Book Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

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Romancing the Duke  by Tessa Dare was the historical romance book pick for the April 2020 Romance Book Reading Challenge sponsored by She Reads Romance Books. Read her review.

Romancing the Duke
by Tessa Dare

Series: Castles Ever After
Category:
Historical Romance
Tags: Tortured Hero, Opposites Attract

Kindle | Paperback | Audible | Apple Books

Rating: ★★★★★

“Her cravings for romance were gone. Now she’d settle for bread. What fairy tales were left over for a plain, impoverished, twenty-six-year-old woman who’d never even been kissed?”

I absolutely loved this book. It definitely falls into the category of books that I lose sleep over because I didn’t want to put it down. I selected this book as my historical romance read for the April 2020 Romance Book Reading Challenge I host at She Reads Romance Books. It was SUCH a great pick and has me ready to dive into another historical romance ASAP.

This was actually my first Tessa Dare book and it won’t be my last because her writing was phenomenal and so beautifully descriptive – just the way she described the castle made it come to life and even their first kiss was described in such a beautiful way. But what I loved most was her characters!

The Best Characters to Fall For

Izzy – a feisty yet innocent woman who never gives up

We meet poor Izzy when she barely has anything to her name and is just about out of luck until she receives a notice of a possible inheritance. Hoping for just a small fraction of money to get her by, she actually inherits a dilapidated castle which happens to have a Duke already living in it!

Izzy’s a girl who’s had to care for herself from a young age, someone who doesn’t believe she’s beautiful and with so much time and life circumstances passing she’s given up on romance and love despite wanting both so desperately. Unfortunately, her housemate, Ransom, is a man who has all but given up on life and who DOES NOT want to share his abode with this fair thing.

Ransom – the brooding curmudgeon

Ransom has been living in his castle after an accident that left him a shell of a man. He just didn’t know others thought he was dead and now he has a woman living under his roof that stirs need in him that he thought was long dead. But he wants her gone.

Opposites Do Attract

Even when Ransom was trying to put her off, Izzy fed off it. She would look for the romance and he would cast it aside time and again but she wouldn’t be put off.

“Glower all you like, but for heaven’s sake, you gathered me into your arms and carried me in from the rain. I could swoon all over again just thinking of it.” “Don’t mistake that for chivalry.” “Then what was it?” “Practicality. I couldn’t have simply left you there. You would have attracted vermin.” She smiled. “Oh dear. All this and a sense of humor, too.”

I loved her spirit and ability to make do with less than stellar situations. As she said, when thrown in a pond, she learned to swim. And swim she has in so many ways.

She had such courage and was in no way intimidated by Ransom and let him know it.

“There’s so little to you.”… “You’re wrong,” she said. “There’s a great deal to me, Your Grace. More than you know. More than anyone supposes. You can carry me outside, if you like. I’ll come back in. Again, and again. As many times as it takes. Because this is my castle now. And I’m not leaving.”

YES! You go Izzy! I just loved how she could not be intimidated by Ransom no matter his behavior or his words. And she’d often best him at his own game, shocking him with her own words in return. It was wonderful. I loved how she even schooled him on kissing. She was just so honest.

I have a weakness for a hero in a historical romance who is gruff, irritable and uses his cutting, shocking words to try and scare off the “innocent” heroine and yet it never works. Ransom was not shy of using innuendo or saying what he wanted to do to her quite outright but he was always shocked that the response he got which was the complete opposite he expected.

Izzy not only craved romance and a love story to call her own but underlying it all she wanted to be noticed and to be cared for. Whereas Ransom too was ultimately looking for affection as well. This was such a beautiful story that tugged at my heartstrings and presented such wonderful characters that I didn’t want to let go. Fans of historical romance should definitely read this book. It’s now one of my all-time favorites!

Do you like romance books with an ornery hero? Tell me in the comments below!

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