REVIEW: TESSA DARE ✮ THE DUCHESS DEAL

REVIEW: TESSA DARE ✮ THE DUCHESS DEAL

REVIEW: TESSA DARE ✮ THE DUCHESS DEALThe Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Also by this author: The Governess Game
Published by HarperCollins on August 22nd 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Regency
Pages: 384
Goodreads

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…

THE DUCHESS DEAL

 

Girl Meets Duke #1

by

Tessa Dare

 

✮✮✮ ALL OF THE STARS ✮✮✮

 

Ladies (and gents) – this made the list of my 2017 favorites. I knew after the first couple of pages that this book would be special but the more I advanced the more it became obvious what a wonderful story Tessa Dare has created with The Duchess Deal.

For once I’ll forgo the summary because the blurb says it all:

 

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…




Emma is a spirited young woman with a huge capacity for love and compassion. When she arrives at the Duke’s house all she wants is to be paid for her labor that went into the creation of the wedding gown for Ash’s former fiancée. She is facing a man covered in burn scars who proposes to marry her because he needs an heir.

He had to be joking. “You can’t be asking me to marry you.”
He sighed with annoyance. “I am a duke. I’m not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It’s a different thing entirely.”

Ash can’t stomach the hunt for a bride – he can’t even stomach his own face and body in the mirror. When the young seamstress enters his house he knows she is the solution to his problems. He doesn’t want this cousin to inherit the title and all that it entails so he needs an heir of his own. It is  supposed to be a marriage of convenience and as soon as Emma is with child she is to live in a house in the country. Neither of them anticipated how their mutual attraction would change the course of their lives.

These two characters were made for each other. Both of them have ulterior motives for the marriage, both of them try to stay detached. And of course both of them fail. Emma is a wonderful heroine who does what the thinks is right. She isn’t intimidated by the duke which Ash finds rather curious and his admiration for the young woman grows.
Emma finds beauty in everything, and especially in the bitter, cynical young duke. I loved how she accepted him, how there was never a question that she desired him for the man he was with all his flaws, physical and character-related. With her selfless, kind and sweet mind I was completely charmed by her. Her sass, the endearments she found for Ash were comical.

“Would you like more sauce, sweeting?”
His fingers strangled the stem of his wineglass. She could practically hear the grapes calling for help. She hoped that was a good sign. “If you don’t cease that nonsense,” he said, “you will regret it.”
“Is that so, my heart?”

“What about ‘precious’?” she suggested.
“No.”
“‘Angel’?”
“God, no.”
“‘Muffin’?”
In response to that, he hit the shuttlecock so hard, it sailed all the way to the back wall and thwacked one of his ancestors right in the powdered wig. She cheered. “Well done, my precious angel muffin.”
“This stops,” he said. “Now.”

Ash…can I say that he is probably one of my all-time favorite HR characters ever? The retorts he volleys back at Emma had me laughing out loud so many times, I stopped counting at some point. Life wasn’t kind to him until the sweet little seamstress entered his life. He suffered horrific injuries during war and the scars make women and children run from him terrified so it’s only natural that he keeps people at arms’ length. But when Emma comes into his life she shows him that he is desirable and good and soon he knows that if he lets her go his life will become darker again. He wants to protect her and hold her close.

“You are wet, and you are cold. You don’t like being cold. Therefore, I despise you being cold. I would go about murdering raindrops and setting fire to the clouds, but that would take slightly more than an hour. Perhaps even two. So we’re here, and you will cease complaining about it.”

Emma tries so hard to make him believe her that he is more than his scars and it was incredibly sweet to see the ice-wall around Ash’s hard thaw. His indignation, arrogance and snark but also his big heart, deep hurt and vulnerability make him one of my most favorite and swooniest heroes in Historical Romance.

“You’re here,”he repeated, taking her hand and drawing it against his chest, right above his pounding heartbeat. “In my heart. Somehow you crashed your way into it when I wasn’t looking. The same way you barged into my library, I suppose. But you’re here now, inside. Emma, you’re the very life of me.”

One thing I need to mention that was incorrect (and I do that because of my Viennese ancestry) – Wienerbrød isn’t an Austrian pastry, it’s Danish. However, that’s no biggie, I just wanted to mention it for the sake of authenticity.

Tessa Dare really brought these characters to life. I could feel the whole range of emotions these two went through in every word and it’s a testament to this author’s writing abilities. I have read some of Ms. Dare’s books before but I think this is my favorite so far. The smart banter was one of my highlights. There is a whole range of potential future heroines, all of them with their own quirks and I am already salivating for the next book in this series!

 

 

 

 


Follow Vanilla & Spice Books

  

 

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: