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I received an ARC for this book a few months before it was set to release but I had a hard time getting into it. I love Tessa Dare but that first chapter was excruciating.
I knew immediately that I would be listening to this book on audio so I waited until the release date and borrowed a copy of it from the library.
Holy smokes The Duchess Deal blew me away! I don’t even know I had a hard time reading it in the first place because man, this book cracked me up!
I immediately felt the Beauty and the Beast trope and as much as we have been inundated with a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings, I did not find The Duchess Deal annoying.
The Duke of Ashbury is our typical brooding hero. Recently returned from the war, he has been away from society because of his injuries which left half of his face scarred. His fiancé also left him. Enter our heroine, Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter and a seamstress who stormed the castle, so to speak, to demand payment of the wedding gown she sewed for his fiancé. Of course, she was wearing the hideous gown as she marched into his study. And of course, the duke said she will do and proposes a marriage of convenience.
I have to say that Tessa Dare has outdone herself this time! The Duchess Deal is spectacularly funny and I could not help but laugh out loud while listening to it. There is one scene that I absolutely adore – the duke scaring the vicar in his room one night, claiming to be the devil! Oh, and let’s not forget the mangy cat Britches!
While I enjoyed The Duchess Deal so much, I felt that Emma fell in love with the Duke really quickly. I wanted more development on both of them. Also, the Duke didn’t endear himself to me because he was an ass. I get that he doesn’t want to get hurt or abandoned so he had to build a wall around him, but heck, he wasn’t even in-love with his ex-fiancé so I don’t understand why he was building this wall. So I really didn’t understand how Emma could fall in love with him after a few kisses and conversation?
The Duchess Deal is narrated by Mary Jane Wells and she is an amazing narrator when it comes to light and fluffy romances. Her tone is perfect and her pacing spot-on and she does have a way of reading that makes the scene even more funnier! If you haven’t listened to an audio narrated by her yet, definitely try The Duchess Deal on audio or Devil in Spring on audio.
Overall, I give The Duchess Deal 4 stars. The only reason why my rating is not lower is that I listened to the audiobook and this book was hilarious.
I highly recommend the audiobook version of The Duchess Deal.
I have problems with the cover and the step back cover! Gaaaah The reason why I don’t love the cover is that the hero has scars all over the half of his face and it would have been better to show that on the cover. Or maybe the step back cover, you know?
Do you like romances loosely based on Beauty and the Beast?
What do you think about heroes that don’t seem to redeem themselves in the end?
Also, what do you think about the cover?