THE DUCHESS DEAL is book 1 in Tessa Dare's new series,
Girl Meets Duke. THE DUCHESS DEAL is a Regency
romance re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale.
We get a monstrously scarred Beast hero with a gruff and
grouchy exterior whose heart eventually melts, the Beast's
interfering servants who try to set the Beast up to break
the spell he is held under, and the sweet-hearted Beauty who
wins his heart and sets the Beast free. The story relies on
a Marriage of Convenience trope, and Dare does this well.
Emma Gladstone is a vicar's daughter who walked out of
her father's unbearable house and became a seamstress to
support herself. Emma presents herself to the Duke of
Ashbury's library demanding much-needed payment for the
wedding gown she is wearing- a gown that the Duke's jilting
fiancée refused to pay for. Ash proposes on the spot that
Emma wed him instead. Ash has returned from the war
severely scarred. A Congreve rocket exploded and burned one
entire side of Ash's body, leaving him with horrific scars
and a twisted visage that scares the women and children
around him. He still needs to find a wife for dynastic
purposes, and Emma seems to Ash like she could provide the
heirs he needs. Once Emma conceives (done in pure darkness,
out of respect for her nerves and his face, of course!), Ash
plans to shunt her to the country where he'll never have to
show her his face again.
Emma refuses to allow Ash to shut her out, and she worms
her way into his heart. I love how self-sufficient and
brave Emma is, even though she doesn't see herself as such!
I adore how she pushes Ash to see himself as he really is,
and not how he fears himself to be. There are plenty of
laugh-out-loud moments, and loads of delightful wit. Some
of Dare more recent books have been over-the-top cutesy for
my taste, but here she has gotten away from her frightfully
twee writing and back to simply being delightfully frothy.
Fans of lighthearted historical romance will find plenty to
love in this witty book of love and redemption. Dare's THE
DUCHESS DEAL is a witty reworking of Beauty and the Beast
with lively repartee and sultry sexuality.
When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all
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…