I came across The Duchess Deal while listening to my favorite romance novel podcast, Heaving Bosoms. In the podcast, two friends read a book and thoroughly discuss it. I started listening to episode 19, which is part one of Tess Dare’s The Duchess Deal, and after hearing the host’s excitement about the book, I had to stop the podcast and read it myself. I was not disappointed in this witty, Beauty in the Beast like, historical romance novel.
Usually, I read mostly contemporary romance, but Tessa Dare has thrust me into the world of historical romances with her book The Duchess Deal. The book opens with our heroine, seamstress Emma Gladstone, bursting into the Duke of Ashbury’s house in a wedding gown. The Duke had just been writing a letter saying how he needs to find a wife now that he has returned from war, and it seems one just landed in his lap.
The Duke of Ashbury quickly proposes to Emma (which she thinks is a joke…at first), but his proposal has a few conditions: Emma cannot ask him about his scars. No lights, no kissing. And once Emma is pregnant she and the baby will be taken care of on one of this other estates, and she never has to see him again.
Emma has her own rules: They will have dinner together every night, with conversation…and teasing.
The Duchess Deal is filled with witty banter and is just plain silly at some points. The Duke and Emma have an electric chemistry and tension that starts with their verbal sparring and quickly moves beyond that. Tessa Dare is known for her great dialog and quirky characters, and this book certainly delivers, with each character having a well developed backstory and personality. Finally, this book is a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling, so if you enjoy that fairy tale, this is definitely the book for you!