Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guest Review - - Any Duchess Will Do

Any Duchess Will Do
Spindle Cove Series
By Tessa Dare
Publisher:  Avon
Release Date:  May 28, 2013









I have one requirement for my Top Romance reading fare: that I have a physical response while reading it (and no, not that kind of physical response).    What I want is for my heart to feel as though the author has it in a painful, but also very pleasurable vice grip.    I want the emotions I experience to manifest somewhere in the general vicinity of my chest and throat.  I want to feel sympathy so strong I think I may need Nitroglycerin, sexual tension so taut my eyes can’t read the sentences fast enough, and characters so likable—even the tortured ones—I cheer for them even when I know they might be making idiot mistakes.       

Tessa Dare is a master at this and ANY DUCHESS WILL DO is your manual to feel it all.

Pauline Simms is an overworked barmaid with a dream:  to open a bookshop so that she and her sister with special needs will not have to rely upon their abusive father ever again.  But after an incident in Brights’ All Things shop in which her sister mistakenly ruins both the sugar and alum bins, Pauline’s dream seems to be slipping farther away as she must now pay for the damage.   That is until Lord Haleford makes her an offer she can’t refuse. 

Griffin York, the Duke of Haleford, has been abducted by his marriage-obsessed mother to Spindle Cove.  Or rather “Spinster Cove.”  There she offers him a deal: pick any one of the ladies residing there and she will turn her into a duchess befitting her son.  But Griff doesn’t want to marry--not now, not ever--so he decides to teach his meddling mother a lesson and picks the most unlikely of candidates: the serving girl at the Bull and Blossom.   Pauline.   In private he offers Pauline a vast amount of money, enough for her to realize her bookselling dreams, but only if she can accomplish one thing:  abject failure at every lesson his mother teaches her.   But total failure is difficult when the student is so quick-witted, brave and attractive.   And the more time he spends in her company, Griffin is finding that Pauline’s “failures” are successfully ensuring her space within his tortured heart.  

As the reasons behind Pauline and Griffin’s reticence become clearer, I found myself reading with a very sizable lump in my throat.   And I’m a jaded reader.   Truly.  But I really cared about these characters, who are so very charming, messed up, funny.  And quite simply lovely.  These are the sort of people you do want to go to bed with--for a night or two--and wake up with the next morning feeling satisfied the world is right because they’re healed.     My only criticism of Dare’s book was that I felt it was sewn up too quickly.  I would have liked another 50 pages or so.   But perhaps that’s just greed on my part.


~J. Perry Stone


J Perry Stone is an aspiring Historical Romance writer who is a giant proponent of books and of love... romance being the place where the two live happily ever after.  She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two children. 

59 comments:

  1. I so agree, I so loved this book and it "felt" like there was another more involved ending somewhere. That is not to say I didn't totally enjoy the story but I think Ms.Dare had another plan and it was scotched.

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    1. Tessa's books always leave me wanting more pages but that's because I'm never ready to say good-bye to her characters. ;-)

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    2. That's a good point, Dianna. Perhaps that's what happened.

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  2. Great review, JPS. I loved the book and thought the characters were truly likable and looked forward to their happily ever after. It gets 5 stars from me.

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    1. It gets 5 stars from me too, Ruth. I really liked this pair.

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    2. Thanks Ruth. The characters ARE likable. Dare too! Did you meet her at RWA?

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  3. I will be adding this one to my reader. I love Tessa Dare's voice and have enjoyed the Spindle Cove series immensely.

    Nice first review!

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    1. I think you'll like this one, Santa!

      What I love about J's review is that reading it is like listening to her tell me over lunch what she loves about this book. It's so "J!" ::grin::

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    2. You two are my people. Period.

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  4. Fabulous 5 star review. I can't wait to read Tessa Dare's book!

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    1. I thought it was one of her best, Laurie. Hope you enjoy it!

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    2. You will not be sorry, Laurie. And I'm super picky when it comes to Historical Romance.

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  5. I've loved all of Tessa Dare's books I read so far, as well as the Spindle Cove series, am about to read this book, today/tonight, I'm sure "Any Duchess Will Do" will be joining my 'fave' books on shelves, although I hope it won't leave me wanting too much.

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    1. Hope you enjoy your trip to Spindle Cove, dotland!

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    2. It will. But that just means we'll be rabid for the next book to arrive. :)

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  6. [P.S. -- Good review J Perry] ;)

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    1. Thank you. It helps knowing PJ edits before publishing to the blog.

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  7. Great review, J Perry!

    I started this book, then my husband helped me clean before company came over and I couldn't find it. I found it last night and cannot wait to dive back in!

    Di

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    1. Hi Di! Great that your husband helps clean but I hope he's learned that one must never, ever move our romance novels! :)

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    2. Yeah! What PJ said.

      And don't worry. Dare writes so smoothly, it'll be easy to pick up where you left off.

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  8. So J is right, and that's so great. J's voice is unmistakable. I also loved Any Duchess Will Do. It's not my favorite of the Spindle Cove book, but it's close.

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    1. Perhaps you simply know me too well, Janga :)

      And what was your favorite Spindle Cove book? You have flawless taste and now I need to know!

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    2. I'll let Janga answer that question but I'll just say that it's my favorite too. ;-)

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    3. J, A Week to Be Wicked is my favorite. It's a road trip romance that works, Minerva and Colin, both of whom I adore, are true to the characterizations that were established in earlier books, and it has one of the best declarations of love ever IMO.It's my favorite in the series, my favorite Tessa Dare, and one of my all-time top 100.

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  9. Excellent review, Julianne! Tessa is a master at taking a reader through every emotion.....and leave them wanting just a few pages more. ;-)

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    1. She does excel at that, doesn't she, Gannon? It's one of the reasons I so enjoy her writing.

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  10. This entire series just made me melt. I loved each of the characters and the idea of Spindle Cove. Sigh ~ Tessa Dare.

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    1. I think it's quite the thing to accomplish as a writer. Deb.

      Make your readers--who've no doubt read thousands upon thousands of novels--FEEL the all the good, gooey emotions!

      Is it too much to ask, you think?

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    2. Hi Deb! Thanks so much for stopping by today. I love when an author's writing makes me melt. Tessa Dare is a master at accomplishing that.

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  11. That's exactly what she does, Gannon. You nailed it.

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  12. What a great review! Sounds like a fantastic book :)

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    1. Don't miss it, Kellie! As writers, it's always a great thing to be soothed by that which we slave over :)

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    2. Kellie, the entire series is good. As Julianne said, not to be missed!

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  13. Great review, Julianne. I haven't picked ADWD up yet, but will as soon as I can. Your comments make me "can't wait" to read it. Now, get busy, woman!! You have work to do and you know exactly what I'm talking about. ;-)

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    1. Hi Cinthia! Don't worry. We're cracking the whip over her back here in the southland. :)

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  14. What a great review. Tessa Dare is a terrific author and has penned yet another wonderful novel. Looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Thanks, Connie. And Dare really is terrific.

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  15. I recently discovered Tessa's books and have be devouring them. How did I miss this author??? I just finished up Any Duchess Will Do last week and loved it.

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    1. Don't you love it when you discover a great author late, SuzyQ? Then you get the pleasure of a thick backlist.

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  16. Terrific review, J, and welcome aboard! We are so glad to have you join us. :) I haven't read the Spindle Cove series yet, but I have read Tessa's other books (and loved them!) and look forward to this one!

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    1. Thanks so much for letting me be here, lady! And you will love ADWD.

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  17. This book JUST got delivered to my home! I need to hurry up and finish my current book, so I can start this one.

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  18. Welcome, J. Perry. Thanks for the review. I loved this book, too!

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    1. Did you feel like your heart was in a vice grip, LSUReader?

      I LOVE that. I couldn't figure out if I wanted to cry or laugh, so I just kept reading.

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  19. I just finished Tessa Dare's A Night to Surrender so I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this one too. (I do know what you mean about some books ending too soon - it's like they hit their word count so that's it lol.)

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    1. catslady, my computer is acting up so if you get a partial response, it isn't deliberate.

      That said...

      Because I loved the characters so much, I'm not entirely sure if I can fault Dare for feeling as though it ended too soon. But really, it is a compliment to authors. We want more.

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  20. I love Tessa's books they are awesome! Her characters are wonderful.

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  21. I bought this & I haven't gotten to it, darn it! TBR stacks! I did really like the novella Beauty & the Blacksmith. Thanks for the review & incentive!

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  22. I enjoy Tessa's books. This will be another one to look for. Thanks for the review.

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  23. I really like Tessa Dare's books, sadly to say I haven't read all the Spindle Cove books. But I'm definitely making sure I read this one! Sounds great :)

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  24. Just wanted y'all ladies at RD to know after blogging with you this morning.. I started on "Any Duchess Will Do" instead of sleeping... and I'd been laughing some like the first 60 pages or so. This has got to be the funniest in the Spindle Cove series!! Tessa Dare sure has been honing n sharpening her sense of humor to perfection in this book. Guess sleeping will have to wait until I'm done with this book. lolol.. :D :D

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  25. I loved this one, too, a top read. Still, I agree with Janga that A Week to be Wicked is still my very favorite of them all. Definitely reommend the whole series if you haven't tried Dare yet.

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  26. Late to the party, but I'm looking forward to reading this.

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  27. Wonderful review, Julianne! I loved it just as much as I loved reading "Any Duchess Will do." George and I had the pure luck and pleasure of meeting and spending a little time with Tessa Dare at RWA/Atlanta a few weeks ago. She is as lovely, fun and gracious as is her writing.

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