Lovely, Surprising and Deeply Emotional
“He had been staring into the dark garden when he had felt a touch on his arm turned — and met her.”
FINAL DECISION: Immensely likeable characters and a story filled with depth and surprises makes MY AMERICAN DUCHESS a keeper for me.
THE STORY: The Duke of Trent is as proper as one might expect from an English peer of the realm and is expected to marry a well-bred English miss. One conversation with the exuberant Miss Merry Pelford, an American heiress, and Trent is thinking something different might do for him. Merry is completely inappropriate to be a duchess. She keeps making social mistakes. She is too friendly with servants. She doesn’t have proper respect for the social hierarchy. She has also been engaged twice in America and jilted the men both times. What makes her completely unsuitable, however, is that on the night Trent and Merry meet, she has just become betrothed to Trent’s twin brother.
OPINION: Merry is a woman who has cried “love” so many times that she cannot be trusted when she says “love” for real. Full of life, emotion and joy, Merry has been searching for the kind of love that her deceased parents had. Instead, she has fallen into a series of infatuations which threaten her reputation because of her string of broken engagements. I loved how Merry is. In less talented hands, her character might seem superficial, but instead her character just seems full of life and willing to risk all for love. Clever, funny, caring and filled with joy, Merry is one of my favorite heroines. She always errs on the side of caring for others even to her own detriment.
Trent is just adorable. On the outside, he seems the stereotypical duke but has a soft gooey center. From the beginning, he wants Merry and only his loyalty to her brother stops him from pursuing her. This is a book where I thought the blurb was a bit misleading. Trent expects that he will find a proper English lady but from the absolute beginning, he accepts and is attracted to Merry’s joy and unconventional nature.
There is a turn and surprise in this book which involves how Merry ends up not engaged to Trent’s brother. I don’t want to give away the story, but readers might suspect that ultimately Trent and Merry end up together. James masterfully takes these characters deeper into relationship. Their relationship begins as attraction and seems to develop into a satisfying relationship but then they find there relationship can be deeper and it does. Infatuation, attraction, lust, friendship, companionship and deep love. This book explores those emotions through these characters. Complex and multi-faceted, these characters made me cheer for them.
This book is funny and clever and ultimately just made me feel good because both Trent and Merry are so likeable. As an American, I also must say that I just loved how Merry turns English society upside down and changes Trent’s world in ways he never imagined.
WORTH MENTIONING: Who knew that there were such things as rented pineapples?
CONNECTED BOOKS: MY AMERICAN DUCHESS is a standalone book although it exists in the same world as James’ other novels.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.