Bubu's Reviews > The Duchess Deal

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
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it was ok
bookshelves: hr, 2-stars, read-2017

The Duchess Deal is a veritable clusterfuck. As much as it pains me - being this author's fan - I can't find any other description that underlines my shock.

This is now the third book in the last few months that I was looking forward to and that left me with the question if that's really all the authors could come up with. Over the time, I've learned to curb my excitement and don't expect a five-star read every time a book is published. What I expect is good entertainment.

The Duchess Deal is quickly summarised. War scarred hero is in want of a wife. When Emma, a seamstress, demands payment for a wedding gown that the prospective bride didn't need as she called off the wedding, Ash finds himself with the perfect candidate to bear his children and continue his line.

Obviously, there's more to it. Obviously, there's more to Ash's obnoxiousness than his hideous scars. Obviously, Emma will see the beauty behind his obnoxiousness. Obviously, Emma herself is an emotionally scarred woman. Obviously, we will see that love conquers all. And obviously, there are some very sweet and tender moments.

But the how had me nearly DNF this book.

My standards in regards to historical accuracy are extremely low when it comes to Tessa Dare. I love how the further her books progress, the less she takes the genre itself seriously, constantly mocking the tropes. Ash is a fine example. I can't count the number of times where Ash - in his self-deprecating manner - pokes fun at himself.

There was something off right from the beginning. Dare's trademark of tenderness mixed with humour felt forced. The same can be said about Ash and Emma. I love Dare's heroines, their daring nature an endearing feature I always enjoy. But Emma's lust for a man she barely knows, who isn't particularly nice to her at the beginning, had me confused. I wish she'd been more prickly, to be honest, more distant. And that says something.

It does get better the further the story progresses, and as I already mentioned, there are some sweet and tender moments. However, all I could think was 'too late, too late, too late.' The build-up was simply too choppy. In essence, Tessa Dare, lost me in the first third part of the book and I could never pick up the pieces again.

Now, to the 'historical accuracy'. Look, I know TD isn't someone who dwells too much on it, and she's the only author I can think of where I let it slide. Duke marrying a seamstress? Who cares? I'll read it. It's Tessa Dare, after all.

But one scene in particular had me fuming. Right after the wedding, the maid shows Emma her rooms and she's so unbelievably familiar with Emma that I had to read the scene twice, in case I had missed something. Also, the familiarity of the secondary characters, who will presumably get their own books á la Spindle Cove, was off-putting. There was not the tiniest hint of 19th century behaviour at all. And it did remind me of how Spindle Cove played - at the very least - within the various social statuses, even if it only barely scratched it.

But mostly I didn't feel the chemistry between Ash and Emma. I could have put all my whiny, moany pickings aside, if there had been a better build-up. The only saving grace was their banter. But that's not enough to carry a whole book.

It took me five (!) days to finish this book. Five days. A Tessa Dare book is usually devoured within a day.

And so my book slump continues
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Reading Progress

January 9, 2017 – Shelved
January 9, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 9, 2017 – Shelved as: hr
August 21, 2017 –
page 0
0.0% "
description

I'm ready!
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August 24, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
September, 2017 – Finished Reading
September 6, 2017 – Shelved as: 2-stars
December 26, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017

Comments Showing 1-50 of 53 (53 new)


message 2: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Naw 😔 that does not sound good...


Bubu Al *the serial series skipper* wrote: "I hope you like it!"

Ah Al, I'd been looking forward to this book so much. I wanted to love it....didn't work for me.


Bubu Andrea wrote: "Naw 😔 that does not sound good..."

Nope


message 5: by Mei (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mei Great review, Bubu...
Now I'm afraid to read this book... :(((((


message 6: by Mou (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mou Great review, Bubu!!! You describe the scenario so much better than me. I am new with Tessa Dare. I picked this up because of positive reviews and at the end it didn't stand up to my expectations.


Danielle ❤️ Pretty Mess Reading ❤️ Fab review, love! xoxo


WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Soooooooob. I was looking forward to this book but the problems you talk about are one's I've had with Dare in the past. I'm disappointed for you, and myself, lol. Hope you find a book to take you out of your slump.


message 9: by Aoi (new) - rated it 3 stars

Aoi I'd kept my fingers crossed you'd like this book... but thought later on, nah no way in hell

better luck with yuor next one :)


Alexandra Exactly my feelings, Bubu! Something felt very off while I was reading too. It just did not read like a TD book and was so disappointing after so much anticipation.


message 11: by ♥ℳelody (last edited Sep 06, 2017 09:58AM) (new) - added it

♥ℳelody This is reason why I wasn't really excited for this book to be honest. I've had this problem in the last couple of books by her so she's no longer a go-to author for me. 😕 She used to be so good at balancing humor with angst, her stories and characters had more depth IMO. That completely changed in the last few years. I don't know what happened but her writing has changed or maybe my tastes have changed. And the humor even, as much as I love it can be too much at times. I mean she had Colin quoting an Old Spice commercial in A Week to Be Wicked 😂. Oy.

But for me, what's turned me off is her world building has completely fallen by the wayside for some odd reason. Things that don't even makes sense and easily overlooked to push plot points along or glaring inconsistencies/mistakes or plot holes that are hard to miss just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. Stuff like that drives me nuts and ruins things for me. And it comes off so lazy. So I could deal with cheesy jokes or modern references here and there but the world building needs to be better.

I may give this a go if my library has it but I'm not buying it, that's for sure.

Great review Bubu! Sorry it didn't work.


Sam (AMNReader) I'm so sad about your book slump.
It feels like you've been in and out of them quite a bit!


message 13: by Caz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Caz I liked this a bit better than you did, but your comments are valid. I tend to check the "realism" hat at the door with TD these days, and just go with the flow. Mind you, I listened rather than read, and having an excellent narrator probably made a difference.


Amanda I am not as big a fan of TD as the general romance community (though I have read and enjoyed several of her previous books, she's nowhere close to being an auto-buy for me), but I am planning to read this one for a book club next month. Hrm.


message 15: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Mei wrote: "Great review, Bubu...
Now I'm afraid to read this book... :((((("


There are so many people who loved this book, Mei. It's split in two, as far as I can see, and I really hope you'll love it :)


message 16: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Mou wrote: "Great review, Bubu!!! You describe the scenario so much better than me. I am new with Tessa Dare. I picked this up because of positive reviews and at the end it didn't stand up to my expectations."

Thanks, Mou :) She's written some of my all time favourite books. A Week to Be Wicked is one of those, I re-read regularly. It's hilarious, tender, romantic. Everything I love about romance books.


message 17: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Danielle ❤️ Pretty Mess Reading ❤️ wrote: "Fab review, love! xoxo"

Thanks, Danielle :)


message 18: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Aoi wrote: "I'd kept my fingers crossed you'd like this book... but thought later on, nah no way in hell

better luck with yuor next one :)"


Haha, I can see that you weren't overwhelmed either. Oh well, I'm sure this was a one off. At times, I thought TD must have been on some sort of mushroom trip whilst writing this :)


message 19: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Kyraryker/WhiskeyintheJar wrote: "Soooooooob. I was looking forward to this book but the problems you talk about are one's I've had with Dare in the past. I'm disappointed for you, and myself, lol. Hope you find a book to take you ..."

I know, Kyra, I know. You know this feeling where you're rolling your eyes so hard while you're reading. That was me. The story was all over the place. But I still hope you'll like it :)


message 20: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Alexandra wrote: "Exactly my feelings, Bubu! Something felt very off while I was reading too. It just did not read like a TD book and was so disappointing after so much anticipation."

It felt off, didn't it? What with the subplot and the friends. I constantly thought 'Don't care, can we please go back to Ash and Emma now please.' They didn't really add to the relationship at all, but rather thrown in randomly.


message 21: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu ♥ℳelody wrote: "This is reason why I wasn't really excited for this book to be honest. I've had this problem in the last couple of books by her so she's no longer a go-to author for me. 😕 She used to be so good at..."

Thanks Mel :) See, I usually ignore the problems that come with TD's books because I can still see what she's doing; her witty banter and the slow development of the relationship usually making up for the silly plots and the lack of historical accuracy.

You're right and I think I mentioned it in my review for Do You Want to Start a Scandal. TD can write more serious books with depth and still maintain the light banter. Three Nights with a Scoundrel is one of them. I didn't get this book at all. Not even my rose-tinted glasses could overlook the glaring weaknesses of it. It was such a bummer that I felt like smashing my fist into the book (I do have the paperback). I may as well have read a 21st century chick-lit.


message 22: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Sam (AMNreader) wrote: "I'm so sad about your book slump.
It feels like you've been in and out of them quite a bit!"


It'll pass eventually. :)

My favourite genre is still HR, and the only thing I'm truly sad about is that HR genre really needs a kick start. It's either Highlanders, traditional Regencies or HR's that may as well take place today.


message 23: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Caz wrote: "I liked this a bit better than you did, but your comments are valid. I tend to check the "realism" hat at the door with TD these days, and just go with the flow. Mind you, I listened rather than re..."

I wonder what you would have thought if you'd read this book instead of listening. I know by now that a good narrator can make a book better.

The scene with the maid was the icing on the cake and it happened so early into the book, too. That was the first time, the maid and Emma had anything to say to each other, and she treated Emma like a friend.

Even with my low TD standards that was too much.


message 24: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Amanda wrote: "I am not as big a fan of TD as the general romance community (though I have read and enjoyed several of her previous books, she's nowhere close to being an auto-buy for me), but I am planning to re..."

As I said to Mei, Amanda, people seem to be split here. I've seen people who loved it and people who were disappointed. It may - and I hope it will - work for you :)


message 25: by Blackjack (new)

Blackjack I tried a while back with Tessa Dare and read a handful but I found them to be ahistorical fluff. She's undoubtedly popular though.


Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder Bubu, as usual your review was a great one. Your comment about TD mocking HR reminded me of how felt when I tried Eloisa James. In real life EJ is some sort of English lit professor--unfortunately I knew this when I tried one her books. My expectations were high but I was left feeling ridiculed by EJ, and I eventually tried two other titled and was left feeling as if EJ thought HR readers were fools for reading HR. I'll admit, EJ may not feel this way.

I tried TDs 1st spindle cove book and I did not get very far with it. It made my curly hair stand on end. But I'm in the minority bec she is very popular and I'm sure making a good living if reviews on GR for her work are any indication.


message 27: by Ira (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ira Oh dear, it's a let down for you too 😔. Its an excellent review though and I love how your described the book's faulty. Don't worry sweetie, hold my hands and we go hunting some other awesome books 😘.


message 28: by Mou (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mou Bubu wrote: "Mou wrote: "Great review, Bubu!!! You describe the scenario so much better than me. I am new with Tessa Dare. I picked this up because of positive reviews and at the end it didn't stand up to my ex..."

A Week to Be Wicked is already on my tbr list. I will try it sometime soon.


message 29: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Z Great review! Definitely taking this off my TBR.

Ugh, book slumps are the worst!! Sorry you are stuck in one, wish I had a great book to recommend to you! Hope you find something amazing soon :)


message 30: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu @ Blackjack and Andrea: You know by now that TD is the only author where I don't mind her using history as a mere wallpaper. But it's her affinity for mockery that makes it all worth it.

I don't love all her books. There are some which were just okay but this one was a bit of a disaster.


message 31: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Ira wrote: "Oh dear, it's a let down for you too 😔. Its an excellent review though and I love how your described the book's faulty. Don't worry sweetie, hold my hands and we go hunting some other awesome books 😘."

Thank you, Ira :) I'll find a good one eventually, maybe, hopefully.


message 32: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Mou wrote: "Bubu wrote: "Mou wrote: "Great review, Bubu!!! You describe the scenario so much better than me. I am new with Tessa Dare. I picked this up because of positive reviews and at the end it didn't stan..."

I hope you'll like it :)


message 33: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Sarah wrote: "Great review! Definitely taking this off my TBR.

Ugh, book slumps are the worst!! Sorry you are stuck in one, wish I had a great book to recommend to you! Hope you find something amazing soon :)"


Thanks, Sarah :) I don't know if you like TD's style. If you do, you may want to get a library copy and see if you like it. Hehe :) See what I'm doing here? I don't like to see people discouraged reading a book just because I had my issues with it


message 34: by Mo (new) - added it

Mo Great review. I love Historicals and can be quite fussy and I really felt that this was not "authentic" enough for me. I got about halfway through. Yeah, the maid would have been in awe of a Duchess ... ah, well, you win some, you lose some.


message 35: by Ann (new) - added it

Ann Wonderful review Bubu! i was waiting for this review ever since I started this book..... I am struggling to finish it. It's been about a week for me I think? I agree about the characters being too familiar with each other. I felt there was no chemistry at all with anyone and ended up being bored...


Christina ~ Brunette Reader Fantastic review, Bubu! :)
I'll pass on this one, as I said to other friends, TD doesn't always work for me... and not only for the lack of historical accuracy, but just because something often rings "off" to me in her plots/characterisations. Maybe I'll backlist instead.
Anyway, sorry it didn't work for you as a whole and that it didn't contribute in improving your book slump.


message 37: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Thanks, ladies :)

I haven't even mentioned the ridiculous sub plots which frustrated me even more. The Monster of Mayfair? Seriously? That was like Ghost of St. Giles light.

I hope, I really, really hope that TD will have a look at the points so many of us, who were underwhelmed, made and actually work on the plot for the next one.


Bookwormlover Fabulous review as always, Bubu. I love how you don't hold back even if its your favorite author. Will take this off my tbr list


message 39: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Thanks :)


Ursula Gotta laugh about your "clusterfuck" comment!! I admit the Monster of Mayfair was bizarre and rather weak, but I enjoyed some of the banter. As for the Ghost of St Giles, well, I actually like the Maiden Lane series, but it is becoming more and more weird. Waiting for her to hit bdsm territory, and not just the vanilla bondage of the first book, either:) IF she does, I will be outta there- just not my thing.


Ally Great review. And that seals the deal. Pretty much no one who I follow on GR thought this book was good. Something must have happened to Ms. Dare that got in the way of her writing style.

Either this one was a miss and the next one will get right back into the TD swing of things, or TD has jumped the shark.

Excellent review as always and seeing as how I trust your opinions, this one can slide right off my radar.


message 42: by Bubu (last edited Sep 09, 2017 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Ursula wrote: "Gotta laugh about your "clusterfuck" comment!! I admit the Monster of Mayfair was bizarre and rather weak, but I enjoyed some of the banter. As for the Ghost of St Giles, well, I actually like the ..."

It went like this: 'how to write about this clusterfuck of a book'. And there it was. Clusterfuck. The problem is that I could see all the elements I love about TD's writing but when I put them all together, they were distorted.
1. Emma's non-existent reservations towards a man who isn't very nice to her.
2. Her lust for him despite his obnoxiousness.
3. The lack of the tiniest hint of the different social statuses. Hell, if a stranger would be so familiar with me, or would hug me, I'd be put off. And I live in 2017!
4. The Monster of Mayfair. What the heck was that about? Why aren't his hang-ups enough to build a story

etc, etc, etc

By the way, I love Elizabeth Hoyt but I believe the Maiden Lane series has run its course.


message 43: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Ally wrote: "Great review. And that seals the deal. Pretty much no one who I follow on GR thought this book was good. Something must have happened to Ms. Dare that got in the way of her writing style.

Either ..."


Thank you, Ally. :) I think this was a miss, to be honest. In terms of thin plots Do You Want to Start a Scandal wasn't that great, either. But at least there was a build-up and we got to know the main leads.

I think this suffered from the 'first-in-a-series' syndrome. Not so much because other characters were introduced but building a new world.


Ally Bubu wrote: "Thank you, Ally. :) I think this was a miss, to be honest. In terms of thin plots Do You Want to Start a Scandal wasn't that great, either. But at least there was a build-up and we got to know the main leads."

Huh, I just realized I have never read that book! Going back to add it in. Thanks for the reminder!


message 45: by Ang (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ang So bummed to hear this - I've been bored (see my post in HR Group) and I was looking forward to this...expectations adjusted.


message 46: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Ang wrote: "So bummed to hear this - I've been bored (see my post in HR Group) and I was looking forward to this...expectations adjusted."

Don't be, Ang :) I know more people who loved the book than they didn't. Who knows, maybe if I had been in a different mood, I would have loved it.

Though, I must admit, the glaring disregard for rules was too much even for me, and I usually just ignore them in a TD book.


Elizabeth "Choppy" is an accurate descrption. Good review. Thx.


message 48: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu Thank you :)


message 49: by OLT (new) - rated it 2 stars

OLT Yep, I thought it was pretty terrible too. And soon we have the opportunity to read about one of this heroine's friends. A governess or something?


message 50: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan I started this for a BR but never finished. I marked it as go-back-later but I've never gone back. I think I'd better call it as what it is - dnf. My first Tessa Dare, and I wasn't impressed. It just seemed too silly for words. I do like the cover though ;)


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