Published by Pocket Star on March 25th 2008
FINAL DECISION: Powerful as the characters have to overcome their experiences with death in Colonial India. The romance is sweeter than I might expect but life gets in their way. One of Duran’s best.
THE STORY: Emmaline Martin is an heiress who has come to British Colonial India to marry the man who has been selected for her since her childhood. Emma suffers after the death of her parents on the journey to India. When Emma arrives, her fiance is not the man she thought he was and as India seems to be exploding all around her, Emma turns to Julian Sinclair, Duke of Auburn for help.
OPINION: I’ve had this book on my to-read list for years, but always shied away from reading it because people called it dark and difficult to read. I’m sorry now that I waited although it turns out that I read it at exactly the right time since it falls right before Duran’s new book.
Yes, the subject matter is dark and the journey of this characters, especially Emma is difficult to read at times, but the story is fantastic and the romance balances beautifully the darkness of the plot.
That is what surprised me most about this book. The beauty of the love between Julian and Emma in the face of the darkness that threatens them everywhere. And the darkness is not merely external. Emma especially has trouble dealing with the events of her parents’ deaths and then the horror of the Insurrection. I won’t lie, sometimes these brutal events are difficult to read, but they are not gratuitous or unduly graphic. Emma has PTSD in a time that didn’t have the vocabulary or understanding of what was happening to her.
She is difficult to get close to as a character because her pain keeps her emotions closed off and frozen. And that is one reason that I adored Julian. His determination and dedication to her when she pushes him away is sweet and lovely. I loved him and his strength in not allowing Emma’s pain to push him away.
This is ultimately a hopeful book and I look forward to reading the story of Julian and Emma again and again over the years.
I really enjoyed the different setting for this book. It exposed me to a time period that I did not study in school and the book sparked my interest in reading more.
WORTH MENTIONING: The book takes place in India during the turmoil of attempts to overthrow of British rule in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The book is sometimes violent and difficult to read but powerful.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DUKE OF SHADOWS was written as a standalone. However, Duran has written, years later, a book in the Rules for the Reckless series, THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD, which tells the story of Lord Lockwood and his wife who appear in THE DUKE OF SHADOWS. The timeline of this book and its content now places is right around the same time as THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD in the Rules of the Reckless series and it might even be considered to be part of that series now.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.