Monday, August 21, 2017

Early Review of The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare

Title: The Duchess Deal
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Girl Meets Duke
Format: Hardcover; 288 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 22, 2017)
ISBN-10: 006269720X
ISBN-13: 978-0062697202
Author's Website:
Notes: I received a copy of the ARC at the annual RWA conference in Orlando.

Once upon a time a young seamstress, down-on-her-luck, decided to take matters into her own hands. She put on the wedding dress that had been ordered but never paid for, marched into her client's ex-fiance's house, and demanded payment. Little did she know the man, a Duke, would make her a  proposition--one she'd find she couldn't refuse...

 "Here is your choice, Miss Gladstone. I can pay you the two pounds, three shillings." (...) "Or," he said, "I can make you a duchess."
This is an example of Tessa Dare at her finest.The Duke of Ashbury, was injured during the war. He bears most of his battle scars on his face and many have trouble meeting his gaze as they are unable to see past his scars. Since returning from the war he's lost his fiance, become a recluse, and moonlights in the evening as a vigilante earning himself the moniker 'the Monster of Mayfair'. He knows a love match is not in his future so when Emily Gladstone barges into his study and doesn't cower, isn't appalled by his appearance, appears to be of genteel background, and is rather pretty, even in the horrendously gaudy gown his former fiance chose, he decides she's the one that he wants.

Emily is a strong young woman and a talented seamstress. For six years she's had to fend for herself and has done rather well considering her circumstances. When the duke makes his offer she doesn't immediately accept thinking it to be some kind of ruse to make her his mistress. When he persists in his pursuit, she finally takes him seriously, but timid she is not. She gives as good as she gets and doesn't let him get away with bullying her. She challenges him every step of the way and slowly coaxes and lures him out of his self imposed isolation and back into the land of the living.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. It was a deliciously sweet and sexy romance that had elements reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. It's a book about seeing beyond the facade one presents to the world and seeing into the heart and soul of the individual who lurks beneath. I loved the way Emily handled Ash and the way she gently teased and coaxed the beast right out of him. While he tried not to show it, Ash had a lot of pent up anger and emotions he needed to work through. In some ways he mourned the loss of who he used to be. It took Emily to show him that he still had much to live for and while his outside appearance might have changed he was still the same man on the inside. I absolutely adored this one. On the Lisarenee Romance Reading Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I very much enjoyed this one.

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