Eloisa James is such a great author. Her stories are always so original and fun! When I saw “American Duchess” I jumped at the chance to review and counted the minutes until I had a copy ready to read. James does not disappoint! Now, I will say, in the past I did not love James. I found her stories very long and drawn out. I also found that her characters were way to quirky for my taste. James continues to do all the before mentioned but, for me, this is what I love about her. I use to read her stories with mild interest but I have a new found appreciation for her writing style and I plan to go back and re-read and read some stories that I missed. I just think she is phenomenal!
I’m not sure if other readers have this experience but at times I will love a story re-read it and not like it so much and then I will not like a story re-read and find things I missed and the story changes for me. This is how I feel about James as an author! She is an acquired taste but very well worth it.
James presents Merry Pelford. She is an American Heiress and in London with her chaperones/ Guardians her aunt and Uncle-Mr. and Mrs Pelford. Merry was previously engaged twice but broke off both engagements back in the Americas. Merry and her aunt and uncle hope that a new start in London will help put those broken engagements behind her. Merry is very unique and she is having a difficult time assimilating into London society and its very rigorous rules. As luck would have it, she steps outside on a balcony at a ball and meets a Duke whom she finds interesting, handsome and engaging. The catch is that she is already engaged and in James-fashion-the bigger catch is that it’s her soon-to-be brother-in-law. Merry and Trent-said Duke, both feel very guilty about their attraction and fascination with one another. Merry feels that she is betraying her fiancé and she feels the burden of having two broken engagements behind her. Trent and his brother-who is also his twin- have always had a very unhealthy competition. They have always tried to best each other and theirs is not a brotherly rivalry.
The more time that Trent and Merry spend together the more they like each other and the greater their desire for one another. Trent tries his best to respect his brother’s engagement. He even thinks that Merry will help his brother control his excessive drinking and spending. Merry sees the warning signs with her fiancé- Cedric but she feels trapped by her past and she is not able to truly trust herself since she thinks her judgement has led her to two broken engagements and possibly a third.
I just loved Merry and Trent. Both were the perfect hero and heroine. I loved the hilarious scenes. James’ witty scenes remind me of Kristan Higgins-one minute you’re reading and the next you’re snorting through you nose and laughing so hard you can’t stop. As I mentioned at the beginning, James’ books tend to be long but I can appreciate that more now. She really takes her time with her characters. She really develops who they are and who they become as a couple. I really sat back and savored this story and I really enjoyed all aspects of our little American Heiress and how she slays British society with her wit and refusal to conform. The only one thing that stopped this from a five rating was how Trent behaved after Merry told him she loved him. I couldn’t empathize with him and it didn’t seem to fit him as a character. Although this is a standalone James hints at a possible continuation when Cedric’s story remains untold. Really fantastic read by an equally fantastic author. I’ll never look at pineapples the same.