Four Nights With the Duke by Eloisa James

21331590Romancing Mr. Bridgerton meets Pride and Prejudice.

Mia wants to save her nephew from his evil guardian, and to do that she has to get married. Now. She’s been jilted at the altar and has no other prospects. She decides to blackmail her childhood crush–the same crush who (years ago) found the love poem she’d written in his honor and mocked it horribly. He agrees to marry her, believing she’s madly in love with him, but says he’ll only “give” her four nights a year–fine by her. She doesn’t plan for *any* nights.

But drat him, he’s wonderful with her nephew and seduces her to his bed.
And darn her, she’s not the same pathetic girl who had a mad crush on him years ago.

With their expectations get reversed, they have to renegotiate everything: how they see each other, what they think of love, and exactly how many nights it takes to make up happily ever after.

I loved this book. I have only read a handful of “five star romances” –but this is definitely one. It has the elements that I love a romance to have: an intelligent heroine who doesn’t see beauty as her currency, an arrogant hero who makes the wrong assumptions about her at first but comes to love her for exactly who she is. Fiercely. And true love conquers all.

But what sets it apart?

1. It’s funny. Dinners with Vander’s Uncle, Chuffy, had me cracking up.

2. It’s generous and meta and self-aware. The character is a romance writer, so her notes and correspondence with editors make up the inter-chapter materials.  This is generous because it’s a writing-process snapshot. It’s meta for obvious reasons. But it’s also self-aware because both Eloisa James and Mia are admitting the tropes of their genre, laughing a bit at themselves and choosing to enjoy it all anyhow.

3. She named the dogs after Rowling’s house-elves. Enough Said.

(Also–squee–she retweeted my compliment about her book and tweeted a thank-you back).

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