Somebody New

Wench Review of Tessa Dare's Romancing the Duke.

I've been stuck in a reading funk. It was bad. I couldn't pick up a book for months, and it was starting to depress me. I've always been the kind of person who is ALWAYS reading something. Anything. So going months without cracking open a book was just plain odd. But then came Feverborn (Talked about it here!) and Midnight Marked (CLV #12) and this year was starting to look a little better. But then... those books were so.freaking.good nothing else appealed to me! I picked up some smut, and it just wasn't doing it for me! Which is weird, because it usually does the trick when I'm bored and need something to read.

Fast forward to me browsing my twitter feed, and reading Alisha Rai's tweets like I always do (because she's awesome, I've talked about her books here and here!) and I got curious about Tessa Dare! I got on my kindle and bought Romancing The Duke (Castles Ever After #1), Say Yes To The Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) and When A Scot Ties The Knot (Castles Ever After #3) because I was hopeful and in the mood to spend money I didn't have on books ha! (My kind of retail therapy.)

I didn't know what I was looking for when I started these. But as it turns out, I was looking for a bit of fun. 

Click through to read more! (No spoilers!)

When I started this, I really expected these to be those pretty straightforward period romances that are, to be honest, a bit dull. The insanely beautiful girl who has had life treat her like shit lately, but it's never quite that bad and a husband usually fixes all her problems, and she doesn't know just how beautiful and perfect she is. And oh so innocent. Lust is NOT something she does. It's all "oh my"s and her basically being an observer in her own sexual awakening. *yawn* And then there's the guy, alpha to the core, no sense of humor, wants the girl but doesn't want to want her, brooding (usually without a good reason) and with scary rage fits that are supposed to be manly but are really just problematic. I used to read those when I was younger and didn't know better. 

I love being wrong. 

One chapter in, and I knew I would enjoy this. 
"She didn't know what upset her more : That this shadowy, handsome stranger had made so free with her person - carrying her in his arms, unlacing her stays, taking down her hair, and stripping her to her thinnest undergarments? Or that she'd somehow slept through the whole thing?

She snuck another glance at him, silhouetted by orange firelight. 
The latter. Definitely the latter. The most exciting quarter hour of her life, and she'd spent it completely insensible. Izzy, you fool." 
Our heroine fainted. Yes. But for one of the most real reasons one would faint. She hasn't eaten much in days. Because she's broke. She has nothing. Literally. Isolde Goodnight wasn't a fanciful or conventionally beautiful woman, but she was sensible, smart, tenacious, and funny... I instantly liked her. 

The one thing Izzy does have, is the burden of being the star of very popular childrens' books series her father wrote. And yikes, is it a burden! People expect adult Izzy to be that wide eyed child, and she gets treated like one too (usually by men... surprise surprise.) 

Ransom, Duke of Rothbury, is our crabby, hot as fuck, wee bit tortured (for good reason), injured, isolated, and visually impaired hero. Yep, you read that right. He lives alone in this castle, which is almost in ruins, with a loyal valet, and his wolf dog! I'm sucker for guys with pets. His dry sense of humor and sarcasm was a bonus point! And his initial anger is totally justified, when he finds that someone has sold HIS castle and Izzy has inherited it and has no intention of leaving. 

"Well," Izzy ventured to remark, some minutes into the tense silence Lord Archer had left behind, "this is an awkward situation."
"Awkward." The duke paced the floor, swinging his arms at his sides. Then he stopped in his tracks and said it again. "Awkward."
The word rang through the great hall, bouncing off the ceiling vaults. 
Izzy just stood there. Awkwardly.
"Adolescence," he said, "is awkward. Attending a past lover's wedding is awkward. Making love on horseback is awkward."
She was in agreement, so far as the first part. She'd have to take his word on it when it came to the second and the third.
"This situation is not awkward," he declared. "This is treachery."
Their encounters had me giggling a lot. It was kind of impossible not to immediately root for both of them. And you instantly want Ransom to loosen up a bit, and maybe smile a little. Even if his crankiness was endlessly entertaining. 

My favorite parts though, were the sexier ones. Duh, it's why I read romances. There's nothing like reading blistering hot sexual chemistry between two characters who just seem to affect each other on EVERY level. And Izzy and Ransom were, at times, painfully aware of each other. I loved it. Ransom made me swoon, and Izzy reacted like any hot blooded, normal woman would, with enthusiasm! 

She took advantage of his surprise, turning and flipping their positions on the bed so that she lay sprawled atop him.

"Tonight," she vowed, "I'm going to ravish you."

I like the way you think, Izzy!
I wanted to high five her so many times during the book! There were so many great moments. So many hilarious ones, too. The side characters were just as interesting, and I have to say I had a soft spot for Izzy's super fans! I get it when books inspire that kinda passion in their readers, and it's an amazing thing to be a part of! I mean, it's why this blog is here! 
"Wait. You can't let all those fancy-dress fools tromp through my castle. Thithering and anon-ing. I'm not having it, Goodnight."
Even if Ransom was bitchy about them initially, he learned to appreciate them too!
"I didn't know they allowed barristers to spend their free time tromping the forest in makeshift armor."

Wendell answered, "Why not? We spend our work days wearing long black robes and powdered wigs."
Ransom supposed that was true.
Readers, if ever you've wanted to read a period romance that was unlike any other, this is the one for you. Unique female and male leads that have you cheering them on (and pointing them towards a bedroom...) from the very first page. Backstories that make you love each character more. A very sweet, and sincere romance that WILL make you swoon and sigh. Very sexy & naughty things Ransom says in a very sexy voice that will definitely cause toe curling and maybe make you crack open a window when it's snowing outside. Cosplaying fans who are as dedicated and passionate as any of us! Awesome Star Wars references that are so cleverly a part of the story that I loved it! It was just a delight to read! 

I can't wait to read more of Tessa Dare's work! I'm so glad I gave these a chance! Pure fun. Nothing dull about it.

This Wench rates it :


  1. Loved your review Zee. I need to add this book to my TBR!

    1. Hope you enjoy it Ange! It was a bit of fun!


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