Nenia Campbell's Reviews > The Duchess Deal

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
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bookshelves: urr-botms, historical-romance, romance, yule-challenge-2017


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🌟 I read this for the Yule Bingo Challenge, for the category of Luna: lovable sidekick. For more info on this challenge, click here. 🌟



THE DUCHESS DEAL was my romance group's book of the month for November, and I am only now just getting around to it because people are jerks and don't return their library books on time. I figured it would be a two-birds-one-stone type of affair: belatedly finish our group read and also knock out a category on that Yule Challenge.



Here's the thing. I don't normally like fluffy romance novels. You say the word "fluff," and unless you're talking about a cat or marshmallow cream in a jar, I flee in the other direction. But THE DUCHESS DEAL is actually...cute? And genuinely hilarious? I actually lol'd at a few of the lines. It's so ridiculous and over-the-top, like Lisa Kleypas and Gail Carriger decided to have a slightly mad tea party and guzzled rose tea and macarons while dinking around on a typewriter. It's cute and silly and it works, even if it is slightly mad.



Emma is a seamstress and her latest work - a wedding dress - has gone unpaid, and her letters demanding said payment have gone unanswered. She decides that the best course of action is to wear the wedding dress to the house of the Duke she wants payment for, because, you know, visual aids.



The Duke of Ashbury was forced to call off his engagement because his wife-to-be found his facial and bodily scars so disgusting that she literally became ill at the prospect of their wedding night. However, he wants an heir - partially to spite the relatives he hates and deny them the pleasure of inheritance - and when Emma comes altar-ready to his doorstep and seems less than repulsed by his imposing visage, a rather unconventional idea forms in his head.



They work out a deal: he will marry her, and by day she can do whatever she wants as long as she sleeps with him every night - at least until she gets pregnant. Then he'll move her off to his summer estate and they never have to see one another again. It all works out: Ash gets his heir, and Emma has the means to save a friend of hers who had a child out of wedlock.



Neither of them expect to end up falling for one another.



I know this plot is cliche and a little over-the-top. Beauty and the beast retellings are available in spades - and yet, few of them manage to balance the gruff and yet vulnerable personality that is characteristic of the beast without making him seem like a total nerf-wad. Ash is a jerk, and sometimes he is an annoying jerk, but I never felt like he was a totally bad person. Later on in the book, it becomes just how badly he was hurt, and how much of his nasty exterior is purely defensive, much like a porcupine's quills.



Emma walks a fine line between genuinely quirky and twee, but ultimately I found her more amusing than anything else. I thought her passion for dress-making was great (so many romance heroines have zero hobbies). I thought the nicknames she came up with to annoy the Duke were hilarious ("Twinkles", "Bunnykins" - LOL). She also has a rather lovely array of friends.



Which brings us back to the point of this exercise - the Yule Challenge, which is unarguably biased in favor of fluffy books. I decided to use THE DUCHESS DEAL to fulfill the "Luna" category for lovable sidekicks because this book has them in spades: whether it's a brattily precocious young man named Trevor, a snarky Butler named Khan, a contrary cat named Breeches, three eccentric ladies named Alexandra, Nicola, and Penny, or a goat named Marigold, Tessa Dare has you covered.



This is my first Tessa Dare book and it won't be the last. Anything that makes me smile this much gets three stars, no matter how silly it is. Honestly, this was just the breath of flowery air I needed after a visit to Bodice Ripper Town. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!



3 to 3.5 stars
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Reading Progress

May 6, 2017 – Shelved
May 6, 2017 – Shelved as: wishlist
December 17, 2017 – Started Reading
December 17, 2017 – Shelved as: urr-botms
December 17, 2017 – Shelved as: historical-romance
December 17, 2017 – Shelved as: romance
December 17, 2017 –
page 10
2.57% "We read this in my romance group last month as one of the books of the month. Unfortunately, my library didn't get the memo and I am only just now getting to it. MY FIRST TESSA DARE BOOK YOU GAIZ.

I am excite."
December 17, 2017 –
page 21
5.4% "I actually giggled! I can't remember the last time a romance made me giggle.

*thinks*

Well, OK, I can't remember the last time a romance INTENTIONALLY made me giggle."
December 17, 2017 –
page 26
6.68% "He just called her his little penguin

I AM DECEASED"
December 17, 2017 –
page 47
12.08% "His fingers strangled the stem of his wineglass. She could practically hear the grapes calling for help.

LOL"
December 17, 2017 –
page 76
19.54% " "'Blaspheme as you will, but at least use words from Shakespeare.'"

This is how I shall be raising my children."
December 17, 2017 –
page 89
22.88% "You know this is a Tessa Dare novel because there is a goat in it. :-)"
December 17, 2017 –
page 118
30.33% " He retreated a pace and stared at her. As if she'd sprouted horns. And then sprouted pansies and teacakes from the horns.

LOL"
December 17, 2017 –
page 151
38.82%
December 18, 2017 –
page 220
56.56% ""You are such a wienerbrød."

He sputtered. "That is the vilest thing I've ever heard. And I don't even know what it means."

"It's an Austrian pastry." She lifted her chin. "And it's probably delicious, but if I had one right now, I would lob it at your head."
"
December 18, 2017 –
page 389
100.0%
December 18, 2017 – Shelved as: yule-challenge-2017
December 18, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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Sarah I can't believe this is your first Dare romance!! I thought for sure you'd read her Spindle Cove series. You must get on that situation immediately.


Nenia Campbell Sarah wrote: "I can't believe this is your first Dare romance!! I thought for sure you'd read her Spindle Cove series. You must get on that situation immediately."

Well, that is high praise!


message 3: by Celestine (new)

Celestine Wonderful review!


Nenia Campbell Celestine wrote: "Wonderful review!"

Thank you!! :-)


Ally I'm so glad you liked this one! So many people were greatly disappointed but a few of you on this board have given me hope! Great review - if your intent was to make me feel smiley and fluffy, you have succeeded.


Nenia Campbell Ally wrote: "I'm so glad you liked this one! So many people were greatly disappointed but a few of you on this board have given me hope! Great review - if your intent was to make me feel smiley and fluffy, you ..."

It was super cute!!! And if her fans didn't like this one, that only makes me more excited for her earlier books - they must be absolutely amazing! #standards


Ally Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ wrote: "Ally wrote: "I'm so glad you liked this one! So many people were greatly disappointed but a few of you on this board have given me hope! Great review - if your intent was to make me feel smiley and..."

She had some good ones and some meh ones. Overall, she writes good fun and I love it.


Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Nenia, her Spindle Cove series is a must read.


Nenia Campbell Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* wrote: "Nenia, her Spindle Cove series is a must read."

That's great to hear! I think I have the first book on my Kindle, and I plan on picking it up as soon as I finish my fantasy challenge. :-)


Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ wrote: "Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* wrote: "Nenia, her Spindle Cove series is a must read."

That's great to hear! I think I have the first book on my Kindle, and I plan on picking it up as soon as I fini..."


My absolute favourites in the series are A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2) by Tessa Dare and Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) by Tessa Dare

I look forward to reading your reviews in due course, Nenia. :)


Nenia Campbell Thank you for the recommendations! I'm reading the first book right now. :-)


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