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My name is Renee, and I am the host of this site. I am a 34 year old woman, on the prowl for her mate, searching out the best of books, exploring the wilds of the imagination and delving into the heart of a beautiful love story.


Book Review-The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

by | Aug 6, 2017 | Book Reviews | 13 comments

Book Review-The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

I received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review-The Duchess Deal by Tessa DareThe Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Also in this series: The Governess Game, The Wallflower Wager
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Published by Avon on August 22nd 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Avon
AmazonLibrary Thing

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…

I was fairly surprised at how much I enjoyed this one, and what a hilariously wicked romance this turned out to be. Now at first I was a little scared, because I didn’t get into the story right away, and since I have struggled with the past couple of her books, I wasn’t sure how I would take The Duchess Deal but I can say, with a relieved sigh, that this book totally worked for me in many ways.

Our story takes off with our heroine, storming into Duke of Ashbury’s home, wearing his ex-intended wedding gown, that she slaved away sewing and then never received her payment, and since she needs to make sure she isn’t living on the street, she demands payment from the Duke of Ashbury. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a man that throws her a curveball with an offer….to marry him instead. Emma Gladstone may have been raised among the gentry, but due to certain circumstances, she was forced to work as a seamstress to support herself. At first, Emma doesn’t think that Ash is serious with his offer…the most eligible bachelor in all of the Ton and he wants to marry someone as low as she is…yeah she doesn’t believe him at first. But then she starts to realize how serious he really is, and against her better judgment, she changes her mind and agrees to marry this mysterious man that only intrigues her, challenges her and makes her want more than just a marriage of convenience.

I have to say within the first chapter, Tessa Dare had me laughing out loud in PUBLIC!! Yeppers…this author had me bursting out in laughter and I wasn’t even ashamed because I was having way too much fun with this book. So let’s talk about our characters first. We have our hero, a scarred Duke, who suffered very painfully in the war and came back not the same. All he needs is an heir and has no interest in passion or love. He puts a shield on himself, he is brooding and grumpy and totally not ready for Emma to battle him with wit and desire. Our hero struggles with some self esteem issues, due to his battle scars. He lives more away from society, everyone from his life previously, has abandoned him. He only has his servants, who have remained devoted to serving him and helping him when he lets them.

Let’s set someting straight, the two of us. You seem to be plotting a campaign of kindness. No doubt with the aim of soothing my tortured soul. It would be a waste of time. My temperament was not created byinjury; it will not be magically healed by sweetness or pet names. Am I making myself clear? Do not harbor any illusions that my scars transformed me into a jaded, ill-tempered wretch.

Our heroine, Emma, hasn’t had it easy. She is a talented seamstress, she grew up as a vicar’s daughter. But when she was a teenager, she thought she was in love, and the man turned out to be a cad, and her father kicked her out of home and his life, and she had to learn to survive on her own. Emma despite her circumstances hasn’t let them drag her down. She is intelligent, has a great sense of humor and her character was very appealing. She fights for what she wants, and I liked that she didn’t just give into Ash’s demands on their marriage…she wants rules of her own.

Charming princes weren’t always what they seemed. Shining armor went out of fashion with the Crusades. And if fairy godmothers existed, hers was running several years late.

Their romance is quite simply superb. It does begin as a simple marriage of convenience with a few twists. Our hero lays out the rules, but then Emma counteracts him with a few rules of her own….eating dinner together with conversation for example. Emma takes pleasure in teasing Ash, and Ash only returns the favor back to her. It was quite interesting to see how this story plays out. At first, they tease each other, and their comebacks were pretty funny to read. Then passion starts to enter into the marriage, and this is where the “simple” arrangement gets complicated. Ash soon starts to realize that Emma is different from any other, and he is becoming more and more intrigued by her. I did like seeing the way that these two got along with each other. With their engaging and highly entertaining bantering, playing badminton (not sure how historically accurate that is, but a fun twist to their relationship. And oh boy the servants…..they were so funny. All the ways they were trying to get Ash and Emma together so they can fall in “love” and their Duke can be happy again. Seeing how much they cared about him pulled me in right away. And then we have the group of very unconventional ladies that Emma becomes friends with….I am so curious about them and hope to see more of them in the future.

The Duchess Deal is a story that will make you laugh and smile from beginning to end….an enchanting and endearing romance to curl your toes!! A SEXY ROMANCE TO CURL YOUR TOES!!

About Tessa Dare

Note: Tessa has a Goodreads group! All readers welcome.

Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twelve historical romance novels and four novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award and multiple RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance," and her books have been contracted for translation in a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kitties

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  1. Blodeuedd

    I so need to read more Tessa Dare books!

  2. Joyousreads

    I just finished the first four books to the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. I’ve heard Tessa Dare is right up there with Julia Quinn so I might check out her books next. 🙂

    • Quinn's Book Nook

      Yes, Dare is similar in tone to JQ. You should totally check out her books. I would recommend starting with the Spindle Cove series.

    • Lover Of Romance

      Yes Tessa Dare is very similar to Julia Quinn. I agree with Quinn…you need to start with her Spindle Cover series—in my mind they are the best of her works!! 🙂

  3. Alyssa Susanna

    Whaaaaaat, I can’t believe you have struggled with Dare’s books in the past?????? *cries* Well, I am so glad that you enjoyed this one. I loved it too! Such a cute story. Such a beautiful story. And so steamy! Definitely Dare’s hottest one yet (in my opinion). *fans self*

    Wonderful review, Renee! Have a lovely week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  4. Anna@herding cats&burning soup

    Oooh ooop! Yeah that would be a curveball. lol I read my first of hers recently and definitely want to read more. Looks like a good one to snag 🙂

  5. Nick

    I was so nervous when I saw you reviewed this one, but I just about let out a banshee scream in excitement after reading your review. I’m so so happy you liked this one! It totally had me laughing from the beginning too. And swoons! <3 The romance! I'm so excited to get to know Emma's friends better next! They are such a hoot and remind me a bit of LK's heroines. 🙂
    Beautiful review!

  6. Quinn's Book Nook

    I cannot wait to read this! Although I have an ARC, I’m going to wait for the audio I think. I’m so glad you loved this, especially since Dare isn’t always your favorite.

  7. Carole's Random Life

    I am hoping to get to this one in the next few months. I am so glad you liked it. Looking forward to a few laugh out loud scenes 🙂

  8. Adria @ Adria's Musings & Revs

    OMG yes! I loved this book so much and I am with you on struggling with past books. I adored her Spindle Cove series but could not for the life of me get into her Castles Ever After series. This one though, this one has set a high bar for the rest of the series. I can’t wait for the next book!

    • Lover Of Romance

      Oh yay! Not many people can understand why I wasn’t a huge fan of her Castles Ever After series. Only one or two books I actually liked, the others totally didn’t work for me. Especially the last two books. But this book really worked for me and I was able to easily get into it.

  9. Carol Cork

    Lovely review, Renee. I think this is going to be another good series.


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