Any Duchess Will Do – Tessa Dare
“Publication Date: May 28, 2013
What's a duke to do, when the girl who's perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can't live without?
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?”
This concept sounded marvelous when I chose this book, but when I started reading it I found it to be a tiny bit plodding. I persevered and I am so happy I did, because this ended up being one of the most romantic, sexy and funny historical romances that I have read in a long time!
His mother has kidnapped the Duke of Halford. If he wants to get his mother to stop pestering him to get married and to have a baby he has finally agreed to marry someone –anyone, and the one he chooses in Spindle Cove is farmers’ daughter and barmaid Pauline Simms. The rub is, is that his mother has to turn Pauline into Duchess material and has but a week to do so. So, off Pauline goes to London to receive her ‘training’. Now the issue is, will they both be able to resist each other?
There is so much more to this story than just what the synopsis says. This may have sounded like a frivolous bit of writing at the start, but it really deals with much more. Naturally, the Duke is hiding something. Something dark. He has a room that he keeps locked –all the time. Is he killing kittens in there, Pauline wonders? However, it is a deeper secret than that.
I loved how this dissolute debauched Duke could be hiding something dark, yet not be portrayed as one of those overly brooding, always internalizing men who just lashes out at everyone and yet the reader is supposed to adore him anyway. I really dislike that sort of character.
And Pauline could have been written as a ditzy sort with no mind of her own, who falls in love at the first second. Well, maybe she does, but we are not forced to read chapters of her pining away over something she thinks she can’t ever have. They are both resourceful, smart, funny people who are caught up in a wonderful charade.
The mother is a wonderful secondary character –I adored her.
Don’t toss the book aside at the end of chapter 25, remember that first and foremost this is a romance and you WILL get your happily-ever-after!