Monday, June 17, 2013

REVIEW: "Any Duchess Will Do" by Tessa Dare

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4)
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
For Ages 18+
Historical Romance
Avon --May 28, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Across the Tracks, Opposites Attract, Experienced Heroine, Family Issues

SUMMARY
What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

FIRST LINES
Griff cracked open a single eyelid.  A bright stab of pain told him he'd made a grave mistake.  He quickly shut his eye again and put a hand over it, groaning.

MY THOUGHTS
I have loved all the other full-length stories in Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series so I had pretty high expectations for Any Duchess Will Do.  Thankfully, almost every one of them was met and I discovered that this series is one of the rare ones that gained 5 stars for every installment (excluding the novellas).  I found this book to be full of everything I love about historical romance: well-developed characters, super hot chemistry between the two protagonists, and emotions of all types.

Any Duchess Will Do involves one of the most unconventional pairings in historical romance.  Pauline Simms is a farmer's daughter and serving girl in the small seaside village of Spindle Cove while Griffin York is the wealthy Duke of Halford.  These two are thrown together when Griff's mother "kidnaps" him and takes him to Spindle Cove so that he may choose a bride from the unconventional ladies that occupy the village.  In retaliation, Griff selects Pauline, thinking that she is the exact opposite of the type of woman his mother desires for a daughter-in-law.  I love it when authors take a chance on a couple that is from different parts of society especially when they can pull it off so effortlessly like Ms. Dare does.

I adored both the hero and heroine of this novel.  Griffin is a former rake who has vowed to change his life for the better after a significant life event almost a year earlier.  At first, he comes across as arrogant and selfish, but Pauline (and the readers) quickly learn there is much more to him than meets the eye.  I loved how protective Griff was of both Pauline and his mother and how he did the smallest things that showed how capable he was of being loving and devoted.  Life forced him to grow up and I think he is a much more developed character because of that.

Pauline is a woman who also is more than she first appears.  She is the abused daughter of a poor father who has spent much of her life protecting her mentally challenged sister from the scorn of others.  But, she is also an intelligent and ambitious woman whose main goal in life is to open a naughty bookshop for ladies in Spindle Cove.  Her deal with Griff allows her to believe the dream is a reality which helps her step into her true personality.  I loved how confident she was (even at the beginning) and how much more she gained over the course of the novel.  She is determined to be independent and I admired that quality in her. 

Pauline and Griff are one of those pairings that a reader knows shouldn't work because of their differences, but there is just something about them.  The chemistry is obvious from the first moment they start talking to one another in the carriage on the way to London and I loved the banter between them.  Even though the book only takes place over a week, Ms. Dare does a fabulous job of showing how their relationship changed from business partners to friends to lovers in a pretty realistic fashion.  They are both people who have a hard time with trust, but have found a confidant in each other.  I also liked how protective they were about the people they cared about which included one another.

Another character that I have to mention in this review is Griff's mother, the woman who orchestrated the entire kidnapping attempt that set the plot in motion.  I did not like her, at first, because I thought of her as manipulating and controlling.  But, like with Pauline and Griffin, my opinion changed once I got to see her in a different setting.  She has a very similar personality to her son (which probably causes most of the turmoil in their relationship) including his protective nature.  She is a mother after everything else and just wants her son to be truly happy.

In conclusion, I thought Any Duchess Will Do was an extremely satisfying conclusion to the Spindle Cove series.  It was an entertaining story that made me laugh, cry, and squeal with happiness.  It actually took me a bit longer to read than normal because I just didn't want it to end!  I highly recommend this book (which can be read as a stand-alone) and the entire series!


RATING
5 STARS -- Amazing book that is almost perfect. Definitely a future re-read.

FAVORITE QUOTE
I know how mirrors work. They're all in league with the cosmetics trade. They tell a woman lies. Drawing her gaze from one imagined flaw to another, until all she sees is a constellation of imperfections. If you could get outside yourself, borrow my eyes for just an instant... There is only beauty.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read this one! I love Tessa Dare, and I totally loved A Night to Surrender (which is the only one in this series I've already read.

    Happy reading Jennifer :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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