Where does loyalty lie? To the past, family, tradition, a profession, mission, aspiration, country? Romance fiction often pits loyalties against love. Will the romantic suspense hero mitigate danger and distance to be with the heroine? The HEA says so. Will the duke forego class distinction to marry the spinster-governess? The HEA proves it. The greater the loyalty stakes, the greater the sacrifice for love, the greater the promise for a world where “impediments to true love” see no admittance.
No one portrays the agony of divided loyalties and the grace of their reconciliation than Meredith Duran. Hero and heroine, caught in history’s tides, are bound by class, status, national, or religious identity, or economic circumstance. Tension permeates scenes between hero and heroine as they struggle to resolve newfound feelings, the fidelity they exact, and demands on their loyalty by the groups, or creeds to which they belong. The HEA promises: in the heroine and hero’s union, a new world, a better, more hopeful, more just, more joyful one.
Duran broke into the romance scene with her 2008 début, Duke of Shadows, the novel that introduced her love-tales of divided loyalties. The hero, Julian Sinclair, embodies two worlds in his Anglo-Indian origins. Julian exhibits the sang-froid of the man who adroitly steers two conflicting claims on his identity. Deliciously, the only one who shakes his self-possession is English heroine, Emmaline Parker. It is a great moment when she challenges him as they flee a Delhi attack, “And your loyalties … are they uncertain as well?”
[Ours aren't to Meredith Duran!]