Posted by: Jennifer | May 28, 2009

This Duchess of Mine – Eloisa James

James, Eloisa. This Duchess of Mine. (New York: Avon, 2009). ISBN – 978006162821.

Main Characters: Elijah, the Duke of Beaumont and Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont

Date: 1784

This Duchess of Mine

This Duchess of Mine

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:

No man can resist Jemma’s sensuous allure. . . Except her own husband!

Wedding bells celebrating the arranged marriage between the lovely Duchess of Beaumont and her staid, imperturbable duke had scarcely fallen silent when a shocking discovery sent Jemma running from the ducal mansion. For the next nine years she cavorted abroad, creating one delicious scandal after another (if one is to believe the rumors).

Elijah, Duke of Beaumont, did believe those rumors.

But the handsome duke needs and heir, so he summons his seductive wife home. Jemma laughs at Elijah’s cool eyes and icy heart – but to her secret shock, she doesn’t share his feelings. In fact, she wants the impossible: her husband’s heart at her feet.

But what manner of seduction will make a man fall desperately in love . . . with is own wife?

My  Thoughts:

This books begins almost a year after Elijah requests that his wife return home from Paris in order to beget an heir. The two have lived together since Jemma’s return to London, although have not yet resumed marital relations. After all Jemma and the Duke of Villiers had become involved in a scandalous chess match – one that was supposed to see the participants play the third and final game blindfolded and in bed. Elijah could not try for an heir if his wife was sleeping with another man, after all. Although Jemma and the Duke of Villiers had each won one game out of their match, we learned in When the Duke Returnsthat Jemma planned to concede the match and not play the final chess game (and thus, not have an affair with Villiers). It still did seem, however, that she would still play her final chess match with her husband (blindfolded and in bed).

Chess is obviously a huge part of Jemma/Elijah/Villiers arc that was started in Desperate Duchesses. Fortunately for us readers, Jemma and Elijah do play out their final match (although as one might imagine, the chess match becomes less important than other things). I tend to think that it is at this point, that Jemma and Elijah truly find each other again. Jemma is a very driven woman – one who hates to lose. She is a master manipulator and seems to try and manage her life much like she manages chess games. Almost everything she has done has been to make Elijah take some type of notice of her – to make him put her above his state duties. But during the match with her husband (when she has to come to terms with being blindfolded), she realizes something critical: “There are times when winning at chess doesn’t matter. She loved Elijah. She loved him with all of her heart – and that meant she wanted him to win. Or rather, she didn’t care. She didn’t have to win every game of chess” (p.244). I saw this as a moment when she matured, and stopped trying to manipulate her husband into becoming what she wanted.

This, of course, isn’t to say that Jemma was the only one who needed to change. Elijah was the one who was caught tupping his mistress on his desk by Jemma barely a month after their wedding (having made love to his wife that very morning). I hadn’t really gotten much of a sense of how this moment had come about or what it had meant to Elijah. While both Jemma and Elijah have been prominent characters in all of the books in this series, we only ever saw this encounter from Jemma’s side – saw the pain it caused her – saw how this event caused Jemma to flee London and stay away from him for 9 years.

Here we learn more about Elijah’s father, Elijah’s frame of mind when he married Jemma and his reactions to having been caught by his wife. Elijah is a man of duty. One who has always aspired to make a difference, and to not be like his father – known to his cronies as Bawdy Beaumont. He is rather offended by the salacious lifestyle of his former best friend, the Duke of Villiers. His relationship with his mistress does indeed make a weird sort of sense. Beyond that, he knows that it was his actions that destroyed his marriage – one of the major reasons that he allows Jemma to leave and stay away for so long. He had been the one who was wrong, and he believed that he had to allow Jemma to leave. He seemed to believe that once she cuckolded him, they might be able to return to their marriage. Yet, Jemma was just as determined not to return until Elijah requested it of her.

And then there is Villiers. He is a fascinating character. I absolutely love his rather bizarrely contentious relationship with Elijah. Although they often act like rivals, they are truly friends and come through for each other when it matters. We learn much more about Villiers and his 6 illegitimate children (although I feel compelled to point out that one of them really isn’t his), and the direction that his life is now taking. I am so happy that his story will be out in late July. I can’t wait to read more.

Anyway, I though this book was extremely well done. I was very nervous about reading it. But, it was a fitting way for Elijah and Jemma to fall in love with each other. Their biggest obstacles were each other and Elijah’s heart condition. Fortunately, they were able to overcome each. I will look forward to reading this one again – probably after Villier’s story when I can read all six in a row!

Read first on May 27, 2009

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Responses

  1. […] This Duchess of Mine – story of Jemma, Duchess of Beaumont and Elijah, Duke of Beaumont (tbp May 2009) […]

  2. […] This Duchess of Mine – Eloisa James […]

  3. […] This Duchess of Mine – Eloisa James […]

  4. […] This Duchess of Mine – Eloisa James […]

  5. Can you tell me why Elijah love his wife Jemma. Also why Jemma love her husband. I think Jemma love because he was handsome and now love him again because dedication to his work and how he want to help the country.


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