An Affair Before Christmas
by Eloisa James
I haven't read an Eloisa James book since her first release way back in the day, but picked this one up in an effort to revisit her writing...oh and how I rue the day I decided to do that. Although the cover on this book is stunning, James' attempt at interlinking 3 plots together isn't.
An Affair Before Christmas is long because there are three stories moving along in it. I could spend the whole review giving plot summary, but the gist is:
1) The major story is for Lady Perdita, known as "Poppy" to most and "Fletch", the Duke of Fletcher. They may still be in love since marrying, but are having a hard time of it because their sex life is non communicative, uncomfortable, and therefore BAD. Poppy also has a controlling mama who Fletch can't seem to stomach, but won't deal with either.
2) The Duke and Duchess of Beaumont (I think they are from a previous book) are arguing over which one of them cheated worse than the other one and who was hurt the most by their infidelities.
3) The Duke of Villiers is very ill from an injury received in a duel (also from a previous book I assume). By mistake, a pretty woman who is well on the shelf, begins to sit with the Duke. While there she meets his heir. Both end up vying for her attention while she has trouble deciding who she likes the most.
Maybe someone who had read the other books in this series can enjoy all the stories more, but the flaws I found in the novel will speak to any reader regardless. First and foremost is that the book is just plain disjointed! With all the stuff going on I had trouble remembering who was who and what the heck happened from chapter to chapter. I have read other books that shared story arcs, but those were woven together to make a tapestry. These were just threads tacked together with page numbers.
My next major issue was with our lead story of Poppy and Fletch. All in all I just wanted them both to DIE! The constant misunderstanding and non-communication drove me mad. Poppy was a total prude and pushed around by her mother. Fletch seemed flat and didn't do anything about Poppy's mother either. Every time the author brought me back to their story arc I had to force myself to continue reading. I tried to understand what they were both going through, but my misery at having to read about their misery almost made me ill.
The other two plots were far more interesting and if I had read the previous books they may have made this book worth reading. As someone new to the series I felt like I was missing out on undercurrents I should have known more about. There is a part of me that thinks these parts of the book were more interesting just because Poppy and Fletch's part was so bad though...
Bottom Line: Ugh. I've read worse books, but not many worse.
“A dull disjointed effort from a well established author.”
November 2007, 400 pages
Magic under the mistletoe . . .
One spectacular Christmas, Lady Perdita Selby, known to her friends and family as Poppy, met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was the perfect match for the innocent, breathtakingly beautiful young Englishwoman, and theirs was the most romantic wedding she had ever seen. Four years later, Poppy and the duke have become the toast of the ton . . . but behind closed doors the spark of their love affair has burned out.
Unwilling to lose the woman he still lusts after, the duke is determined to win back his beguiling bride's delectable affections . . . and surpass the heady days of first love with a truly sinful seduction.