I received this book for free from Edelweiss/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Published by Avon on August 22nd 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
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’ve talked before about how much I love Tessa Dare. She wasn’t my gateway into historical romance, but she’s the author that brought back to this genre, so I have a special place in my heart for her books. But, as is often the case, because I so highly adore her books, my expectations can be a bit high. Which leads me to being nervous to read a new book of hers. So I was nervous and dragging my feet a bit with Tessa Dare’s new book. Which was ridiculous, because The Duchess Deal was fantastic, and I loved every minute of it.
The Duchess Deal is about Emma Gladstone, who is now a seamstress. She grew up as a vicar’s daughter, but years ago, her father kicked her out of the house. She’s made a new life for herself, but she’s in a bind now, for the work she spent on creating a wedding dress for the Duke of Ashbury’s intended. When the wedding was canceled, Emma had a wedding dress she didn’t need, and no money to pay her bills. So she goes to Ashbury’s town home wearing the dress, demanding he pay up. And what does Ashbury do? He proposes. Ash has many scares from an accident while he was off fighting for his country. He’s so very bitter and unhappy. But he has to marry to produce an heir. After his engagement falls threw, he’s pretty desperate. And then Emma steps in. So a marriage of convenience takes place, but they both end up with so much more.
Tessa Dare does character creation and development so well. Each character is their own person, with all their own quirky personalities. The heroine, Emma, was fabulous. I loved her first reaction to Ash when he proposes to her. She’s sure he’s totally nuts, but he pursues her, and she agrees (she has some altruistic reasons on why she does agree). Ash can be pretty fierce, and his appearance isn’t easy to look at. Yet Emma NEVER lets Ash walk all over her. She’s scrappy, and pushes when she thinks it’s right. I loved all the hilarious pet names she calls Ash. It always frustrates him, but she does it anyway (in a good natured way).
Ash was definitely a beast at times, but this book is a Beauty and the Beast inspired story. He has quite a few insecurities about his appearance, which is so understandable. And although he growls around, he’s really such a nice guy. Even before Emma got to know him, it was easy to see when his servants loved and cared for him. And once Emma starts to get Ash to open up, well, then I totally fell for him. He’s adorable, almost never using the standard curse words, but using only curses from Shakespeare. It adds so much to his character, and just made me want to give him a hug.
I loved Emma and Ash together so much. They certainly had chemistry, but more than anything I felt like their souls connected. I could tell they were perfect for each other. The supporting cast in The Duchess Deal was particularly brilliant here. From Ash’s servants (particularly Khan) to Emma’s friend Davina, to her new friends Alex, Nicola and Penelope, I loved them all. And then there was Trevor, who Ash meets during his nightly prowls around London. I really hope we get more Trevor. Even Emma’s cat, Breeches, was fantastic!
So basically what I’m saying is that The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare is amazing and you should all go read it right now! There really isn’t anything to dislike about this one. It’s a fantastic start to a new series, and I cannot wait for more.