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Summary

Witty, saucy Regency romance...

'I am a Duke. I'm not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It's a different thing entirely.'

When the Duke of Ashbury returns from war scarred, he realises he needs an heir - which means he needs a wife! When Emma Gladstone, a vicar's daughter turned seamstress, visits wearing a wedding dress, he decides on the spot that she'll do.

His terms are simple:
They will be husband and wife by night only.
No lights, no kissing.
No questions about his battle scars.
Last, and most importantly...once she's pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has secrets and some rules of her own:
They will have dinner together every evening.
With conversation.
And teasing.
Last, and most importantly...once she's seen the man beneath the scars, he can't stop her from falling in love....

When a girl meets a Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules....

©2018 Tessa Dare (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"The irresistibly provocative, classy love scenes set the bar high for other historical romance novels." ( Publishers Weekly)
"This book is funny, it's charming, and the romance works so beautifully." ( Smart Bitches, Trashy Books)
"A rollicking and passionate romp that is just what...fans will relish." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • D. Mark
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 31-03-18

Disappointing

Due to a change in publisher, this title came out several months after its original date. Having finally been able to listen to the book, I'm very sorry to say that it has come as something of an anticlimax.

I have read or listened to several Tessa Dare books, including the Castles Ever After, and the Spindle Cove series. Mostly (but not always) her books have been a hit with me, witty, well paced, and with really lovable characters. The first three Spindle Cove books are wonderful, after that, not so much. The cross-over book Do You Want To Start A Scandal was frankly bizarre.

When I read the blurb for The Duchess Deal it sounded like Dare had finally got back on track. When I found out that Mary Jane Wells was narrating the audiobook I was delighted. I am a big fan of Wells, and so waited the extra few months for the audiobook to come out, though the hard back was available much earlier.

The beginning section of this book is just as I had hoped. Lots of witty dialogue with two good quality leads, and some laugh out loud moments. Ash and Emma both have a lot of emotional baggage, but are both quite pragmatic with a shared dark humour. Ash's attempts to enjoy his wedding night are wonderfully calamitous, and his determination to keep a 'stiff upper lip' quite adorable.

For me, the book dipped terribly in the middle. Here, we are introduced to some of the characters who will become main characters in later books in the series. I felt this section was so obviously about setting up future books, and really broke the flow of Ash and Emma's story. These characters appear heavily in this middle section, and then disappear before making a brief reappearance near the end of the book. It just didn't feel natural, and I lost interest in the book, and didn't return to it for a few weeks.

The final section of the book was better, but to be honest I just didn't feel that there had been much emotional development between Ash and Emma. They seem to have sex every other minute, but there were no real moments of intimacy between the two. There were no proper descriptions of the two eating meals with each other, reading books, talking about their childhoods, laughing, sharing non-sexual touch... any of the scenes that normally make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Throughout they really struggled with intimacy, and 'witty banter' characterised nearly all of their conversations, which got really tedious.

It is quite a short book, and it felt like there wasn't time for some of the better elements to really shine. Ash's relationship with a local lad Trevor had the potential to be comedy gold, but it flagged until it became necessary as a plot device.

Wells does a good job, but as the book lacked emotional depth, so did her performance.

All in all, I don't think this will be a re-listen for me, and I'm not too fussed about listening to the rest of the series either.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Started well

This could have been so much better had it continued as it started. As the tale went on it focused on sex. Not always a bad thing but I would have preferred to know more about the characters.
I feel it’s a bit of a cop out to continually write about sex in this case.
Just my opinion. Not that best but certainly not the worst.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very witty

Plenty of humor and overall very enjoyable. V well read . A lighthearted and entertaining story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best novel I've read in years.

Witty, romantic and totally engaging. It was so well written and spoken. I couldn't stop listening!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

I like the humour in the way its read

This is a normal, easy read, romance. I am not sure why I liked it so much when I listened to the sample. The narrator gives the Duke a sense of humour as well as bad tempered behaviour. I am not sure if the author meant him to come across this way or if its just the narrator's way of doing men's voices. Whichever it is....it worked for me. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the two main characters. Both have a good sense of humour and behave in a "sensible" way to adapt to the story. A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Had promise but lacked something

I listened to A Week to Be Wicked from the Spindle Cove series by this author just before this one, and that book was surprisingly good, so I immediately went off to find the next highest rated book by the author. This one, however, lacked something for me. Some of the humour was a bit too slapstick, and the story felt a bit more shallow. It certainly had potential and I’m sure some people love it, but it was just missing that extra thing that draws me in. I’d definitely recommend the other book I mentioned though.

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More please

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This audiobook is just perfect. Perfect story, extremely entertaining narrator, great witty dialogs . Can I have more like this please !

What other book might you compare The Duchess Deal to, and why?

Duke’s holiday by Maggie Fenton , or What I did for a duke by Julie Ann Long

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The Unicorn vomit wedding dress scene but its a hard competition as the whole book is just perfect!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful