D=Desperate Duchesses Series by Eloisa James

For D I bring Desperate Duchesses series by Eloisa James. Another series, I know, and this one is also historical romance. 



But my impression of this book stems not from romance. Neither does it originates from Historical Dukes/Duchesses/Gown phenomenon. Although those elements played a very important role, this book stayed with me for Chess.

This is the series of six books for now (seventh book has been released recently, and it’s not included as I’m yet to read it) including the story of Jemma, Duchess of Beaumont. In the first book Jemma, who had been estranged from her husband, Elijah, had returned to him to do her duty of providing the heir. She had been living in Paris before that and had adopted many scandalous ways of them. The first four books revolves around Jemma’s protegees and a few other duchesses and are like any other historical romance.  The thing which makes them stand out is the thread of Jemma’s and Villiers'(Elijah’s estranged best friend) story. This tapestry of the story is so finely woven in the four books that by the time Jemma’s and Villiers’ story came up in fifth and sixth books respectively, I was biting my nails. I had already fallen in love with these two characters. 

Jemma, Villiers and Elijah– three of them are shown as masterminds of chess. While Elijah employs his strategy in Parliament, Jemma and Villiers uses chess as a medium to cure their loneliness. Every book shows the chess game and the moves they make. Each book shows them trying to find the love and friendship in the chess pieces. I remember being obsessed about chess because of these books. I am not a strategist, and I don’t even know the rules of chess, but my house was scattered with new chessboard. I had a glass chessboard, a wooden one, a normal cardboard one. I never played them. Their being around me gave me a sense of peace. This continued till the fifth book. When I finally came to know about Jemma’s happy ending story, my obsession with chess ended. I gave them to the kids to play. A few tears were involved too, but that’s pretty normal. Villiers’ story was the last story of the book I read and it gave me a sense of closure.

The most swoon-worthy idea in these books:

“Chess is the most intimate game in the world. It’s like making love. By the time we finish our first slow game, I will know all his thoughts.”

These are not phenomenal books. Nothing mind shattering happens in the stories, yet  Villiers’ story gives you a sense as if you have just attended the wedding of your best acquaintance. Eloisa James bring forth on page not only the sexual chemistry, but the banter and joy of communication between two characters. 

Disclaimer : These books are raunchy and trashy, but all in good taste. If you need a dose of fluffy happiness in your life, or you want to understand the passion for chess, do read these books. If nothing else matters, read it for Jemma’s story. Her story is one of my favorite historical romance’s story. 


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. njmagas
    Apr 04, 2014 @ 21:52:17

    Oh, historical romance. You and I shared some good times. So many novels purchased from the 25 cent rack in thrift stores. So much inspiration and influence I might always be nervous to credit in my writing career. Still, such a big part of my life.

    I secretly still get a little thrill when I see the cover of a historical romance. 😉


  2. aditisaha26
    Apr 04, 2014 @ 21:54:41

    Oh Somebody released a royal version of “Desperate Housewives” I see.. I loved the show, will possibly love these titles too :p


  3. Avinash Gupta
    Apr 05, 2014 @ 11:19:46

    Oh the Medieval romances …Great post


  4. anna@herding cats & burning soup
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 02:30:57

    I’ve got her on my tbr list. I know so many who love her but never heard her called raunchy or trashy! lol Glad you enjoy them 🙂

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    herding cats & burning soup.


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