Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Posted June 17, 2021 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa DareRomancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #1
Published by Avon on 2014-01-28
Length: 417 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Amazon
Reading Challenges: COYER 2021

In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde
Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.
She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks
offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and... Heh.

Now Izzy's given up yearning for romance.
She'll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over
for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who's never even been

This one.

I am so glad this was May’s #COYER book club pick! I’m not sure I would’ve picked it up otherwise. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare is a historical romance loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. I’m a sucker for all BATB retellings so I was really excited to dive into it. Y’all I turned on the audiobook to start listening, got close to halfway done then switched to reading and finished the book in one sitting. It is that good! Romancing the Duke will sweep you off your feet and give you all the feels.

Izzy is a twenty-six year old spinster, left penniless after her father’s untimely death, and has given up completely on finding a fairy tale prince of her own. I absolutely adored Izzy. Her father made a living from writing fantasy adventure serials with Izzy as the star. With a large following (think like Trekkies and Comic Con, but 1800s), Izzy must don her role as the naive maiden more often than she’d like, but she handles it well, falling into character as needed. 

Just as Izzy begins contemplating what work she can acquire to keep a roof over her head, she receives notice that her godfather has passed and left her a castle. The only problem, the castle belongs to the Duke of Rothbury who happens to be living in said castle. With nowhere else to go, Izzy decides to go head to head with the mysterious duke and hope she comes out the winner.

The Duke of Rothbury, also known as Ransome William Dacre Vane, returned to his ancestral castle, one that is falling apart and barely considered liveable, to lick his wounds after his fiance ran off with another man. Not only did she run off with another man, said man beat the duke in a duel. To add insult to injury, the duel left the duke blind and in his own imagination hideously scarred. So now he haunts his own castle, trusting his proprietors to handle his affairs and only allowing his butler to stay at the castle with him. He’s surly, bitter, and quite callous, the complete opposite of Izzy’s bubbly personality. Yet somehow the relationship that builds between them works. I really liked the dynamic and how he grounds her and she gives him hope. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Romancing the Duke. Izzy and Ransome will renew your hope in love. Sweet and steamy, this light historical romance has gone on my favorite pile. If you are looking for a heart-achingly sweet romance, this is it!

About Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances.

Mixing wit, sensuality, and emotion, Tessa writes Regency-set romance novels that feel relatable to modern readers. With her bestselling “Spindle Cove”, “Castles Ever After”, and “Girl Meets Duke” series, she has had great fun creating heroines who defy the conventions of their time—engaging in “unladylike” pursuits that range from paleontology to beer-making—and dreaming up the strong-willed, sexy heroes who find their hearts ensnared by them.

A librarian by training and a booklover 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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