Summary from Goodreads:
In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .
As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.
And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.
Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and… Heh.
Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?
I’ve have really been enjoying historical romances lately, and I’ve been trying out new-to-me authors. First it was Sarah MacLean, and now I read something by Tessa Dare. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Dare’s novels, so when I saw Romancing the Duke available on Edelweiss, I requested it straight away. This was such a good decision, because I absolutely loved Romancing the Duke. If Dare’s other novels are like this one, I can’t wait to dive in.
The biggest reason I adored this book so much was my absolute love for both Izzy and Ransom (although I think his name is ridiculous). I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. Izzy is almost impossible not to relate to. She’s quite independent and intelligent, however she’s looked-over by men, she’s most definitely not wealthy, and she’s not gorgeous. Since her father’s passing, Izzy is pretty much destitute, and struggling to stay afloat. When she learns that she has been left a castle, albeit a castle almost in ruins, she’s shocked but elated. The previous owner of the castle, Ransom (who also happens to be a wealthy duke) is not happy about Izzy’s arrival, however, and they butt heads.
Ransom hasn’t had an easy life, either, despite being a duke. His father wouldn’t have won any father-of-the-year awards, that’s for sure. Ransom grew up to be a reserved man, but one who expects to get his own way. However, after a severe injury he’s secluded himself to Gostley Castle, the castle that Izzy has now become the owner of.
Ransom and Izzy’s first meeting is a memorable one, and one of my favorite scenes in the whole book. Even though they are both determined to prove they are the rightful owner of Gostley Castle, it’s abundantly clear they’ve got chemistry. And that chemistry, naturally, grows into a loving relationship. I just loved seeing these two characters fall for each other.
The real stars are definitely Izzy and Ransom, but Dare fills Romancing the Duke with wonderful secondary characters, and a beautiful setting. I’ve never wanted to live in a run-down castle, as I have while reading Romancing the Duke. Even with it’s vermin infested rooms, and it’s crumbling walls, I wanted to stay in Gostley Castle. It practically had it’s own personality, and I loved it. And the Moranglian Army was hilarious to read about. They’re like a Regency Era traveling Comic Con. Ransom’s valet, Duncan, and Miss Pelham were wonderful additions as well.
I cannot explain enough how much I enjoyed Romancing the Duke. It was a wonderful book to start my journey into Tessa Dare’s books. Romancing the Duke has my favorite things in an historical romance: comedy, amazing main characters with lots of chemistry, a great story, and an amazing setting. And it most definitely will not be my last Tessa Dare book.