Posted by: Jennifer | November 30, 2007

An Affair Before Christmas – Eloisa James

James, Eloisa. An Affair Before Christmas. (New York: Avon, 2007). ISBN – 9780061245541.

Main Characters: Lady Perdita Selby & John, the Duke of Fletcher; Jemma & Elijah, the Duke & Duchess of Beaumont; Leopold, the Duke of Villiers, Miss Charlotte Tatlock

Related Works: This is part of Eloisa James’ Desperate Duchesses series. Books in the series include the following:

  • Desperate Duchesses– the story of Lady Roberta St. Giles and Damon Reeve, the Earl of Gryffyn (Jemma’s brother)
  • An Affair Before Christmas – the story of Lady Perdita Selby and the Duke of Fletcher
  • Duchess by Night – the story of Harriet, Duchess of Berrow and Lord Strange
  • When the Duke Returns – the story of Lady Isidore and Simeon Jermyn, the Duke of Cosway
  • This Duchess of Mine – the story of Elijah, the Duke of Beaumont and Jemma, the  Duchess of Beaumont
  • A Duke of Her Own – the story of Leopold Dautry, the Duke of Villiers and Lisette (available July 29, 2009)

Description from book:

Magic under the mistletoe . . .

One spectacular Christmas, Lady Perdita Selby, known to her friends and family as Poppy, met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was the perfect match for the innocent, breathtakingly beautiful young Englishwoman, and theirs was the most romantic wedding she had ever seen. For years later, Poppy and the duke have become the toast of the ton . . . but behind closed doors the spark of their love affair has burned out.

Unwilling to lose the woman he still lusts after, the duke is determined to win back his beguiling brides’ delectable affections . . . and surpass the heady days of first love with a truly sinful seduction.

My Thoughts:

Eloisa James has really grown on me as an author – and I thoroughly enjoy most of her books. This one was no exception. Poppy and Fletch have been married for four years. While theirs was a love match, Fletch soon discovered that Poppy had been trained to only endure her husband’s attentions in the bedroom. After years of no response from his wife, Fletch had stopped visiting her bedchamber. While at a soiree to celebrate the Earl of Gryffyn’s victory over the Duke of Villiers in a duel, Fletch takes out his frustrations on Poppy. This seems to be the first real hint to Poppy that there is something wrong in their marriage. She takes Fletch’s frustrations to heart and decides to leave – and move in with her friend Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont. During her time with Jemma, Poppy actually grows up, finds herself and learns to be independent of her mother (who by the way, is absolutely awful!). Eventually, Fletch decides that despite the problems in his marriage, he still loves Poppy. He makes an effort to win her back.

Now, the Poppy/Fletch story is only one part of this tale. This series by Eloisa James has several running storylines. The biggest is the relationship between Jemma & Elijah, the Duke and Duchess of Beaumont who have estranged for the majority of their marriage. In Desperate Duchesses, the Duke and Duchess decide to reunite in hopes of having children to carry on the Beaumont line. Jemma, however, is quite the scandalous woman – one who is also a serious chess player. As part of her last hurrah before she reunites with Elijah, she agrees to play a chess match with the Duke of Villiers. The match is to be the best of three games with the third game played blindfolded in bed. Not to be outdone, Elijah challenges Jemma to the same match. These games, and the rumors surrounding them, play a significant role in this story. Additionally, there is the Duke of Villiers, his relationship with Jemma and his relationship with Miss Charlotte Tatlock. What about Harriet, the Duchess of Berrow? Harriet is the widow of Benjamin, the Duke of Berrow. Leopold, the Duke of Villiers had something to do with Benjamin’s death. Harriet is the heroine of the next installment of the series.

This is where my only real criticism of the book comes into play. There is SO MUCH going on in this book – sometimes too much. There is no happy ending for anyone other than Poppy and Fletch. I’ve been following Jemma, Elijah, Villiers and the chess matches since Desperate Duchesses. How will this end? Will Jemma and Elijah find happiness together? Villiers seems to have survived the duel with Gryffyn despite being near death for most of An Affair Before Christmas. What will happen between Villiers and Miss Tatlock? What about Villier’s heir Dautry? Will Dautry and Miss Tatlock end up together? Poppy’s mother was excruciating. I can’t imagine having to live with her as Fletch did – for any amount of time.

The bottom line? I’m so anxious for the next installment. Eloisa James calls the Desperate Duchesses series a sextet – that means 4 more books. I suspect that we won’t find out how things end for Jemma & Elijah until them. ***Big shouts of frustration here*** I’m hooked on the story line. I need to know how the chess matches end. I need to know!!! I wish it were all over now.

Read first on November 29, 2007

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Responses

  1. I definitely agree with what you said about Jemma! I feel exactly the same way! I am very anxious to know if things will finally work out between Jemma and her husband. I wish there was a novel where THEY would be the main characters!

  2. I definintely agree!! I hate having to wait!!!!!!

  3. […] An Affair before Christmas- story of Lady Perdita Selby and the Duke of Fletcher […]

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  5. […] An Affair Before Christmas – the story of Lady Perdita Selby and the Duke of Fletcher […]


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