Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dareromancing the duke by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #1
Published by Avon on January 28, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance
Pages: 370
Format: Paperback
Source: Advance Reader Copy, Avon Addicts

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 kissed?

This one.

Oh Tessa Dare, how do I love thee? Okay, well I do think you’re pretty sweet, but I meant to say your books 😉 This is Ms. Dare’s latest, and it does not disappoint.


Romancing the Duke was fun and witty and so delightful. Izzy is a hopeless romantic, and she’s pretty much down to her last dollar, so to speak. She’s just received word of an inheritance, though, and heads off to meet the solicitor.


Who she meets, however is Ransom, Duke of Rothbury. Scarred, blind, wounded, and devilishly handsome. At one point Ransom fears he’s so ugly Izzy has fainted from looking at him (she fainted from hunger), and he asks how he looks. I can’t find the note in my nook and I’m so mad because it’s fabulous, but basically he’s worried he looks frightful, and Izzy sighs and says something along the lines of “You aren’t going to make me say it, are you?”


“Yes, yes tell me,”


“Well, you look…”




“Like a handsome man with a scar.”


I loved that scene, and I hope I didn’t ruin it for you with my attempt at remembering it.


But the whole story is fantastic and fantastical. Don’t go in expecting perfect textbook historical mannerisms, because that’s part of the charm. It’s not true to form of the time period, but it’s perfect as is.


Izzy’s father was known throughout Britain as an amazing author who wrote children’s stories called The Goodnight Tales. They were about this devoted father telling his darling daughter a bedtime story each night. It comes out as a serial, a la Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and it is utter crap.


Izzy doesn’t resemble the girl in the least. Her bedroom looked nothing like “Little Izzy Goodnight’s” bedroom, and as of now, she no longer has a bedroom at all with her horrible cousin having inherited her home after her father died. So when she finds out the inheritance is a giant crumbling monstrosity of a castle, along with one handsome and cranky duke, she still tries to look on the bright side.


It’s actually Ransom’s castle but it’s been sold out from under him. He was in a duel recently and was struck down. He’s gone into hiding to recover and to lick his wounds, but those wounds won’t heal. He has lost his sight, but his wounds are mostly internal. I loved Ransom. He was grouchy and snobby and oh so ducal. But he was also considerate, and funny, and had such a dirty mouth. But I loved him. And so does Izzy.


Their romance is fun, and lusty, and full of intrigue, and white lies, and even a weasel. Oh, and the LARPers, we mustn’t forget them. (Live Action Role Players—people who dress up as characters from The Goodnight Tales).


I love this book. I heartily recommend it, and with everything from fun dialogue, witty and strong heroine, you too will fall in love with Romancing the Duke.


***ARC courtesy of Avon Books