- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1703 KB
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Publisher: Mills & Boon (31 August 2017)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B073NXHT86
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 856 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,565 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Duchess Deal: A stunning Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of The Governess Game and The Wallflower Wager (Girl meets Duke, Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including twice winning the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award and also receiving the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.
A librarian by training and a book lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.
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She meets the duke when she goes to collect money owed to her for the wedding gown she made for his ex-fiancé. Ash offers to make her his duchess instead and the story that follows will have you laughing, sighing and cheering for the happily ever after.
I absolutely Adored this story, we are treated to the kind of love story that leaves you gushing. Sparks fly between this couple -theirs is a lovely story filled with unexpected romance, love and passion. I absolutely loved the way they dealt with each other's scars and made the other one feel whole. These two are a perfect match and I loved their journey to happiness.
Ash and Emma. Such a gorgeous couple, and so perfectly matched.
Tessa Dare has the most magical writing style in this book. So funny (their conversations are priceless), a little sad and poignant, a perfectly wonderful romp. It's just too delightful, and a book I've re-read many times.
Top international reviews
When the Duke of Ashbury returns from the war horribly scarred ("Faulty rocket at Waterloo. You have precisely three seconds to move past it. One. Two...") his fiancée can't bear to look at him and calls off their engagement. In dire need of a wife and heir (so his estate doesn't fall into the hands of his 'toad of a cousin'), when seamstress Emma Gladstone explodes into his study demanding payment for the bridal gown his fiancée has cancelled, he asks her to marry him instead.
"If it's a wife you want, surely you could find many women - many well-bred ladies - who would be willing to marry you."
"Yes, but then I'd have to find them. This saves me so much effort."
Emma is not a fool and, although it takes her a couple of days (she's not entirely sure he's serious), she soon accepts. She thinks she might even grow to love the Duke, and is hoping for a real marriage, but the Duke has a few rules...
There are two things about this novel that make it outstanding: the cracking dialogue and the brilliant characters - particularly the hero, Ash. I was about halfway through the story when the penny dropped. Ash is basically Deadpool - manically cracking irreverent jokes to hide his pain, both mental and physical. Ash had once been an extremely handsome man, now he considers himself to be a monster who frightens small children. It's not the only superhero reference. Ash's relationship with his butler is very Bruce Wayne and Alfred ('Batman'), the encounter with Trevor (the teenage boy who wants to be the sidekick of the 'Monster of Mayfair') reminded me of 'The Incredibles', and then there's that very steamy kiss in the pouring rain ... 'Spiderman'?
So, if you love historical romances written in a very traditional Jane Austen/Georgette Heyer style, you're going to hate this. But it you love witty, warm-hearted romantic comedy, with characters that leap off the page demanding your attention, you'll love it.
This was definitely a five-star read for me.
Thank you to Tessa Dare, Mills & Boon and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Emma works as a streamstress and walks into The Duke of Ashbury’s house asking for money that is owed to her, if she doesn’t get paid she will be out on the streets. Ash is the Duke and feels he looks like a Monster due to an injury he suffered whilst at war! To ensure his estate is safe when something happens to him he needs an heir, and with never leaving his house, he sees this down and out streamstress as the way forward! When Ash propositions Emma, she takes her money and storms out the house, back to the life in the shop.
Ash refuses to take no for an answer and arrives at Emma’s place of work, he tells her she will marry him and have his heir, although there are rules she has to abide by. Of course, she would be silly to not accept his offer, so signs the papers and married the Duke.
Emma refuses to allow Ash to be mean and hurtful to her, and gives as good as she gets. In doing this, they both start having feelings for each other, but thinks that the other isn’t interested. Can the two of them realise before it’s too late that they really want each other, or will they both end up being miserable and alone.
The content has some of the elements I don't like, as above, and the plot is certainly not a new one - the physically and mentally scarred war veteran being saved by the love of a good woman has been done again and again. That aside, I laughed out loud, rooted for the couple, loved their banter, especially the heroine's teasing of her stiff, starchy husband and the relationship with their staff, and just simply enjoyed this light, funny and uplifting book, and just set aside my usual reservations. For others like me, who might not want to read something which is not true to the period, I would say do try it and read it without reservations! Would I read other books by this author? - yes, if they come as highly recommended as this one, but she still wouldn't be an auto-buy for me.
This was my first Tessa Dare book and I enjoyed it immensely.
We have a marriage of convenience, a cold deal really. Ash needed an heir and Emma was down on her luck financially.
Usually I'd avoid the coldness to the beginning of this romance but I was drawn to this story and so glad I read it.
-There's a somewhat beauty and the beast theme to this.
-Emma's no damsel in distress and had no problem challenging Ash.
-Ash, a self-proclaimed monster could certainly be a D... but he was more grumpy with a dash of being jaded.
-Speaking of Ash and Emma, Emma's challenging mixed with Ash's dry wit was wonderful. Funny and charming, honestly.
-Then we've got the meddling house staff which were hilarious and my favourite Khan! Omg his sarcasm and humour killed me. I loved him.
-A c... blocking cat who honestly deserved more page time imo.
-Ash and Emma growing together and falling in love while trying to convince themselves they weren't.
-Emma's group of girlfriends
- Sweet and steamy
Now, this is a historical so yes, how some things are presented sometimes were not my favourite. I personally think Ash deserved to grovel way more but he got away with it because of things that wrapped up and glossed over way too quickly. The structure of the writing, it ran together. No separation of pov , threw me off at first But I did get used to it quicker than I thought I would. But hey ho, it was what it was and I still liked this story a whole lot and so glad I have it a go.
The scenes involving Breeches had me smiling/laughing – poor Ash, I could picture the scenes so well in my mind. The by-play/interactions between Ash and Emma had a lovely pace to them, and the heat between them, oh by, you may need a fan at times. I adored how Emma teased Ash, and the shenanigans of Emma and her friends were also amusing, as were Ash’s reactions once he realised what they were about. I adored the way in which Ash is snarky, it really works well. And I loved how those who admired and cared for Ash didn’t see the monster Ash thought he was.
I also really enjoyed the scenes between young Trevor and Ash, they were fun. And there is the scene with Emma’s father and Ash, lordy that had me happy (and mentally rubbing my hands in glee). I can imagine her father, for the rest of his life cowering, and dreading his day of judgement.
I cannot believe that this has been gathering dust on my kindle, I completely forgot I had gotten it.
Another ace book by Tessa Dare, that will be staying in my re-read pile.
Reclusive, disfigured war hero and duke Ash needs an heir, and when a seamstress in dire straits rocks up on his doorstep she seems just the woman for the job – but little does he realise she‘ll bring him so much more than a child, including joy and a sense of self-worth.
The good and the bad:
The disfigured and hurting man – a la Beauty and the Beast – is a classic hero type, and in this case, characterised really well. Yes, Ash is bitter after being severely disfigured at war, but still his wit shines through giving us something to like about him from the outset. The matter of Ash’s disfigurement and related insecurity was dealt with sensitively. Through the amusing dialogue and developing relationship with seamstress Emma, my love of Ash grew, and Emma was likable and good match for him, having suffered her own hardships. I was rooting for them both.
There were some exciting and adventurous sex scenes, always described well. I particularly like the one in the library when Emma is reaching for a book, and the reverse psychology scene in the chair!
There were some little side stories that didn’t distract from the main event of Ash and Emma’s love story, but rather wove together to enhance the book – although I did wonder where the “Monster of Mayfair” thing was leading to, and it seemed a bit superfluous. (It doesn’t relate to a real “monster”, by the way.)
Yes, the book is probably not entirely true to the era but as someone who is not a history buff, this didn’t bother me. There are undoubtedly a few bits that are not realistic (like the ball scene towards the end) but I think the book is meant to be a bit whimsical. It’s light, romantic fun and it genuinely made me smile throughout.
My only real criticism is that there are no line spaces to signal a change in scene. That really played havoc with the flow of the book and is an annoying lack of basic standards by the publishers in an age when most books are published as eBooks and – I imagine – books likes this are largely purchase in eBook format.
Overall, I loved it enough to read the next book in the series immediately afterwards.
You’ve got a seriously battle-scarred Duke who is bitter and grumpy expertly manoeuvring a kind natured young woman into marrying him as he desperately needs an heir.
The deal is that once he has an heir, she needn't ever share his bed but she’ll be taken care of for the rest of her life and expected to raise the child well.
Sounds like a sweet deal right? Especially when you’re estranged from your family and barely making ends meet as a seamstress!
I love that Dare doesn’t dilly-dally in getting to the point. The Duke (aka Ash) and Emma meet in the first few pages and they’re married within a few chapters. It’s quick and transactional just like it’s supposed to be because all the fun stuff comes after they’re married!
Ash has a heart but it has been badly damaged by people’s cruel words and actions since returning from the battle of Waterloo badly disfigured. Emma has her work cut out for her to tear down the walls and reach his heart but she isn’t a cold, nor faint, hearted ninny so goes for it!
Watching the pair of them fall in love, and watching Ash learn to accept himself, was a pleasure and I inhaled the book over the course of a single evening as I couldn’t put it down.
It was the perfect little escape from the real world…
I’m very much looking forward to reading the other books in the series and watching Emma’s friends meet their matches, for I think this is quite possibly the quirkiest and most interesting bunch of women I’ve seen crop up in regency romances ever!
The writing in this book is wonderfully witty, and Tessa Dare really developed the best characters in Emma and Ash and just how they bounce off each other. It was so fun to read all of their interactions, as they were so comedic and sometimes gruff and snappy with one another yet there was a constant underlying of love and respect for one another.
The side characters in this book are also really great from Emma's friends, who I know get their own books in this series and I can't wait to read, from the servants who love to plot about throwing Emma and Ash at each other in different ways to make them truly fall in love as well as the butler Khan who is knowledgable and kind, and not afraid to say what he thinks. Even Breeches the cat is a hit!
I thought how Emma and Ash really began to reveal their flaws and fears to one another, and the slow way Ash finally allowed Emma to really see him, and feel him, his scars fully on show was truly beautiful. This scene, despite being a sex scene, actually made me well up in emotion as I really felt the connection between the characters and I could almost hear all their walls come tumbling down.
Brilliant characters, wonderful plot and witty writing. A must read!
I accidentally read the sequel to this first, but the good thing with a lot of the romance books that get created is that they can be read in any order. Of course you may get tiny spoilers if you read out of order but it’s never a huge deal so thankfully that was the case with this novel.
Emma has made a dress for a lady who is due to be married soon. However the wedding is cancelled and Emma needs payment for her dress so she goes to the manor of the man who was supposed to be wed in the dress. After an argument they somehow end up agreeing to get married so that the Duke of Ashbury can have an heir and Emma can have a place to live.
I do love a marriage of convenience story so this was right up my street. Given that I’ve read the sequel I can’t help but compare, and I did much prefer The Governess Game. I wasn’t as into the main couple in this story but they were still endearing as a couple and reading them both grow in confidence as their relationship developed was lovely.
The Duke of Ashbury (Ash) acts as a vigilante using his scarred skin as a disguise which I thought was an interesting plot to have in a romance novel but for me it just felt a bit contrived at times. I understand why it was there, helping to show Ash’s acceptance of his wounds and scarring, but something was just off about it for me.
Dare’s writing is very engrossing, I always feel like I read her books super quickly because I get really into it and you suddenly realise you’ve read half of the book in no time. So I definitely plan to pick up more of her books n the future when I want a steamy historical romance!
--Most of the time, a girl needed to rescue herself.
How you feel about books is often dictated by what you’re going through at the time of reading them. And I read this one while heartbroken. You see, the evening before I opened this up, my boyfriend and I made the horrible decision to break up. In so many ways, we were perfect for each other, but there was one thing that just kept coming back up. You’d think, after having my own heart destroyed, I wouldn’t be able to read a romance. I didn’t think I would be able to.
And yet, I did read this. In fact, it was the only thing that could take my mind off of how much I miss him for more than a few minutes at a time.
This book was like a warm hug, a soothing balm, a much-needed respite. It showed me that love existed, and that a man would do anything to be with the woman he loved, even if just in fiction.
--“You’re mine,” he said hoarsely, lifting his head and staring deep into her eyes, willing her to believe. “If you leave, I will follow. Do you hear me? I will follow and find you and cart you home.”
It also showed a heroine who, despite being a seamstress, could stand up to a grumpy duke. It had a varied group of female friends, each wonderfully interesting in their own right. It made me smile and laugh out loud several times, despite how much I was hurting. It had passion and demonstrated female sexuality in a positive light. It even had a bodice-ripping scene, then went and flipped it on its head with the heroine ripping the hero’s shirt.
So basically, this book was magic. I’m going straight on to The Governess Game after this because Tessa Dare clearly knows how to deal with heartache.
Ash is scarred and makes wise cracks to hide his pain. He needs a wife to make sure he has an heir, but he's not expecting any woman to fall for him because he thinks he's too scarred. His staff are fiercely loyal to him and are doing their best to get their master to fall in love. I kept thinking of Beauty and the Beast - the Disney version.
Emma is proud but pragmatic. She knows that a seamstress and disgraced daughter of a parson isn't likely to get an offer to marry a Duke, so she takes the opportunity when she's offered it. She and Ash fall for each other, but take ages to admit it to each other.
I love the sense of humour and the interaction between the two. There were a couple of scenes (especially the one with the cat!) which made me laugh out loud.
I don't read many historicals, so I have no idea about historical accuracy, but as a rom com, it's brilliant.
Ash, the Duke of Ashbury has returned from Waterloo grossly disfigured. But with his looks go his confidence and trust in humanity. Rejected by friends and betrothed he seeks to honor his duty to extend his lineage through unusual means.
Enter, literally, Emma a seamstress who has sewn his betrothed wedding dress and comes seeking payment to save herself from destitution. She too has been rejected. But she is there so will do as a convenient wife.
And the battle begins to save their hearts. Too late already lost.
The wit, banter and cleverly written story will have you enthralled from the off. Excellent read.
Would highly recommend. Loved Ash and Emma’s relationship and banter.
I received with thanks an ARC copy of The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) from Mills & Boon & Netgalley.
This is my true and honest review of The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare. This was published in August 2017
This was a sweet, bold, daring, loveable romance. I absolutely adored the romance between the two main lead characters Emma and Ashbury. The author has a way of making you fall in love with all the characters and you unable to put her book down. I have her Castles Ever After series so will have to the start them all soon.
Give it a go if you love good historical romance.
Lord Ashbury has been horribly scarred in war, so scarred that he terrifies small children and his fiance turned from him in revulsion. All he wants is to hide away forever - but he has no heir and so he must marry because despite his curmudgeonly, embittered manner he is also a good landlord and knows the livelihoods of many people depend on the dukedom. So, he needs a wife. Enter a young woman clad in a wedding dress. What are the odds...
Seamstress Sophie needs paying for the monstrosity of a wedding dress she created for Ashbury's ex-fiancee, but gets more than she bargained for when the Duke offers her marriage instead. There are conditions. He needs an heir so they need to sleep together every night - but no kissing, no affection and as soon as she is pregnant she moves away to a house in the country and they don't need to interact again. Sophie is pragmatic, she knows he's offering her a much better life, and she can help out a friend as well if she has a home of her own and so she accepts. What she doesn't expect is to fall in love with her own husband.
This is a joy of a book. It tackles some really weighty issues - PTSD for both protagonists, pain and rehabilitation but with such care and so much humour! It's really very, very funny and very, very sexy. Dare's humour resounds through the book '"Well, I'm afraid my schedule is quite booked for the rest of the week." He flipped through the pages of an agenda. "Brooding, drinking, indoor badminton tournament..."' and both Emma and Ashbury are vivid characters who jump off the page.