At long last, the story of Jemma and Elijah! I won’t lie when I say I’ve been waiting for this book since I began reading the Desperate Duchesses series. We got a glimpse of them in the first book, and since then we’ve been teased with little snippets here and there. Now, finally we have the entire story.
For those who don’t know their history, Elijah, the Duke of Beaumont, married Jemma through an arranged marriage. Jemma adored him and was infatuated, Elijah….not so much. He was more concerned with power and making his way through Parliament than pleasing a wife. Their early marriage wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. The day Jemma catches Elijah in his office with his mistress is the day she leaves for Paris. For nine years they live separately, until Elijah faints in Parliament one day, and he realizes his time is short. He summons his wife home, so he can have an heir.
Jemma is a complicated character, very complex and whimsical at the same time. She realizes her marriage could be better, and to do that, she needs her husband to want her. So, with that in mind, she sets about to woo her husband, thinking he is indifferent to her. After an attempt at setting up a flirtation with a rival, to unknowingly making Elijah extremely jealous with her friendship with the Duke of Villiers, the two finally realize they do love each other. There is another issue, however. Elijah has a bad heart, one that causes him to faint for short periods of time. Jemma is convinced he is going to die at any moment, as the previous Duke died from a heart ailment at the same age as Elijah. With the help of the Duke of Villiers, the trio races to locate a doctor that has a medicine to cure the problem. Add to all of this their legendary chess games, and you have a fun Georgian story.
As with all of Eloisa James’ books, her characters are well written and sometimes on the complex side. Jemma is a character that appears througout the series, and you learn a little bit about her as the books go on. Elijah isn’t talked about nearly as much, but in this book we get to see the other side of him as Jemma discovers what lies beneath. Their relationship isn’t perfect, and it’s very entertaining to watch it evolve. This is definitely a book well worth picking up, especially if you’ve been waiting like I have!