This is the first installment in the Girl Meets Duke series by Tessa Dare. It’s the adorable and romantic tale of Emma Gladstone, young seamstress down on her luck and pennies away from being out on the street. After she’d finished a custom, and very tacky, wedding gown for the fiancé of the Duke of Ashbury, the engagement is broken, and the fiancé refuses to pay Emma. Desperate, she decides to wear the atrocity, knock on the duke’s door and demand payment. Little does she know she’s walking into the lion’s den.
Ashbury is a scarred man—physically and emotionally. Wounded in the war, the hideous scar on his face was the impetus for his fiancé’s decision to put an end to their nuptials. Licking his wounds and shunning society, Ashbury has chosen a reclusive lifestyle only emerging at night to menace London’s ne-er do-wells in his attempts to right the wrongs of the world. Content to live his remaining days alone, he only lacks for one thing—an heir. When Miss Gladstone storms his sanctuary, he presents an offer she can’t refuse.
This is a fun read. If you like romance and root for the underdogs, this historical romance is for you.
Bestselling author Tessa Dare is a wizard at divining a crisp and delightful story that’s peppered with humorous quips. As I read, I found myself laughing and crying and cheering for the protagonists to come together and heal each other’s wounds. While this “Beauty and the Beast” inspired tale promises a similar happy-ever-after, the real beauty of this book is that it’s not about physical transformations, but rather emotional ones. And much like the classic tale, the supporting cast and memorable secondary characters enrich the plot and reinforce that the author is a master of writing a delightful, multi-dimensional story.
Image Courtesy of Tessa Dare