THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. MUSHY, GUSHY, CHEESY SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Title: Romancing the Duke
Author: Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
“Of course you don’t deserve her. No man deserves a woman like that. He mortgages his very soul to win her and spends his life paying off the debt.”
Tessa Dare’s Romancing the Duke is possibly the cheesiest romance novel I have ever read– and I have read quite a few cheesy books. I have put down quite a number of them as well, but Dare kept me entertained and grinning even when I wanted to slam the good against my face.
That’s appropriate book treatment, by the way. Much more satisfying to whack yourself in the head than to throw it across the room. Helps to impress the cheese through your pores. Quite therapeutic.
Also as an aside; is it just me, or is there something oddly satisfying in the lines that run down the spine of a well-loved romance novel? You can the use even as the cover curls, but those lines tell a story. The deeper the tear in the seams, the more interested the reader was at that point. They pulled those pages apart to get to the next.
They are the only books on my shelf that I like to see reasonably damaged. I mean, just look at those sexy, sexy stretch marks! Those slightly worn edges! This book has been READ
by me and it still looks good.
You show ’em, mass market paperback cheesy, smutty romance novel. First in a series, mother of dragons, Queen of the Andals, Rhoynar and the First Men.
Wait. Wrong series. Oops.
So what made this cheesy novel worth finishing? The fact that the characters are well aware of the cheese, call it out and take no excuses as they pave their own way. Izzy is a woman with nothing to lose and Ransom is a man who seems to just keep losing, despite his best efforts. He pretty much never gets what he wants
besides Izzy obviously but he sure does have a plethora of bats, rats, and skeletons in his closet(s). Literally.
Literally. There is a skeleton in a closet in his castle. Granted, he didn’t know, but still, talk about a quick way to tame a boner. No romance in the library, nope nope.
At its core, Romancing the Duke is about a woman attempting to come out of her back luck on her own terms. She needs a home. She needs money. She’s never been kissed. She inherits a castle. It’s inhabited by a surly rake of a duke with a mysterious scar who has so much money he didn’t know someone sold his castle.
Let the fairy tale begin- but don’t be hasty now. Izzy knows fairy tale romances aren’t meant for her. She’s been let down enough times. She is just the little girl in the Goodnight Tales, hearing and witnessing the stories but never being the maiden herself.
I liken this to a very loosely woven Beauty and the Beast retelling. Izzy isn’t necessarily beautiful but she is prejudged to be unintelligent as she is a woman and the subject matter of children’s tales, and she is both a reader and a writer come to live with a rather unruly roommate. Ransom isn’t necessarily a beast, but he is surly and mean living in a run down castle and refusing to befriend a soul. There is no one coming to kill the beast but there is a plot against him by his solicitors that he overcomes by sacrificing his dignity to save Izzy. Viola, beauty and the beast.
Sorry Izzy. You are a part of a fairy tale romance.
I give Romancing the Duke a 3 out of 5 stars rating. I’ll pick up the next book in the series for sure, but I am not sure these characters will follow me that far.