Title: The Duke of Shadows
Author: Meredith Duran
Review number: 43
Genre: Historical Romance
Stand alone / series: Stand alone
Some people are engraved into your palm, child; from birth, they are with you, know it or not.
“And there it was again: the visage of the proper memsahib, flickering over her true face like the projection from a camera obscura. She could not quite decide who she wanted to be. Or perhaps, he thought, she simply did not know she had a choice in the matter”.
I can not stress enough how GOOD and beautiful the writing itself is.
I am half-sick of Shadows – Julian , quoting the The Lady of Shalott to Emma
“ And then he (Julian) focused on her, and he smiled.It carried the force of a physical slap, that smile. It shocked her to her bones. He had shown her a great many smiles since she’d met him – enigmatic, amused, mocking; cheerful, mischievous, grimly determined. But this one she had never seen. It stole her breath more effectively than fear. An angel’s curve of lips, this: a gentle benediction, a silent understanding. An acknowledgment of the strangeness of a God that would lead them to such an end. Most inexplicably, a sweet reassurance that he would not complain of having had to share it with her. “
Additional Thoughts: There are those moments when one is reading where everything becomes clear and things fall into place. I had one such moment of clarity while reading this book – which related to the title itself. Sometimes with romance novels I find that titles can be merely unfit marketing choices that have nothing to do with what is inside – the proverbial do not judge a book by it’s cover or by it’s title. I thought this was one example of that until near the end it became clear that the title does mean something: exactly what it says. Sounds simple and trite but it’s true. Julian was the Duke of Shadows because shadows were all around him , were all around Emma and he was the one that was able to walk through and get them both out.
Julian at one point says to Emma: I am half sick of Shadows – to exemplify that he thought she was locking herself in a tower making herself unreachable – and he was the one who was trying to break that spell she put herself into.
You can find the complete poem here. John William Waterhouse, one of my favourite painters painted nothing less than 3 different paintings each showing a different stage of the poem.
Verdict: Undoubtedly one of the best romances I have read, especially for the writing style. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a bit more of history and a bit more of edge and darkness to their romance.
Rating: 8 Excellent. If I were to rate part 1 alone I would give it a straight 10, absolute perfection.
Reading next: Taking the Heat by Kathryn Shay