AN AFFAIR BEFORE CHRISTMAS
James is brilliant. Her
stories are dazzling, her characters intelligent, her multilayered plots complex, her dialogue witty and sophisticated, and her storytelling superb. In three unique plotlines she explores the aspects of love. This depth is why James is one
of the finest writers of the genre: She makes you believe in love and miracles. She doesn't just write about one couple rekindling their love; she turns her attention to several couples. It's overwhelming, joyful, painful -- and James' novel is a masterpiece.
It's a new season for the Desperate Duchesses, and of course there's a scandal -- a duel between Jemma's brother and the Duke of Villiers. But there's more. Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont, is reunited with Poppy, the Duchess of Fletcher.
Four years ago Fletch, the Duke of Fletcher, and Poppy fell in love in Paris, but that love appears to be lost. Poppy hopes to build a new life, and Fletch plans to woo her back. Meanwhile, Jemma and her husband live almost separate lives. Their only pleasure comes from their chess matches. And then there's the Duke of Villiers, who's healing from his wound and near death when Caroline helps his recovery by befriending him. Their companionship grows into something more. (Avon, Nov., 400 pp., $7.99)