As I continue on my journey of self publishing, I at some times get stuck in a block and need to find some sort of inspiration. I call this little necessary nudge of creativity my Muse. This little imp comes in all sorts of forms for my mind. I can find it in writing, but if there is a block obviously I need to seek it elsewhere; reading, whether a novel or some sort of creative writing; watching a movie, either an old favorite or a new curiosity; or dancing, either with friends or in a studio. Most always, though, when I am looking for my Muse, I can count on my favorite authors to bring it out in me!
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare is no different. This is my first introduction to the author, and I found her by a GoodReads group that I am a part of for romance genre fans! This romance novel is part of the historical sub-genre with many hot and steamy moments! Her novel is very well written with such strong characters, you almost forget who to root for. Overall, I gave the book a 4* rating.
***SPOILER ALERT** This review contains spoilers, please stop here if you do not wish to know the full description of the novel.
As we meet Pauline, a barmaid and farmers’ daughter, I immediately knew I was going to love her as a strong female character. Her temperament at an old hag mocking her family is so reactionary that I found myself questioning what I would have done in the situation, and I don’t think I would have done anything different.
As we meet Griff, I found immediately that he was a sly, desirous man, but so full of pain that I wasn’t sure how he would end up with Pauline, but the bargain he and his mother strike up reminds the reader of date and structure of the world. Once they meet and he says “Her. I’ll take her.”, the fun definitely began!
The Duchess, Griff’s mother, is another strong character, sly and purposeful just like her son. I knew her purpose as a character, to get Pauline and Griff together, but honestly, once Griff brought Pauline back to his manor, I am not sure that the Duchess really had much else to do than dress Pauline up.
From divulging their dreams to the first kiss to the numerous love scenes, each one more steamier than the next, you can literally feel the characters fall in love with each other. You can also feel how hopeless their situation becomes. He a Duke, she a barmaid, there was no way for their union to ever be solidified in the eyes of society.
The last love scene, since we already have found the hurt in Griff as he exposes he lost a daughter, when he asks Pauline if he could potentially create a life within her, the pain Griff holds no longer becomes a weight holding him down in despair, but it all crashes around them when Pauline pushes too far and begs Griff to tell his mother about his lose, a secret he’s been holding for a year.
It literally breaks your heart as Pauline prods for Griff to say his passed daughters name, as if he were ashamed of her, like Pauline thought he was of her. Break, break, then shatter as she runs out of the house.
Being talked into attending the ball as herself, a barmaid and not the Duchess’ friend, proving she is not ashamed of herself to all of London, she meets Griff, and he proves to her his love in front of every watching eye. Happily ever afters are my favorite, and Tessa Dare does not disappoint!