A lovely and quirky fairy tale in ‘Romancing the Duke’

18052985Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (Book 1 in Castles Ever After)
Avon, January 28, 2014 (Historical Romance)*

My Rating: Outstanding Adventure! (5/5)

Romancing the Duke is the first installment in Tessa Dare’s newest series. When I first came across the book, I was initially disappointed that her newest wasn’t going to be another Spindle Cove book. However, I adore Dare’s historicals, so I jumped right in and this novel was…delightful.

Izzy Goodnight is famous. Famous for being the daughter of a famed author who wrote romantic tales that has captured the hearts of England. Everyone believes that Izzy is that young girl from the stories and treats her as such. When her father dies without altering his will, Izzy is left destitute and alone, until her godfather bequeaths her a crumbling old castle. Arriving at the menacing castle, Izzy is just happy to have a roof over her head, but it looks like she’s going to have a castle-mate: the Duke of Rothbury.

Ransom William Dacre Vane is the eleventh Duke of Rothbury and the arguably the owner of Izzy’s new castle. Ransom has been hiding out at this castle for seven months since he was blinded in an accident. He doesn’t know how Izzy’s become the owner of his property, but he doesn’t like it and he doesn’t want her there. Of course, he doesn’t get what he wants, instead he gets a highly expensive secretary, an additional house guest, and an invasding legion of role playing Goodnight fans. This is of course the perfect recipe for a cute and hilarious romance.

Romancing the Duke was funny. It was really funny. The whole time I was reading I continually highlighted funny moments, there were many of them. This wit and humour is exactly why I love Dare’s books. It’s not all angst and misunderstanding after misunderstanding, followed by dreadful pain and then the inevitable groveling. Romancing the Duke has a lightness to it that doesn’t appear in all romances. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good angsty read, but for the most part, I love these funny books.

Ransom was in the midst of a pity party. He’s recently lost his sight and he’s not happy about it or the reason why it even happened. He just wants stay away from the rest of the world and for the most part that’s been easy as no one is looking for him, and the last thing he wants is some women messing that up:

Gods be cursed. The one thing Ransom wanted less right now than a swooning woman? A nuzzling woman. Since his injury, he didn’t like anyone too close. And he didn’t require any nuzzling, thank you. He had a dog. (p. 14)

Izzy is immediately taken with Ransom after he sweeps her off her swooning feet. She doesn’t see him as the cold and unfeeling duke that everyone else does. He makes her feel things that no one else acknowledges about her. No one treats her like a woman, they treat her like a girl, and then Ransom comes in and literally sweeps her off her feet, and she can’t help but cast him as her hero:

“It’s no use being stern,” she told him. “Glower all you like, but for heaven’s sake, you gathered me into your arms and carried me in from the rain. I could swoon all over again just thinking of it.”

“Don’t mistake that for chivalry.”

“Then what was it?”

“Practicality. I couldn’t have simply left you there. You would have attracted vermin.”

She smiled. “Oh, dear. All this and a sense of humor, too.”  (p. 35)

Ransom’s not entirely sure what to make of Izzy but the harder he tries to be rid of her the more he wants her to stay. This romance was very sweet and I loved how it unfolded. These were two very unconventional characters and they had a very unconventional courtship, but it all seemed to fit seamlessly and I loved it. I loved Izzy’s wild, alive and hungry hair, I loved Ransom’s pledge and I loved the Goodnight fans and their obsession with the Tales.

Romancing the Duke was simply a lovely romance and fans of Dare’s previous works will likely enjoy this one. We have the same type of quirky storyline, the same sense of humour and wit, and the guaranteed happily every after. I highly recommend this one, and I can’t wait to see where this series goes.

*Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

Similar Reads

The Sum of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #3)RavishedNine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)Brighter Than the Sun (The Lyndon Sisters, #2)

The Sum of All Kisses: Here we have another witty heroine with Lady Sarah and her reluctant suitor Hugh Prentice.

Ravished: Another pair of unusual characters, Gideon and Harriet are another unexpected couple, and Gideon’s beastly qualities are reminiscent of Ransom.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake: Another hero that’s dead set on goading the heroine, with often funny results.

Brighter than the Sun: Like Ransom and Izzy, Charles and Eleanor are thrown together unexpectedly and have to endure quite the journey to their happily ever after.

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