All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

on March 16, 2017

Romancing The Duke (Castles Ever After #1)
Tessa Dare
2014, 370p
Freebie via ibooks

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

This was my sort of romance from pretty much the first page.

The death of Izzy’s father has left her in quite a dire situation so when she is left a bequest in a will she doesn’t hesitate to turn up at the meeting point. Rather than a small sum, which was all she was hoping for, Izzy has been left a castle. There’s just one problem – the castle is the current home of the Duke of Rothbury and he didn’t sell it to Izzy’s benefactor. He insists he still owns the home and that he isn’t leaving. Izzy is willing to work with him – she’d be happy to be his landlord but then he tries to make her flee and all of a sudden Izzy decides that maybe it’s time she made a proper home for herself.

This is the sort of book that makes me *happy sigh* and when I go on binges snapping up deals and freebies on iBooks and Amazon, it’s because I hope to find books like this one. Izzy is such a fun protagonist – she’s pragmatic and very sensible but she also has quite a fanciful side as well. Her father is well known as an author of a famous series of stories (of which Izzy is the little girl in the story being told the fantastical tales) and when people meet her they tend to act like they know her. Despite this she has little in the way of actual friends and finds herself quite alone after her father passes which is perhaps why she latches onto the idea of being able to possess a castle. She assumes that the whim of her benefactor is finally being able to give little Izzy Goodnight a castle of her own after hearing so many stories of fair maidens and gallant knights in castles but for Izzy, it’s going to be much more than that….it’s going to be a home.

Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury hasn’t been seen in society for months – the rumours are wild, including that he might even be dead. Instead Ransom suffered an injury and has retreated from society. The decrepit conditions of Gostley Castle suits him perfectly. He doesn’t need something fit for entertaining and has adapted one room for his needs quite satisfactorily. When Izzy doesn’t oblige him by leaving straight away and instead proves to be quite solidly iron willed inside, to break the stalemate of who will leave, it’s agreed that Izzy will act as his secretary, helping Rothbury with the correspondence that has piled up over the past 7 months so that they might untangle the mess that has led to two different people believing they owned the castle.

Beauty and the Beast style adaptations are my absolute favourite and this one works pretty well. Rothbury, with his scar and brusque manner fits the role of the Beast in the castle (albeit one that he’s allowing to fall down around his ears with little care in the world) but he’s also not without being part Prince Charming as well. He’s brooding and mysterious and his opening scene is amazing. I love a meeting between two characters that sticks with me and establishes both their personalities so well straight away. Both of them bring so much to the other – Rothbury can actually see Izzy (ha, the irony of that statement) and isn’t coloured by the small child that appeared in the stories. In fact he actually sees the truth of Izzy, the secret that she has kept for years, seemingly quite easily. He is remarkably astute when it comes to her and the way in which the relationship between them develops is equal parts sizzling sexual chemistry and deepening emotional connection. In return Izzy is no shrinking violet who fears the Duke – in fact she cares little that he even is one, nor is she bothered by his somewhat wild past. I think it was very important to Ransom, whether he knew it or not, to be accepted for all that he was – flaws, scars, reclusive manner etc. Izzy lightens him up but he takes her seriously, believes that she is capable of anything.

I loved this. Already planning to buy the rest in the series – the benefactor who leaves Izzy this castle seems to have also left properties to a few other “goddaughter” types. I’m hoping that those stories are going to be as good as this one.


Book #51 of 2017

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