Any Duchess Will Do
Spindle Cove Series
By Tessa Dare
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.