Any Duchess Will Do, by Tessa Dare

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove Series)
By: Tessa Dare
Published date: May 28, 2013

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
How hot is it: 3.5 out of 5
Hero: Griffin, Duke of Halford
Heroine: Pauline Simms

So it’s almost spring, and it’s a good thing because I’ve actually literally run out of Elizabeth Hoyt and Tessa Dare books to read. I started out prepared to not like this book much because it’s one of those commoner falls in love with an aristocrat stories, which I normally don’t enjoy just for the fact that it seems stressful and I don’t care to be stressed while I’m reading something that’s supposed to make me un-stressed or de-stressed. Or whatever. I’m not going to stress about the spelling of the word that means less stressed.

Anyway, I was wrong, as usual, because this book was great. I don’t know what it is, but so rarely do book descriptions capture the spirit of a book, and I’m always thinking I won’t like something that I totally end up adoring. But I’ve gotten off track again. Basically, the Duke of Halford’s mother wants her son to get married. So she drugs him and takes him to Spindle Cove where she tells him he has to choose any woman, and she will turn her into a duchess. Well, he’s so clever, and he ends up picking a serving girl. But the joke’s on him because his mom is totally cool with it because she’s his mom and she’s super wise and knows that he’s already intrigued with the smart-talking girl. So the duchess has a week to make Pauline the toast of the town. Spoiler alert: She doesn’t really succeed. Double spoiler alert: They fall in love instead.

The smaller story here is that the Duke of Halford is a libertine, described as such a reprobate in another of the Spindle Cove books that I almost didn’t want to read an entire book about him, and I just love a naughty rake. Pauline is a hard-working serving girl trying to protect her developmentally challenged sister from her abusive father and has a dream of opening a circulating library. And herein lies the problem. Pauline doesn’t really do any changing, she’s just great at the beginning and she’s great at the end and I guess her reward for that is getting to be a super rich duchess who still only cares about people reading books. And this is all fine and great and wonderful, but I have to admit that sometimes it was also kind of boring.

This is not to say I felt anything other than enjoyment while reading it because my pleasure was very real, but I wasn’t quite as enchanted with it as I am with most Tessa Dare novels. I loved a lot about it, especially the Duke’s redemption process and seeing him heal. I also really dug his mother and watching their relationship evolve. Mother/son relationships aren’t super usual in these novels, and it was fun to read. When it’s all said and read, another home run by Tessa Dare!

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