"The Duke of Shadows"
by Meredith Duran
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I read this book because of all the great reviews of Meredith Duran's writing. But after struggling to finish, I realized this book was just not for me. Duran is an excellent writer, and wrote a very well developed plot, but I didn't care for the descriptive violence that permeated the book.
At the start of the book, Emma Martin has been through a tragedy, the first of many, and emerged wanting to truly live life. Julian Sinclair, the Duke of Auburn, feels at home neither in India or in London, as a son of both worlds. The last thing they expected was to be caught up in the political turmoil between Britain and India with only each other. They survive the unthinkable together, but ultimately are separated by the political unrest. Years later, they are reunited in London, only to discover how much they both have changed.
The book is split into two parts, and the first part was more promising than the second. The second book didn't tell me enough from Julian's viewpoint, the only side of the story I saw was Emma's. Julian was downright mean and cruel to Emma, and since I didn't see his point of view, I didn't understand his motives. Honestly, his cruelty might have been the breaking point for me, where I just completely stopped enjoying this book. In the first part, Julian was loving, caring, and kind to Emma, and wanted her to know how much he loved her. In the second part, he was constantly mocking her and condescending. The only part of the second half that I liked was the storyline with Emma's paintings. She worked through her grief by painting the horrors that she had seen. I didn't think the cold, dark secret she was keeping was something that she couldn't share with Julian after everything that they had been through together.
I am a sucker for a reunion story, and the actual reunion scene in the London ballroom was by far my favorite scene of the book. This is the Julian that I wanted to see through the entire book, so caught up in his love for Emma that the rest of the world disappears.
This book is very dark and filled with tragedy and violence. When the couple does let their love show, the result is beautiful and tender. However, these moments are just too few in my opinion.