Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

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It’s always a great pleasure to read any one of Tessa Dare’s books, not the least of which is the witty banter between her main characters, and her prose, which is also witty, refreshing and almost poetic.

“I’ll take you home. My carriage is just outside.”
“Thank you, I prefer to walk.”
“More convenient still. My feet are even closer than the carriage.”

*****

He’d gone beyond anger, sailed straight past rage, and crashed into a place of primal fury, where blood ran in colors he hadn’t known to exist.

*****

They found themselves alone, the three of them. Emma, the duke, and a thick, uncomfortable silence.

And there are lots more peppered throughout the entire story.

THE DUCHESS DEAL is a reimagining of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast in historical England, where the Beast is not a prince, but a duke (Ash) who got his scars in the war. Beauty is Emma, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, who was exactly what the lonely duke needs. But THE DUCHESS DEAL is more than the fairy tale; it goes much deeper to plumb at the hurt and insecurity on Ash’s side, and how, underneath his beastly appearance, he is very much a man in need of love.

Emma is a magnificent heroine–she gave Ash no quarter but instead did her best to drown him in affection and endearments and concern. Ash, too, is a great hero; I especially love his concern and care for Emma, despite all his protestations that it’s merely a business arrangement between them. In fact, from the start, his thoughts regarding Emma are to protect her, care for her, make sure she’s not hurt, etc. How could one fail to fall for a hero like that?

What I love about this novel is that these two people saw each other’s faults and flaws, yet still come to care for the other all the same. Perhaps it’s because they saw something in the other that’s worth treasuring.

The secondary characters like the servants are hilarious; they’re certainly different from any servant I’ve encountered. The entire story is sweet and romantic, and this book is going right on my keeper shelf! Definitely worth a reread or two!

Update: I can’t wait to read the second book in the series, The Governess Game, coming in August! <Just noticed the alliteration of the titles>

Rating: 5 stars

The Romance Review

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Summary:

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…

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