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Topic: Duke of Shadows / Duran

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Subject: Duke of Shadows / Duran
Date Posted: 8/21/2008 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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What a fantastic book.  Great hero, great heroine, great writing.  Loved the Indian setting for the first half of the book.  Meredith Duran is definitely on my auto-buy list now.  Does she have any more or anything in the works?

 

Can't believe this is her first book!

Date Posted: 8/21/2008 9:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I know, I love that book too.  It's my #1 pick for 2008.  I think she's on her way to great things.  Here's a little blip from her website: www.meredithduran.com/research.html

 There are many fascinating books written about British India, particularly in regard to the events of 1857. Listed below are a few of those which I read when preparing to write The Duke of Shadows. (And if you're interested in 1880s London -- the setting for my next two novels -- then please to be sure to scroll down for another growing bibliography!)

<snip>

For my next two novels, which will be published by Pocket in Summer 2009, I have been busy reading up on the world of 1880s London. Here are tidbits from three of the
primary sources I've consulted.

  • Aristocracy in England, by Adam Badeau. Published in 1886, this firsthand account of London high society is intended for the foreign reader. Badeau, who seems to have been a diplomat or some other highly-placed person (he recounts anecdotal conversations with some of the most famous noblemen of the period), does not appear to have been impressed with the aristocracy. In a tangential screed about the privileges of birth, he informs his readers, "A duke may be a boor or a clown, a duchess may be illiterate or drunken or immoral -— and there have been instances of all this within the last twenty years... There are men of the highest rank who turn palaces into dog-kennels and consort with pugilists and yet marry into ducal families; and I have seen tipsy duchesses dance after dinner with shawls and castanets before ambassadors and Prime Ministers, when but for their rank they would not have been tolerated."
  • World of London, by Count Vasili. Published in 1885, this is another firsthand account of English high society, viewed through marginally kinder eyes. The author, commenting on the widespread animosity in England for the landed classes, predicts the coming abolishment of the aristocracy, to be preceded only by the imminent demise of the House of Lords: "If the days of the House of Lords are not yet numbered, its years most decidedly are. It is an ancient edifice that rests only upon the shifting sands of privilege and of class interests; and as slight storms have already made it shake and tremble, a tempest will completely overthrow it." The author is also thoroughly unimpressed with musicales: "As for the piano, it is understood to be a machine to set people talking, and as soon as the first notes are heard, conversation begins on all sides, and is only checked by the last chord. I heard a lady say to another after an artist had played very brilliantly, 'She made such a noise we couldn't hear ourselves speak.'"
  • Sidelights on English Society, by EC Grenville Murray, published in 1881. Murray is much obsessed with the figure of the fashionable flirt, devoting an entire volume of his opus to detailing her canny ways: "At Ascot and Goodwood, the Eton and Harrow Match at Lord’s, the parties fines at the Orleans Club, and the cotillons at balls…she studies men for hours at a time. During Ascot week, for instance, the chaperon probably hires a lodge near the course, goes to witness four days’ racing, and gives little dinners every evening to pleasant acquaintances whom she has met in the Grand Strand. Some of these inveigle the Flirt into betting. It used to be the custom for girls to bet gloves, but this has grown tame, and a girl now wagers hard money, or ‘discretions’ —which mean jewelry or a private settlement of a long milliner’s bill. Men do not like a betting-girl, and many a smart miss has thrown a good matrimonial chance away by unguardedly taking a bet which has been offered to prove her."
  •  

    As you may have gathered, I really love my research. If you know of a book that I simply must read about this period, please do drop me a line with your suggestion!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I presume she's researching/writing now. I sure hope so, because i can't wait to see what she does next:)



Last Edited on: 8/21/08 9:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/23/2008 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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I have that book on my WL because of your reco, Kim. I'm dying to start it!

Date Posted: 8/23/2008 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Aaah! I just bought it and can't wait to start.  Right now I'm loving Delicious by Sherry Thomas........I love a good book streak!

Date Posted: 8/23/2008 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2007
Posts: 1,180
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I loved the book as well.  I got it from Kim.  Definitely recommended!!  It was the first book I actually wrote a review on PBS.  (Trying to write reviews here since I have learned you can't rely on Amazon and I know I appreciate others opinions.)   Happy to know she is working on 2 books for next year.  1880s London - Victorian era?  Woo-hooo!

Date Posted: 8/25/2008 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 5,337
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I loved it also. Couldn't put it down. Ready to read more from her.

Date Posted: 8/25/2008 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 527
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I REALLY enjoyed that book too, it was very dark in places but a great adventure. It's cool that she won a contest and got the book published- i hope she has a deal and will write a lot more! (If you had read the back cover you would have seen it was her first novel.)

Date Posted: 8/25/2008 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2006
Posts: 1,099
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I just read it this weekend and really enjoyed it!  I can't wait to see what her next books are like!

Date Posted: 8/25/2008 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
Posts: 1,051
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Hmm, sounds interesting. I put it on my WL.

Date Posted: 8/29/2008 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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I'm trying........and trying.........and it's really, really boring.  Can anyone inspire me to go further?  I just don't see a conflict, other than the fact that her betrothed is cheating on her.  It just seems like the same scenes of her running into the duke are just so repetitive.  Any thoughts?

Date Posted: 8/29/2008 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Monica - if she's still just at the point in the story where they've run into each other a few times, you haven't gotten into the meaty parts yet.  I assume that every book I read is going to bore me for a chapter or two, and always allow the author at least 3 chapters to set the hook - as it were:P  I don't think this one dragged for me at the beginning, but the beginning of it was a little depressing.  Emma's parents are dead and she feels guilty for surviving when they died.  Her reputation is in tatters, because she had the nerve to be rescued by a boat full of *gasp* sailors - men:P  She gets to India and realizes pretty quickly that her fiance is an utter cad.  I think I'd be packing my seabag at this point & hunting up those sailors:P  It gets good pretty soon after this though.  Conflict-wise, all hell is about to break loose, and the pace doesn't settle back down until the setting moves back to London - & then the conflict becomes all internal.  Give it a chance.  Put it down if you have to & come back at it later.  It really is a wonderful book.  It absolutely tore my heart out, and it takes something exceptional to engage me to that extent.

Date Posted: 8/30/2008 8:29 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Thanks Kim -- that's what I needed to hear.  Basically, I sat on the beach and read the first 2 chapters and felt like nothing was going on and nothing looked like it was coming on the horizon.  I blanked out on chapter 3.  I think I should put it down and try again later.  After Sherry Thomas, I just thought this book should get me from page one........she spoiled me ;p



Last Edited on: 8/31/08 12:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/31/2008 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2008
Posts: 4,433
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I really like it too but the ending was a little disappointing for me. The sceond part the book barley had any romance. I wish there was little more to it, like I want to know what Julian was thinking because towards the end we got more of what Emma was thinking. Also, we never really found out what happened with Julian over the 4 years period. I guess I just wish there were at least an epilogue.

Oh well, the book is still good for debut but I'm not sure if I want to keep it.



Last Edited on: 8/31/08 4:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 9/1/2008 7:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Yay! Somebody just granted me this book.

Date Posted: 9/2/2008 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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Yay! Somebody just granted me this book.

That would be me!  Hope you enjoy - I dropped it in the mail this morning.