My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass
Synopsis (from 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…
Even though it’s cheesy, this story really gets off on the right foot with its unusual meet-cute. It felt a bit like the pilot episode of Friends, when Ross whines, “I just want to be married again,” and in walks Rachel in a wedding gown! From there, Tessa Dare really capitalizes on surprises, charm, and witty banter. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of intrigue, mayhem, and plots occurred in this story! Both protagonists are allowed to state their desires and learn to work with one another, not against the other. I thought this story had some fun twists on the “bodice ripper” genre, especially with Ashbury’s perfunctory rules about sex. It was wonderful to watch Ashbury and Emma tear down one another’s walls and fall in love.
Ashbury and Emma are a delightful pair! I appreciated that Ashbury, who is quite the brooding romantic hero, is given very real reasons for his grouchy demeanor. I loved reading about Ashbury’s attempts to keep his growing affection for Emma in check and his determination to stay away from prying eyes. And then Emma somehow manages to be courageous, determined, and kind-hearted all at the same time. I found her backstory to be believable and heartbreaking, and all I wanted was for her to be happy. And when Ashbury and Emma are happy together? Fireworks appear.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! This was a charming read from start to finish. You’ll be grinning like an idiot and chuckling to yourself the whole way through! This is also a very quick read and is a great book to pick up over the weekend or in between heavier and more emotional stories. I would highly recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for a good place to start with historical romance.
This book is…
laugh out loud funny
a quick read
Page Count: 271
Available here from Book Depository.
Have you read The Duchess Deal? What romance novel would you recommend?