The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

As we’ve talked about before – angst is such a personal thing. Generally, particularly in contemporary romance, I avoid it. (Suanne being my notable exception). I find that angst is frequently created by the plot. A lazy author device where horrible incident after incident is thrown at the characters. Their reactions aren’t explained beyond “x just happened so of course this is the reaction.” But we don’t all react the same to stress.

So when an author is spoon-feeding me her character’s reactions with no emotional context I’m resentful and bored. Meredith Duran avoided all of this. There were difficult and harsh events in the story, but they weren’t the center of the upheaval. My feelings – sadness and stress and worry and and love for the characters – came from the characters themselves. Julian and Emma were the strength of the story – its bedrock. Organic sentiments were stirred by them – not by the crap happening to them. It’s a difficult distinction. It involves an author doing work – making characters that I will love and with whom I will connect rather than writing cringe-worthy high-drama that belongs in a soap opera.

I suspect I’ve found something magical in Duran – a truly special author. I’m anticipating reading everything she’s written.

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