The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1)
By: Tessa Dare
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
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…
It’s been a while since I’ve read a historical romance so when the first two books in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series recently went on sale, I snatched them up 🙂
Well, that was fun, lol, with equal measures of frustration of how long it took for Ash to get over his own hurt and feelings of worthlessness that was keeping him from falling for Emma completely. What stood out for me and this book was Emma–who she was, what she went through (perhaps especially what she went through)–I thought was a unique character I haven’t really come across in other books in this genre. I really felt for her and her struggles, why she was determined to stand up and protect those who needed help by any means she could. A running theme in this series–and I will mention it in my next book review–is the treatment of women during this period, how easily they are blamed and cast out by no fault of their own save for societal norms. For women to be looked down upon and shamed after being ill-used by their lover and left pregnant and alone…The book does address the injustice of it to some extent.
Ash was also interesting, gives the tale a Beauty and the Beast sort of structure. There was a certain point in this novel where his sotry took an interesting twist–I don’t know if I want to mention it in a spoiler tag or not–that really added to his story and the complexity of what he was struggling with internally because otherwise I thought his story was a bit on the generic side. Emma was far more interesting of the two.
Oh, and the feral cat. Ahahahaha. And Ash’s hilarious staff all rooting for Emma and Ash to end up together.
All in all it was a nice start to a new historical romance series. Emma’s journey was definitely the more compelling of the two, and the introduction of a new circle of friends, all with their own little quirks, means there’s going to be some interesting tales in future installments of the series. I enjoyed Tessa Dare’s other series a lot more–I didn’t laugh as much with this one, as I recall–but nonetheless it was a nice break from the other books I’ve been reading recently.