Necessary Scenes

Immediately after reading Meredith Duran’s Bound By Your Touch, I started Eloisa James’s This Duchess of Mine, the penultimate book in the Desperate Duchesses series. The books only have two things in common: One, I enjoyed them very much; and two, the love scenes were absolutely necessary to the books as a whole.

The subject of love scenes comes up now and then in discussions about romance. I’ve always said that a love scene is always a scene. Its obligations are the same as any other scene’s: to move the story forward. If any scene fails to do that, it doesn’t belong in the book. The scenes in Bound By Your Touch and This Duchess of Mine didn’t necessarily move the external plot forward, but they changed things emotionally. That, or they showed how things had changed. They were necessary for the emotional plot.

That excellence makes me eager to read both their next books. Happily, both of them — Duran’s Written on Your Skin and James’s A Duke of Her Own — are due out next Tuesday. Which means the books I read this week have one more thing in common.

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