When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules… Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do. His terms are simple: - They will be husband and wife by night only. - No lights, no kissing. - No questions about his battle scars. - Last, and most importantly…Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again. But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own: - They will have dinner together every evening. - With conversation. - And unlimited teasing. - Last, and most importantly…Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…
I can't help it. As far as I'm concerned, Tessa Dare can do no wrong. (And to the person out there in the book community who first brought her to my attention, I will love you forever.)
But no, seriously, I think Tessa Dare has ruined me to all other historical romances. Funny, heartbreaking, tender, steamy as hell. You shouldn't have to say "strong heroines" anymore, but there you go, and there they are. I just can't get enough. And she did not disappoint with The Duchess Deal. I'm a bit of a sucker for the marriage-of-convenience trope, so this one sucked me in from the get go. Emma turns up in a terrifyingly hideous wedding dress just as Ashbury is writing to his solicitor (or whatever) that he needs to find a bride. Ashbury's proposal is pretty terrible, but Emma's got some convincing reasons to accept.
Both Ashbury and Emma are flawed but moving characters. Their stories and their hurts moved me. But so did their romance, which is off the charts good. They have misunderstandings but, contrary to the way most would write them, they address them and move on. The Duchess Deal is funny! And hot! There is also a wonderful group of odd female friends (one with a tendency to adopt strange animals) and I'm hoping hoping hoping that we see them in future books. I may have given the book a fangirl-5-stars, but if you love historical romance in general, and if a Tessa Dare book has ever made you sigh in joy or stay up all night because you couldn't put it down, then check it out.
Should you read it? I may have given the book a fangirl-5-stars, but if you love historical romance in general, and if a Tessa Dare book has ever made you sigh in joy or stay up all night because you couldn't put it down, then you should read it immediately.
Published August 22, 2017 by Avon