Bits and bobs, but mainly Eloisa James

Suzanne Brockmann‘s posted a tiny excerpt from her upcoming release “Force of Nature” (August 2007).  It’s a Jules-Robin scene *grin*.  I do like Jules – I hope Ms Brockmann gives him a HEA soon!

31ps9cpqyol__aa_sl160_.jpg21qh6weevxl__aa_sl160_.jpgI posted this on Angie‘s blog, but Charlaine Harris‘ Sookie Stackhouse series has just been picked up by a UK publisher, and they’ve given her a very different type of cover to the cartoon-like ones in the US (UK cover on the left, US on the right).  

For some reason, the UK cover seems very YA to me.  Maybe it’s because the female on the cover looks like a teenager.  Then, of course, you look closer and realise that there are skulls in the background.  Eeeep.  I think I prefer the US covers – they convey the humour and quirkiness of this series a lot better than the UK ones.  The UK cover does signal “paranormal”, but maybe more a dreamy-type paranormal, if that makes sense.

What else?  I’m on a Eloisa James mini-glom – it started off with me trying to find her latest release at Borders, not succeeding, and picking up “Potent Pleasures” and “Duchess in Love” instead (both books are the first of a series).

I picked PP up because of the intriguing premise: the heroine sleeps with the hero at a masked ball, meets him a couple of years later amidst rumours that he’s impotent – she obviously knows otherwise!  What happens next?

What I didn’t realise after I finished reading was that “Potent Pleasures” was the first historical romance Ms James ever wrote.  I went to her website (which is good, btw), and read the behind-the-scenes info on this book.  Interestingly, even though PP was her first romance, it came out in hardcover – methinks her publisher must have really liked her! 

Ms James also posted an article (you have to register to read, though it’s free and quick) on the reader response to this book – she seems to be one of those authors that divide readers’ opinions quite strongly (more on that later!).  What I found really interesting though, is that she appears to have made significant revisions to PP prior to its paperback publication, mainly to correct historical anachronisms.

And I say, thank goodness.  Because I loved the book.  Yes, it revelled in the Big Misunderstanding – heck, I believe there were several – but it worked.  I loved Charlotte and Alex, and their romance.  But if she had left the historical inaccuracies in the book… okay, I don’t care if men wore pyjamas back in those days, but Hookers’ Balls?!! That would have pulled me right out of the story (if you’re wondering, they were renamed Cyprians’ Balls).  Sure, there were rough edges, but really, for a debut novel, it was brilliant.

And why I bought “Duchess in Love”?  Because of the excerpt on the inside front cover:

“My God,” he said appreciatively, “who is that beautiful woman?”

“Which?”

“The one over there, dancing with her husband.”

Stephen leaned to the left so he could see and chuckled.  “Why do you ask?”

“She’d make a lovely Aphrodite,” Cam said dreamily.  “She’s a scandal, though, isn’t she?  I think she’s going to eat her husband alive, right there on the dance floor.”

Stephen straightened and the humor disappeared from his face. “That isn’t her husband,” he said flatly.

“No?”

“No.”  He cleared his throat.

“You are her husband.”

How could you not buy the book after reading that?  Again, I liked it, but out of the two, I preferred PP.  I’ve now ordered the rest of the books from Amazon.  

I mentioned earlier the divided opinions on Ms James’ books.  Well, there was the heated debate on “The Taming of the Duke” mistaken identity plot, but I, for one, really liked the Essex sisters quartet. 

Her latest release “Desperate Duchesses” got a bit of a mauling at AAR, but you know what?  I really enjoyed it.  Especially the tiny twist at the end.  I think that you’ve to be in the right mood for an Eloisa James book.  She focuses so strongly on ensemble-type stories that if you want a straightforward book that focuses just on the hero and heroine romance all the way through, you’re not going to be satisfied.  Yes, she may have spent slightly too many pages setting up the backstory, but after reading “Much Ado About You” (the first in the Essex Sisters quartet), that was what I was expecting.

I’m slightly disappointed the Georgian-era aspect didn’t come through that strongly.  I mean, when I read “These Old Shades” (Georgette Heyer) or any of Jo Beverley’s “Malloren” books, I just know it’s a Georgian.  In comparison, this is, well, almost restrained.  And this is probably just me, but I kept on mentally comparing her Duke of Villiers to Ms Heyer’s Duke of Avon (the dark hero in “These Old Shades”), and unfortunately, he came off a poor second.

But I’m still glad I bought “Desperate Duchesses” – maybe it’s not an A, but it’s definitely a B, and one of the better historicals I’ve read this year so far.  I want to know what happens to the Duke and Duchess of Beaumont’s marriage and I’ll be getting the rest of the books in the series.

Errr… this was meant to be a quick general post, but somehow turned into an Eloisa James ramble.  I think I’m a bit of a EJ fangirl now.  Oh well, am going to bed now – good night all!

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