April’s stats are coming up tomorrow, but first we have another Book of the Week post – and for the second week in a row it’s a historical romance novel that has got the nod. I was lucky enough to go to Sarah MacLean’s London tea party back in February and met Tessa Dare there – but it’s taken a little while for her latest book to come to the top of the to-read pile.
The Duchess Deal is the first in a new series and tells the story a battle scarred duke and his marriage of convenience with a seamstress. The Duke of Ashbury came back from Waterloo a different man. Since then he’s hidden himself away as he recovered from his injuries. When Emma Gladstone turns up in his library, demanding payment for the dress she made for the fiancée who jilted him, he proposes that she marry him so that he can get the heir he needs. Emma had been relying on the money from the wedding dress to keep her afloat. Since her father disowned her, she’s made her own way in the world and is determined to succeed. But the chance to be a duchess could be the solution to all her problems. They both have rules for the relationship – his are all designed to stop her from getting close to him, hers are about conversation and getting to know each other. But as time passes, they both realise that this marriage may be the making of both of them.
Emma is feisty and determined, and definitely not a wilting wallflower. She knows her own mind and is prepared to stand up for what she believes in. I liked Ash as well. He is definitely an alphamale, but he’s one who has had to face up to a future he wasn’t really expecting which makes him more my sort of hero. They have great banter together and the reader gets to see plenty of their relationship in action. Because this is a marriage got into because Ash wants an heir, there is also quite a lot of bedroom action in this, which I would say is fairly steamy.*
I do love a marriage – or engagement – of convenience novel. When they’re done well they’re delicious – and this is one of those cases. I had a brief moment at the end where I wondered if there was about to be one storyline too many on the road to happily ever after, but I really shouldn’t have worried. There is quite a lot of set up here for the rest of the series – I’m looking forward to book 2, which gets a little meet cute here – but as most of that revolved around group of women being friends I didn’t have a problem with it.
I ended up with two review copies of this – one from NetGalley and then a proper book copy that I won in a competition on Twitter – but it’s out now and I don’t think it will be too hard to find. It came out in the UK in February (and in the US last summer) so you may have missed it in the supermarkets, but I’m sure it’s orderable and there are also the Kindle and Kobo editions too.
*Which is fine by me, but I know that other people like their romances to be more closed door than that.