DUCHESS IN LOVE
Gina married her childhood friend, Camden, when she was barely out of the schoolroom. She's a duchess in name only, since Cam left her to sculpt in Greece. The marriage was never consummated and now Gina is all grown up, friends with a naughty bunch of married ladies and more than ready to wed her fiancé, Sebastian.
Cam returns to England, prepared to grant Gina an annulment—until he sees the beautiful woman that she has become. Jealousy and possessiveness take hold, and he sets out to win back his duchess.
Eloisa James knows her time period well and has turned this fairly typical plot into a delightful and witty romance centering on Gina and Cam. She also includes several secondary romances and plenty of sizzling dialogue and love scenes, all told with thoroughly modern sensibilities. I found these engaging characters' intelligence and compassion refreshing, and while the plot may not be new, the characters are far from stereotypical, tedious or ordinary. The amusing, witty dialogue will make you smile as you follow Cam's schemes to capture Gina's heart. A unique and delightful tale. SENSUAL (Dec., 400 pp., $6.99)