Romancing the Duke

Tessa Dare
Romancing the Duke
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Release Date
January 2014
Book 1 of Castles Ever After
Historical Romance

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and . . . Heh.

Now Izzy's given up yearning for romance. She'll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who's never even been kissed?

This one.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Dec 24, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
97 people found the following review helpful
ROMANCING THE DUKE is a magical, romantic tale in the first of a new series! Tessa Dare doesn't disappoint.

Izzy Goodnight was down on her luck when she inherited a rundown castle. She went to claim it, only find a blind, scarred, wounded duke in residence...who did his best to run her out.

Izzy is refreshingly forthright and honest, especially with herself. For once--well, it's certainly very rare--we have a plain heroine, who is, well, really plain. When her friend volunteers to dress Izzy's hair, the friend said it could be "almost pretty". Almost. A galling word, but one Izzy takes in stride. She's also quite brave, having been left almost destitute by the untimely demise of her father, as she ventures forth to see what she could do to support herself.

Ransom is the aloof, arrogant, brooding hero, and he prefers to keep himself isolated and everyone else at bay, not allowing anyone to come close. His tragic past shaped him to be the man he is. What's unique about this hero is his..."condition", which also gave him a different perspective on life and what is actually important. He is horrendously, terribly flawed, both physically and emotionally, and this makes him human and relatable, sympathetic even, despite, yes, his title and great wealth as a duke. Maybe because of this, we also see the depth of his character as brought on by the tragedies he has experienced.

Tessa Dare crafted a winner with this tale that boasted an intriguing plot, believable romance, endearing and unforgettable characters, even the secondary ones like Duncan, Abigal Pelham and Wendell Butterfield. The suspense part of the story wasn't all that solid; I thought it was a bit contrived and was only added to give a reason for how Izzy came to receive the castle as an inheritance. However, that didn't hinder my enjoyment of this novel at all. There were a few twists that I didn't see coming, which added another layer of depth to the story and to the characters.

What I like most about this tale was that the ending, while romantic enough to satisfy a romance junkie's heart, was realistic in that not all the problems were miraculously resolved by the time we come to the end. In fact, it's even more romantic this way! I can't say more without giving away spoilers so I'll stop here and say that this book comes highly recommended. Best of all, it's the start of the series, so no one will be missing out on anything. A must read!
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