragedy and pain, through events in India in 1857 during the sepoy Indian soldiers rebellion against the British East India Company These violent events unravelled them both in different ways, but the hidden threads tied them so strongly together in ways that neither could deny, in the end They needed each other to stitch back the parts that were torn apart by the war.Ms Duran s writing made me feel as if I was there in India, as if I could actually smell the night Jasmine and the gunpowder, and feel the heat, and the grit of sand from the dessert Her prose is beautiful, evocative and almost poetic, weaving me deeply into the story.I really appreciated this different setting from the usual Regency Historical Romance Yet, there was still the familiar British culture and it was interesting to see the struggle of trying to transport the rules and etiquette where it did not fit.I LOVED Julian Sinclair, Duke of Auburn I related to his mixed British and Indian heritage, being Eurasian, myself, and I empathised with the struggles he faced and being shunned in both cultures He belonged to neither, and he belonged to both He was loyal not to one culture over the other, but to those he loved He loves intensely, and has a depth of patience and determination to be admired His yearning for Emma was palpable, with attempts to mask it under his amused and mocking commentary I am so in love with him sighs I loved Emma, too Emmaline Martin, as a result of tragic events she had faced, was a melancholy character but strong and fierce This was an aspect I related to in her, as well as her artistic soul and how she dealt with the dark moments in her life through her art Though, I, like Julian, longed to break through her dark tower, so that they could have the happily ever after they both deserved.One of my favourite parts in this book was the moment the book title gained a deep significance It made me see how Julian truly understood Emma I also loved the scene in the London ballroom, which showed the depths of Julian s love for Emma, in that everyone else in the room became insignificant, save her And I loved the intensity of the globe scene sighs This is not a book packed with love scenes Each love scene was beautifully crafted by Ms Duran as an essential element in the development of Julian s and Emma s relationship One scene in particular was raw and powerful, marked by the hidden scars within them, and for these reasons, it moved me and I loved it This is no light and fluffy read This is an achingly beautiful and evocative story, which resonated with me after I closed the last page, and still does, days later And I know it will for years to come One of my most favourite quotes from this book I m not blind, he said, very low Words are not the only way we communicate, you and I They never were Edited to add quotes, though I have so many I His fingers began to play lightly with hers I don t know why I come, myself, since no one seems willing to listen to me She laughed weakly Both of their hands were gloved, but the heat of his touch came through the cotton, and she had a sudden vivid image of his naked hand in hers Their hands intertwined His finger left a trail of warmth across her cheek, like the passing of a sunbeam I see, she said faintly, and had enough sense to bite down on the next words that came to her Would you touch me again Emma, he said quietly, and pressed a kiss to her parted lips She stirred, small twitches and sleepy noises He kissed her again, deeply this time, and ran a hand down her side, to the swell of her hip Her eyelashes fluttered up color came into her cheeks He smiled against her Fairy tales were wasted on children Until this moment, even he had not fathomed the power of waking someone with a kiss Thanks to Quinn for this quote Her face was turned a little toward him He kissed her softly on the mouth No hedge of thorns had ever grown so thick as the cold with which she surrounded herself With his lips and tongue he willed it to melt. Wake up, Emma Sleep no longer This is my image of Julian, with his luminescent green gold eyes and golden tanned skin Bollywood actor, Hrithik Roshan Sorry, I couldn t decide on just one or two pics LOL Can you blame me He has such beautiful eyes His eyes were a luminescent green gold, catlike as they reflected the faint light spilling from the bungalow The man was unnervingly handsome like something from a fever dream, brilliant and fierce, skin touched by gold and hair so black it absorbed the light Earlier, indoors, she had found herself looking at him, thinking his face begged to be sketched It would take only a few economical strokes sharp angular slashes for his cheekbones, a bold straight nose, a fierce square for his jaw Perhaps his lips would take time They were full and mobile, and saved his countenance from sternness.He was very tanned Doubt flickered through her mind, quashed as she considered his starched cravat and the elegantly cut tailcoat Of course he was English My Julian Sinclair Hrithik Roshan And a bit of man candy, though I don t imagine Julian quite as big as this _

    My Emma Martin Rachel Hurd Wood While it didn t quite happen like this though Julian certainly would have wanted it to _ , I love this image and it reminded me of a scene in this book shivers COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER I do not hold the copyright to any of the images used in this review They are posted to add visuals to the review and for fun If any of these images are yours and you would like me to remove them, please let me know, and I will do so as soon as possible If I can identify the copyright, I will do so.

  4. says:

    Reto 37 PopSugar 2018 Un libro que pretend as leer en 2017 pero al final no lo hiciste Una novela preciosa, pero que me hizo sufrir lo indecible Emmaline no termina de salir de una tragedia para entrar en otra, y esta ltima no es ni m s ni menos que la rebeli n que se produce en 1857 en la India contra la ocupaci n brit nica Afortunadamente, en el intertanto conoce a Juli n, que se transformar en su basti n no s lo frente a los peligros sino tambi n para su magullado coraz n, pero, ayyy, el destinoQued muy sorprendida al saber que esta es la primera novela de la autora, porque la ambientaci n y descripciones, tanto de la India como del conflicto mismo, est n muy bien logradas Y qu decir de los personajes principales Simplemente maravillosos Ambos con una cantidad de matices que los hacen terriblemente complejos, pero que indudablemente est n hechos el uno para el otro, ya que s lo ellos pueden comprender los miedos, dudas y luchas internas del otro Especialmente Juli n hacia Emma que, a pesar de todo lo que cambia durante la novela por tan duras experiencias, siempre sabe lo que ella necesita Los ltimos cap tulos son perfectos.Por supuesto tenemos un antagonista en toda regla y una intriga que, hacia el final, permite que nuestros protagonistas tengan su segunda oportunidad Absolutamente recomendable.

  5. says:

    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 everythingand the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them This book was excellent I was hooked from the beginning I loved the history I really felt I was in India, during the time of the British Raj Being Irish, I suppose I would have an affinity with any country that was taken over by Britain and ruled by their laws Part of MY country is still under British rule The British Raj r d from r j, literally, rule in Hindustani was the rule by the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947 But It was too much to take in India without Britain The Americans managed it She recoiled at his sarcasm That isn t what I meant I beg your pardon, Miss Martin what did you mean Well, we simply can t drop everything and run away, can we Very softly he said, I see Is this where you preach to me of how English civilization will save the savages The story is told in two parts We commence in India where Emmaline has travelled with her parents, to be married She meets Julian, a man of mixed race, British and Indian He had been educated in Britain Eton, Oxford There is an attraction but she is engaged to be married His mixed blood had always provided fodder to the wags after one rather reckless adventure in his youth, the papers in London had dubbed him the savage noble There is unrest in India, especially in the part of India where this is set The natives are restless and are beginning to rue the day the British ever came to try and conquer THEIR country.I honestly didn t read many reviews, skimmed a few and saw that it got good ratings It s a debut novel My expectations for reading her other books might be a little high as she has set the bar quite high But above all, you must understand that they wanted to do to you what has been done to them Emma, this land has been crushed by the English The Commonwealth still exists today The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of 52 independent and sovereign states Most are former British colonies or dependencies of those colonies.I do hate when some folks assume that Ireland is part of Great Britain ignorance on some folk s part I suppose My son now lives in the UK although he would be the first to vote for Scottish Independence must be his Irish roots It spans some years and there is heartache I ll come back for you He was not as strong as Emma When the tears came, he could not check them.

  6. says:

    I read The Duke of Shadows for the first time some years ago before I started reviewing and I remember being blown away by the quality of the writing, the richness of the setting and the passion and intensity of the romance I don t get much time for re reading these days, but I decided one was in order prior to reading and reviewing The Sins of Lord Lockwood Lockwood is a major and very intriguing secondary character in The Duke of Shadows , and I was once again awed by the author s talent and this wonderful book which was, incredibly, her d but As I didn t write a review the first time around, I m going to do that now.It is 1857 and the British have ruled India by fair means or foul mostly foul for many years Trouble is brewing, but for the majority of the British contingent, who are unable to conceive that anything could challenge the might of the Empire, it s business as usual and continued obliviousness to the rumblings of disquiet around them Only one man among their number dares to posit that the country teeters on the brink of revolt and that British lives may soon be endangered but he is derided and his views dismissed, even though he is an English peer Julian Sinclair, Marquess of Holdensmoor, is one quarter Indian which makes him someone who lives on the fringes of both English and Indian society His Indian blood renders him not quite the thing among the insular, rule bound English, who look on him with disdain and suspicion in spite of his being the heir to a dukedom while his English blood causes the same reaction among his Indian family.Emmaline Emma Martin was travelling to India accompanied by her parents in order to marry her fianc , an officer in the East India Company, when tragedy struck Their ship was wrecked and Emma is one of the few survivors The death of her parents which she witnessed has, naturally, affected her profoundly, but of concern to Delhi society is the fact that she was rescued and transported to her destination on a ship full of rough sailors, so her reputation is now irretrievably tarnished Emma s fianc , Marcus Lindley is handsome and charming, but as Emma has known for some time, does not believe in confining his charms solely to his betrothed Meeting him again for the first time in years, the scales fall from Emma s eyes completely, and she sees him for what he is arrogant, spiteful, dismissive of her intelligence and clearly only interested in her dowry Emma, a spirited and determined young woman, means to break things off with him as soon as she can.Emma and Julian Sinclair meet at the party being held to celebrate her engagement, where they quickly enter into a wryly humorous conversation and declare themselves to be the black sheep of their respective families Emma doesn t know who this intriguing, darkly handsome guest is at first, until she is steered away by Marcus who did not trouble to hide his animosity towards the other man Marcus criticises Emma for speaking with Julian, telling her that he is pretty much a social outcast owing to his mixed blood at which point she realises he is Marcus cousin, and that Marcus detests him because Julian is next in line to inherit the dukedom Marcus believes should be his.After this initial meeting, we witness the slow awakening of attraction between Julian and Emma, two social misfits who gradually discover that they have in common with each other than with those around them When Julian s dire predictions come true and Delhi erupts into mutiny and violence, he manages to get Emma away, and the pair head to Sapnagar, from whence Emma can make her way back to England Ms Duran does an outstanding job here of building a beautifully tender, passionate and intense emotional connection between the couple as they travel through burned out villages and battle sites along their journey to safety The descriptions of the landscape are wonderfully vivid, the pacing is superb and the romantic and sexual chemistry between Julian and Emma just leaps off the page There is no question whatsoever that these people are kindred spirits and meant to be together but fate has other plans, and it s not until the second part of the book set four years later that we discover the truth behind the lies and unwarranted interference that cause both of them so much heartbreak.I really don t want to say much about the plot from here on in things get dark and angsty, and it s obvious that Emma is still suffering the effects of her ordeals She is filled with rage and feelings of betrayal and is determined not to allow herself to fall for Julian again given the magnitude of his deception and Julian, who has somewhat reluctantly picked up the pieces of his life and is now the Duke of Auburn is truly knocked for six by Emma s sudden and completely unexpected appearance in London Misunderstandings lie heavily between them and fortunately Ms Duran doesn t allow them to go on for too long yet even after Emma learns the truth that Julian didn t betray or deceive her , she is still unwilling to risk her heart again and is determined to leave England to pursue her artistic studies in Italy While I understand that Emma is suffering from what we d probably recognise today as PTSD, I did find her insistence on continually rejecting Julian to be the one discordant note in what is otherwise an outstanding novel Julian who has carried a huge burden of guilt from their time in India realises that what Emma really needs is a friend, someone to talk to who shared many of her experiences, and he sets out to be just that Gradually, he is able to break down her resistance and show her that he will always be there for herThe Duke of Shadows is an incredibly well crafted, complex and powerful story that gripped me from first page to last and isn t one I m likely to forget in a hurry The author does a fabulous job of depicting the narrow mindedness, prejudice and cultural insensitivity that dominated the society of the British Raj, and her descriptions of places and events are incredibly vivid, putting the reader right in the centre of the picture I ll admit to being slightly less taken with the second part of the book, and to finding Emma on the verge of becoming unlikeable, but it s testament to the author s skill that I was able to understand her pain and her anger even as I didn t like what it was doing to her and to Julian Ms Duran s portrayal of a young woman who has experienced tragedy in her life than anyone should have to is superbly multi faceted Emma evokes the reader s sympathy while retaining a steely determination that has clearly supported her in dark times but which could also prove to be her own worst enemy.Julian has been on my list of top romance heroes ever since I read the book the first time, and I m pleased to say he s still there He s gorgeous, clear sighted, compassionate and deeply honourable and when it comes to Emma he s most insightful and understanding He isn t going to give up on her or let her give up on them, and his patience is justly rewarded.At a time when the market is simply flooded with predictable, anachronistic wallpaper historical romances, it s a real pleasure to read something like this, a shining example of what can be achieved in the genre The Duke of Shadows is, in spite of the small reservations I have expressed, a fantastic read full of warmth, tenderness, humour, pathos and, at times, emotion so raw that it s almost painful If you ve never read it grab a copy now If you have and haven t found time to re read it, then maybe it s time to remind yourself just how great historical romance can be in the hands of an author as talented as Meredith Duran.

  7. says:

    This is one of those books where, after you read it, you think to yourself I don t know if I can be friends with someone who doesn t love this book To say I loved this book would be a gross understatement I don t know if it s because I ve been in a deep, persistent reading funk recently, where every book I pick up strikes me as trite and poorly formed, second rate garbage, but this book felt like FINALLY drinking a cool glass of water after being forced to swallow brackish sludge for weeks Thank you, Meredith Duran Thank you for being an excellent writer.Thank you for eliciting emotions in your reader.Thank you for doing research before writing a book.Thank you for crafting two magnificent main characters.Thank you for writing a meaningful and romantic story Just thank you.

  8. says:

    Reread January 2018I have nothing to add Only roll on February 27th Original review The Duke of Shadows is the debut book of Meredith Duran, which at the time I read it, simply floored me How can a debut book be this good How can history and romance be put into a context where everything just fits into the right places I came back to reading HRs after a break of about 10 years When I left the Historical Romance genre, it was all about the fluffy writing style of Julia Quinn and her Bridgerton series, which is truly good but didn t really engage me as much as I would have liked At the same time, there weren t simply good enough books that would keep me interested So I said bye bye to the HR genre and didn t look back until I remembered some of my all time favourite HR which I wanted to re read One book lead to another, and I noticed that the genre had undergone a pleasant change The Duke of Shadows was one of the first books of the newer generation and it reminded me why I had fallen in love with this genre in the first place.This book is meaty, substantial, full of background enough for me to actually properly read up on the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 The book is divided into two parts The first half gives us a glimpse of the British Raj shortly before the Mutiny The undercurrent tension is beautifully reflected in the character of Julian Sinclair, later Duke of Auburn, who is of British Indian heritage Being of mixed heritage myself, I could instantly relate to this man who doesn t belong to either culture and is being made painfully aware of it by his British peers as well as his Indian relatives Both sides view him with suspicion, the accusation of treasonous tendencies never far off There is an anger boiling underneath his polished manners, as well as a sort of resignation when confronted with the ignorance of those around him On the other side, we have Emmaline Martin, a very wealthy, sheltered young woman, loved by her parents, on her way to India to finally marry the man her parents had chosen for her and whom she thinks she loves But before she actually reaches India, tragedy hits The ship she travels on with her parents sinks, she s the sole survivor Once in India, she s all alone Yet, the blows keep coming She s in a foreign country, the life and customs are new, the British community is not truly welcoming, and on top of it, her fiance, who is Julian s cousin, turns out to be a proper bastard Like Julian, she doesn t belong, she s lonely, and it s that what attracts them to each other What follows can only be described as a slow dance of two people discovering similarities which binds them It s so wonderfully tender, MD gives those two so much space, that the growing attraction between them is as natural and inevitable as possible All hell breaks loose when the Mutiny starts We are thrown into the chaos of the rebellion and the journey of Emma and Julian, trying to escape the violence And it is on this journey, where the two give in to their feelings Again, it s incredibly warm and tender He takes her to a place where he thinks she will be safe and has to leave her behind This is where they lose each other for the next four years Emma has to flee the place Julian thought safe, and for the next months safety is the last thing she will find The things she experiences, the atrocities on both sides she has to watch and the hope she loses that Julian will find her, change her completely Her, by now former, fiance plays a big role in her belief that Julian has forgotten about her Gone is the innocence, replaced by rage and endless sadness Julian, of course, searches for her, but can t find her and is led to believe that she died His reaction to this news is incredibly heartbreaking.Fast forward four years, and they meet again Oh my, what a scene If the first part of the book is about the growing tenderness between Emma and Julian, the second part is all about overcoming the feeling of rage and betrayal Emma has been back in England for three years, but believing her ex fiance s lies that Julian didn t look for her, never let him know she was back Julian, on the other hand, doesn t know what s hit him when he sees the woman he s loved and lost to be alive and at least to the outside well Thankfully, Duran doesn t let this misunderstanding stay for too long The culprit, Emma s ex fiance is being dealt with very swiftly, at least for now I m not too keen on violence, but the confrontation between Julian and her ex was one of the most satisfying outbursts of violence I ve read After that what s left is the rage both have for another Emma s, because Julian left her behind Julian s, because Emma never let him know she was alive There are so many scenes in this book that have stayed with me, I could probably not stop quoting But if I had to choose, it would be this one On a breath, he leaned forward It was such a small space to close Such an infinite distance to cross. They are both very strong, very well drawn characters, but in a different way Julian grew up knowing he didn t belong, he had years of experience to shield himself Emma s trauma is swift and extremely violent, but she s a true survivor Julian belongs to the list of my all time favourite heroes Tormented by guilt for leaving her behind, he realises that Emma needs understanding, a person who listens, who is there for her And he does just that From tenderness, to rage and back to tenderness Emma s process is difficult The violence and tragedy she experienced, along with the belief that the man she loved left her behind, is not easily overcome, nor should it Duran s prose gives these feelings a depth that is poignant and infinitely breathtaking I soaked up every word, went back to a paragraph to re read it, tried to linger as much as possible I simply didn t want the book to end, and it took me a couple of days to pick up a new book I didn t want to let go.

  9. says:

    Every once in a while I will find a book that will move me It s than just enjoying the storyline or characters or even just the beauty of the prose It s all that and It s some indefinable spark in the story that draws me in and makes me feel transported I love when I find that quality It varies from person to person, but wherever it s found it s something to be treasured I found that quality in this book I know that it is one that I will be able to read again and again and still find some new element of the story that will entrance me all over again.I loved the undercurrents in the characters There was never anything cut and dry about them There was always layer after layer of meaning and motivation behind their actions So much tragedy surrounded them, but so much strength too The personal tragedies compounded by the tragedies they experienced during the revolt in India made for very complex characters As I read the story I kept thinking about Jo Goodman s books This author gave me the very same qualities that I love about Goodman s books.Emma was a very well drawn character She came off as very dark to me, even in the beginning The death of her parents seemed to seep into her Her indifference toward her betrothed s betrayals and total change of character, as well as her dissatisfaction with society seemed to echo that depression in her The passage She sat down The solitude suited her She had known the room would be deserted it was too early for damage to have been done to dresses and gloves Later, women would crush inside, anxiously pacing the floor as their ayahs struggled along behind, patching ripped hems and scrubbing at stains The charm of the shadows would fade, and the music would be drowned out by snapped complaints and snickered gossip And this is my life, she whispered This was what she had fought so hard to survive for when she had floated for endless hours on the breast of the ocean, the sun cracking her skin and settling salt beneath her fingernails pg 49 particularly moved me Throughout the story the sadness and hopelessness seemed to breathe off the pages It was very beautiful It seemed at times, from my point of view at least, that she was almost suicidal Which is an odd perception, because when in danger she never seemed to want to die I just couldn t shake the thought that she teetered a little too close to wanting to be totally lost Things like this passage He grasped her face in his hands to slant her head, to give him deeper access, to fill her Yes, do it, she thought, consume me, swallow me whole Odd feelings with no root tore through her She felt frenzied, almost angry, ready to jump out of her skin He would take her before she went How would she go Would she die Would she face the water again Could anyone keep the promises she suddenly wanted from him pg 131 made me really wonder about her state of mind I don t know though It was in the middle of a love scene Possibly it was just an expression of how consumed by him she was Either way, it just made me fascinated by her character.Julian was less well drawn than Emma I appreciated the author showing the dueling cultures in his nature The fact that no matter what he did, he would never be a true part of either country made him a very sympathetic character In truth, the most intriguing parts of his character came in moments that gave depth to Emma I particularly liked the insight he showed in the fragment of the poem he quoted to her I think that a defining moment of the change in her character came when she discovered what he had meant by that statement I don t know if these thoughts of his character make it really only Emma who carried the story or whether Julian only really came to life when dealing with her.I liked all of the love scenes, especially because they seemed to add something to the story The love scene that occurred at Mr Cothurst s house touched me in particular It showed so much insight into who Emma had become and the sorrow and self mockery that Julian suffered from because of that It was raw and not really romantic, but I loved it because of those reasons I felt it fit perfectly with their characters I felt so badly for Julian His yearning and his pain when he was only given crumbs of what he needed from her felt like a living thing I thought it was a powerful scene and that Meredith Duran has great skill.I cannot recommend this book enough It lived for me in a way that very few books do I cannot wait to see what comes next for this author However, be aware that this book is not perfect I thought that Marcus was a thinly drawn character and I would have enjoyed nuance in him and less simple bad guy Also, my copy needed editing There were times that an extra word would be inserted into a sentence or a letter was missing in a word It was very distracting in a love scene Instead of take her it was ake her It wasn t horrible it just kept pulling me out of the story Despite that, I think that this book will be one of my favorites of the year.

  10. says:

    Ok whatever, I m not gonna apologize for reading the occasional historical romance novel although the fact I preface the whole review with this probably indicates a modicum of self consciousness, but I m overcoming that by posting a public review, so progress maybe I am a sucker for the corset ones, I got hooked on Eloisa James a few years ago Right after I got my Kindle and could hide the covers , but then I started browsing around other authors and there are a LOT OF BAD ONES, GUYS Like completely chauvinist and un empowering, where the lady always ends up happy sewing at home and then knocked up in the epilogue Blerg Yes, there are some pretty racy sex scenes in these books, but it s gotta have a good story and good characters or the naughty bits just make you go, ew At least for me.For the record I only list ones I really like on here, the rest I just leave off, and I ve gone through several unlisted ones in the last months before posting this one here Duke of Shadows is a REALLY good story that I feel is elevated above the average romance in tone It is set between British occupied India and London, it deals with really interesting issues and complicated character problems, especially for the genre I loved the main character and the love interest, and some scenes were like, NOOO DONT BE CRUEL TO EACH OTHER NOOO I just read another one by this author that I enjoyed, although I preferred this one, but both were a cut above She takes things like class and poverty and status and digs much deeper than the surface, isn t it fun to be a duke sort of thing I really liked it, I liked that the heroine had a genuine talent, and if you are a fan of say Outlander this could be a lighter type of novel you might enjoy.There are several pretty racy scenes though guys, heads up Not that that s disincentive if you have a Kindle hiding what you re reading lol Ok promise my next book will be a sci fi to balance all the vaginal books I ve been reading lately Iain Banks maybe.