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Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 31, 2015
“I wouldn’t marry a single one of you . . . even if I were desperate! Even if you were the only men left in all England!”
THE STORY: At fifteen years of age, Emilia (“Mia”) Gwendolyn Carrington fell in love with Evander Septimus Brody, the future Duke of Pinder. When a love poem that Mia wrote Vander became public, Mia was humiliated by Vander and his friends reactions. Mia swore that she wouldn’t marry Vander if he were the last man in England. Thirteen years later, Mia is desperate and decides to blackmail Vander into marriage. Vander agrees to submit to the marriage, but decrees that he will only spend four nights a year in bed with his wife – and only when she begs. What Vander doesn’t know is that Mia has a secret as to why she wants marriage to Vander and it doesn’t have anything to do with wanting to spend her life with Vander. What Vander doesn’t expect is that he might be the one begging for the four nights.

OPINION: Warning! Spoilers included: FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE begins with utter heartbreak for Mia. She is a woman who ultimately doesn’t believe that she will find her happy ending because of her looks. Vander’s rejection of her when she was fifteen creates a deep scar for Mia. While she insists that she will never forgive Vander, the truth is that she obviously still loves him years later. She doesn’t really plan on having a real marriage with Vander because she doesn’t’ believe herself worthy. She is merely desperate to protect her young nephew. Mia is a strong woman who has been heartbroken again and again. She is willing to sacrifice herself for her nephew’s benefit. I loved her as a heroine. Strong, determined and yet vulnerable. I immediately connected with her vulnerable and I smiled and her nerve and determination to not hurt Vander even as she blackmails him.

Vander is wonderful. I loved him in THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X and is he is adorably clueless in this book. While he is blackmailed into marriage, one gets the sense that he doesn’t fight that hard. He is offered a way out by his friends, but instead he marries Mia. He mistakenly believes that she wants to marry him because she loves him so much (not knowing about her nephew) and is dumbfounded when he realizes that he is mistaken. Arrogant and yet adorably sweet. Vander is a hero that just makes me sigh in appreciation. The best parts of his character are demonstrated through his relationship with Mia’s nephew. I loved how immediately accepting and fatherly he is with the nephew.

The relationship between Mia and Vander is sweet and romantic and at times funny and tragic. Several times Mia and Vander almost got together and then were torn apart by their fears. This book demonstrates how precious their relationship is because so many times they could have been torn apart. By the end of this book, Vander is determined to be self-sacrificing but then realizes that he wants Mia no matter what. He wants her enough to fight for her and no one has ever fought for Mia before.

The writing in this book is lively and clever and deeply emotional. James has a wonderful ability to make her characters complicated and witty but not foolish. The book has numerous “Easter eggs” of references to cultural touchstones that readers can tease out and appreciate if they want but the book is accessible if a reader wants to concentrate only on the story told. In the same manner, James sprinkles references to prior characters and books that will please fans but do not exclude new readers.

This is a book that I loved reading the first time and am sure that I am going to read again and again.

WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of THREE WEEKS OF LADY X and A DUKE OF HER OWN will be pleased to see appearances by the main characters from those books.

FINAL DECISION: I loved this book. Deeply emotional, funny and complicated, FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE is the story of two people who were always meant for one another and had a long road to find one another.

CONNECTED BOOKS: FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE is the eighth book in the Desperate Duchesses series and the second book in the sub-series Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers. This book can be read as a standalone without missing anything from previous books in the series. Vander, however, appears in THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X and reading that book will give readers the most complete view of Vander.

STAR RATING: I give FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE 4.5 stars.
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