Duran, Meredith. The Duke of Shadows. New York: Pocket Star Books, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-6703-5. Print List Price: $7.99.
I picked this one up due to seeing that one of my book club friends enjoyed Meredith Duran’s work, and wanting to broaden my horizons and look for romances that dealt with more cultural issues. But while I liked the fact that Duran realistically recreated what it might have been like to live through the Indian Rebellion of 1857, I found myself less and less engaged in the romance, especially in part two, until I just gave up.
I did like that Duran interweaves the perspectives people had of mixed-race people in the 19th century, and we see how it affects Julian and his interactions with others. And the heroine is intelligent, and we see that in the years after she returns to England, Emma becomes a painter, taking inspiration from the atrocities she witnessed, which is what reconnects her with Julian after they were initially parted. But I felt that the two parts felt a little too disjointed, and I had a hard time finding anything to like or even empathize with in the “London Julian.”
I still think that some people would like this if they enjoy a slightly darker romance that has a strong focus on a historical event, but at the moment, it just wasn’t for me.