Fangirl Musings's Reviews > Any Duchess Will Do

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
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Jun 01, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: classified-rec-smart-bitches, genre-romance-historical, genre-romance-historical-regency, trope-angst-ridden, trope-challange-bet-or-deal, trope-employer-employee-or-office, trope-fairy-tale-cinderella, trope-forbidden-love, trope-hero-alpha, trope-hero-job-political-or-peer, trope-hero-knight-in-shining-armor, trope-hero-rogue-or-rake, trope-heroine-across-the-tracks, trope-heroine-alpha, trope-heroine-financial-hardship, trope-heroine-hoyden-or-spirited, trope-heroine-in-disguise, trope-heroine-job-servant, trope-heroine-misfit, trope-heroine-tortured, trope-heroine-working-class, trope-in-deception, trope-mistaken-or-hidden-identity, trope-not-your-usual-conflict, trope-rags-to-riches-vice-versa, trope-sham-engagement, trope-shhh-its-a-secret, trope-star-crossed-love, classified-series, trope-at-odds-couple, trope-big-misunderstanding, trope-fairy-tale-retelling, trope-hero-fallen, trope-hero-feels-inferior, trope-hero-genius-or-cerebral, trope-hero-introverted, trope-hero-misfit, trope-hero-jealous-protective, trope-hero-recluse, trope-hero-rogue-or-rake-fake, trope-hero-smitten-with-heroine, trope-hero-tortured, trope-hero-widower-or-mourning, trope-heroine-bluestocking, trope-heroine-extroverted, trope-heroine-genius-or-cerebral, trope-heroine-plain-or-ugly, trope-heroine-wallflower, trope-hilarity-within, trope-jealousy-runs-amok, trope-older-man-younger-woman, trope-opposites-attract, trope-perfect-banter, trope-siblings-or-family-within, classified-five-stars

Don't feel like reading the following review? Then watch it!

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single mistaken assumption must be in want of a glorious ass kicking. What could I possibly be referring to, you might ask? Well, that being MY ass kicking, obviously, and of course MY epic Bitch-You-Crazy-Wrong initial assumption about this book. To quote myself,
"Eh, almost 75 pages in and a distinctive lack of deep POV. This one might not be a gem."
... Yeah. Say, can we hop in the TARDIS real quick-fast and go deliver a ginormous kick to the forehead to Past Jacqueline?

So, in the spirit of not hating too much on the sins of the past, I have to admit that...well, past Jacquie was wrong, but only to a point. This novel DOES rock the stadium down to rubble, but only a bit after page 75. The first four chapters of this little story are atrociously painful. If the Spanish Inquisition were led by Hitler and Jigsaw, even that level of discomfort couldn't compare to how bad this novel tries getting off the ground. When the reader is first introduced to our two lead characters, everything's chaotic. The introductions of their existence is chaotic, the character's initial meeting with on another in the story is chaotic, hell, even the first several exchanges between Griff and Pauline AFTER their "Hey, I'm A Person With A Name And A Face" are just insanely, well, chaotic!

SO MUCH MADNESS! While there is a healthy dose of info-dump that occurs at the onset of the book, most notably during our heroine's first on-page scene, the early part of the book's tone is painfully hurried. Heroine's doing this while running to go do that, and ooh, look! There's THIS factoid about Pauline, all while the hero's hurrying to enact his Hero Plot here and then just OH MY GOD SO MUCH CRAP! ... Honestly, so much was going on for the setup to get Hero A and Heroine B together that I was so, so worried whether or not these two people were going to be believable.

And, yet, I worried for nothing! After an extremely spasmodic sequences of events, once the plot gets underway, Tessa Dare thankfully does slow her roll. Pauline and Griff do begin developing a very keyed up dynamic that is deeply rooted in point of view. These two people become believably grounded in emotional depth the longer they are on-page, both together as a couple and independently as characters. At the beginning of the story, our hero seems just an irresponsible bachelor while our heroine seems just an uncouth servant. Thank spicy tacos these two explore much deeper realities than their initial characterizations. They are beautiful people, dammit, and their romance story is SO wonderful and YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!

Yeah, yeah, admittedly tropes are all over the place in this book, but to me, that's a good thing for I love tropes. Any Duchess Will Do is basically a Cinderella story, if Cinderella the character weren't a pushover lackluster dweeb. (Pauline is so much a better heroine than ol' Cindy!) This is the fairy tale that we WANT to believe, that is believable because all the plot points, all the emotion, all the buildup and drama culminate into a romance and HEA that feels real. If the aching feelings of this book could be bottled and sold, world peace would be instantaneously A Thing. The construction of emotions, dialogue interplay and sexual tension (oh sweet smexy goodness, the chemistry!) alone guarantee Pauline and Griff the gold medal for Most Beautiful Romance, Ever. There exists an open honesty between these two that is so uniquely refreshing. It culminates into one effing hot, most sexy, most intense romance love confessions from the hero truly -ever- written!

(view spoiler)

And, hey, that's just the beginning of the scene. This love confession goes into one seriously beautiful outpouring of manly feels, and it is a thing be witnessed! Griff is such an amazing hero, so elegantly written that he will rip your heart out all over the place. When a man, fiction or otherwise says the following, you love him dammit, whether he exists or not!

"You're an intensely attractive woman. You do know that, don't you? You'd believe me if you could see yourself."
"I have seen myself. That's the snag, you see."
"No, no. Not in a mirror. 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's only beauty."

Oh, God. You just don't even know! This book is entirely emotionally driven, and the few external moments of conflict are spawned by the internal turmoil within our two leads. The drama is believable, but more than that the story is good. The social confines and boundaries these two face are believably overcome. The quite torturous pain Griff deals with throughout the book is creditably dealt with, and the HEA is plausible. This story reaches into your soul in a way that is shockingly intense, and despite the very rocky start to the book you believe it, lock, stock and barrel. The tropes are fun, yes, and the characters are wonderful, of course, but best of all the book is strong, and the story is gorgeous.

Just, holy-balls, I need a drink.

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Reading Progress

June 1, 2013 – Shelved
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: classified-rec-smart-bitches
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: genre-romance-historical
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: genre-romance-historical-regency
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-angst-ridden
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-challange-bet-or-deal
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-employer-employee-or-office
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-fairy-tale-cinderella
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-forbidden-love
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-hero-alpha
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-hero-job-political-or-peer
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-hero-knight-in-shining-armor
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-hero-rogue-or-rake
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-across-the-tracks
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-alpha
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-financial-hardship
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-shhh-its-a-secret
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-hoyden-or-spirited
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-in-disguise
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-job-servant
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-misfit
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-tortured
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-working-class
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-in-deception
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-mistaken-or-hidden-identity
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-not-your-usual-conflict
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-rags-to-riches-vice-versa
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-sham-engagement
June 1, 2013 – Shelved as: trope-star-crossed-love
January 16, 2014 – Started Reading
January 16, 2014 –
page 74
19.73% "Eh, almost 75 pages in and a distinctive lack of deep POV. This one might not be a gem."
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: classified-series
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-at-odds-couple
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-big-misunderstanding
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-fairy-tale-retelling
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-fallen
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-feels-inferior
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-genius-or-cerebral
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-introverted
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-misfit
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-jealous-protective
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-recluse
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-rogue-or-rake-fake
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-smitten-with-heroine
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-tortured
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hero-widower-or-mourning
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-bluestocking
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-extroverted
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-genius-or-cerebral
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-plain-or-ugly
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-heroine-wallflower
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-hilarity-within
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-jealousy-runs-amok
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-older-man-younger-woman
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-opposites-attract
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-perfect-banter
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: trope-siblings-or-family-within
January 18, 2014 – Finished Reading
November 30, 2014 – Shelved as: classified-five-stars

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message 1: by James (new)

James Witherspoon *Cues head explosion*

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