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Who cares if this story is a little unrealistic? It was a lovely read; imagine a cross between Jane Eyre, I Capture the Castle and The Princess Bride with an ermine and some hot sex scenes thrown in for good measure. Save this one for when you need some fluffy escapism, you won't regret it...
Huge fan of TESSA DARE but was expecting so much more from this novel which it didn't deliver!!! It was a good story but for some reason it did not have Tessa's usual sensual, sensitive, passionate story telling style?
I'm not sure if I am just jaded from reading one too may historical romance novels or that I'm expecting ground breaking romance from every read but surely it can't be too much to expect one of your favourite authors to deliver what she is known for!!! I find myself looking for new authors out there that I have not discovered yet in the hope that maybe I find that elusive novel that is a KEEPER!
Round up, it is a good read but I have read ALL of Tessa's books so I know this is not her best but still a great read. I cross my fingers for the next one!
NOTE TO AUTHOR: Please Tessa bring a novel back like, THREE NIGHTS WITH A SCOUNDREL love love love that book! I have read it more times than I can remember, I think I shall read it again now just to remember how good you really are! Thank you.
I want to start off by saying that I have enjoyed every Tessa Dare book I've ever read (5, to be precise). As an avid fan of historical Regency type romances, I find her stories well written and unfailingly romantic. However, this book didn't quite do it for me.
After reading the description, I expected to utterly adore this book. Scarred and blinded hot hero with an attitude problem; check. Sweet but spunky heroine who shows him the power of L-O-V-E and makes him change for the better; check again. Throw in a decrepit old castle and this is my personal recipe for a perfect book. I think if this had been my first Tessa Dare I probably wouldn't have felt that slightly dissatisfied feeling that came over me having finished 'Romancing the Duke', but having experienced the awesomeness that is 'A Lady by Midnight' my expectations were likely too high.
A side note: a lot of reviewers seem to laud 'A Week to be Wicked' as the best Dare book - I thought it was romantic and funny, but I've never re-read it, unlike ALBM which I never tire of. But I digress.
This book reminded me of the Mills and Boon romances I sometimes read when I want something mindless and simple; entertaining but easily forgettable. Even though I enjoyed the characters and their love story it lacked that element of passion that I've come to expect from this author. There were frequent occurrences where the author told us things had happened instead of showing us, something that never fails to annoy me in a novel. The setting was confined entirely to the castle, which I felt limited the scope of the story. Perhaps my subconscious mind was on her previous series set in a village of interesting eccentrics, but the troupe of knights and ladies along with the butler and vicar's daughter were not interesting enough side characters in comparison. I know each book will be set in a different castle & presumably in a different part of the country, so there was clearly less of a need to expand these characters' lives, but it made the book less compelling IMO.
There was also much less sexiness than in her previous series. This doesn't bother me, but I felt it these characters could've done with a bit more passion to liven them up a little. I liked Ransom, and Izzy was a lovely person, yet for some reason I felt irrational dislike towards her for a large part of the book and desperately wanted her to be kicked out of the castle. Her constant affirmations of "This is MY castle now, and MY home, and I shall make it so" got on my nerves, & although it was made clear that the sale to her was illegal she still carried on in that vein. Indeed, we were never told exactly who owned it in the end (I know it didn't matter but with so much drama over it I wanted to know...) Izzy subscribed to the model of perfect sweet heroine who everyone loves and can do no wrong, a characterisation I've noticed in every Dare novel I've read. I find it kind of sexist actually (and I'm a woman) - the man is almost always in the wrong and has to win back the female's affections, after which they live HEA with him counting his blessings every day that she bestowed her love upon him. It's a problem I've noticed with many female romance writers, and it is beginning to grate on me somewhat - why can't the woman go grovelling to the man at the climax? Surely that's true feminism - a woman can mess up just as much as a dude can.
I agree with another reviewer that the troupe of knights and ladies were a little ridiculous. Tessa Dare seems to favour a little farce at the end of her novels but this one was a bit too far removed from the tone at the start and reminded me again of the flimsier M&B stories. The twist concerning Izzy's father and his famous stories "The Goodnight Tales" was pretty obvious from early on and I felt it could've been revealed earlier to allow for more explanation on the particulars of how it worked.
But despite my slight disappointment, I would recommend this book for it's sparkling dialogue and entertaining story. In a genre with so much rubbish Dare is near the top in the quality of her writing and I'll continue to keep an eye out anytime she releases a new book.
P.S. If you liked this but wanted something a little deeper and more emotional, I'd recommend "A Lady by Midnight" by the same author. Anyone who likes the good old scarred hero plotline but prefers their romances to be somewhat racier would greatly enjoy "When She Said I Do" by Celeste Bradley.
I was waiting for some time to read this book: many of my GR friends had awesome reviews on it. BUT, it wasn't something special for me. Only 3,5 stars, I kept skipping a lot from 80%. Maybe it was because of my high expectations, maybe it's summer time and I don't get time not strength to read a lot.... Sometimes this book was like 5 stars and sometimes only 2! I was wondering maybe there were 2 authors... I was irritated by heroine, too sugary forme, too naive... And hero wasn't any special: he was huge manho before, rude, angry man... On last pages he became better, but it was almost at final... Not enough for me... Safe read, no cheating, no OP scenes
Soweit der Ausgangspunkt..Hinzu kommt, dass das Schloss von einem attraktivem Herzog bewohnt wird. Leider ist dieser stur, herrschsüchtigen und weiss nicht, dass sein Schloss zwar hinter seinem Rücken, aber formal legal veräußert wurde. Er selbst hat sich in die Ruine zurückgezogen, weil er sich von einer schweren Verletzung erholen will. Da seine Sehkraft kaum vorhanden ist, hat er nur dort das Gefühl ungestört leben zu können. Der Eigentümerstreit wird überdeckt von einer Märchenwelt die Izzys Vater kreiert zu haben scheint und zahllose Fans in den Bann zieht. Diese Parallelwelt fand ich stellenweise zu unglaubwürdig und als zu viel. Trotzdem nette Unterhaltung.
'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.' _________________________
3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 stars.
Romancing the Duke is the first book in Tessa Dare's Castles Ever After series.
I had recently read the third book in this series, When a Scot Ties the Knot and thought it was really fun so I have decided to go back and read the rest of the series. I'll admit, I didn't find this one to be as strong, but it's a first in the series so that's not surprising and I still really enjoyed it.
One thing is for sure with a Tessa Dare book though, and that is humor and banter, plus some lovely characters. I really loved the main characters. This book plays on the Beauty and the Beast trope, except that there is a bit of a twist to it because Izzy is acting to match the image of her that was crafted in a set of fairy tales, an image that keeps her feeling locked in time.
Now I will admit that this book does have a bit of a tendency to fall into the realm of cheesiness and predictability, where you sometimes have to employ a suspension of belief. Due to that, I rounded my 3.5 rating down to three stars instead of up to 4 stars. But even with that, the story is really fun and the characters are so dear that it didn't bother me. I enjoyed it, thought it was sweet and amusing, and I will be continuing on with the series.
Isolde Goodnight grew up on her author father’s tales of chivalrous knights and feisty maidens, but that sort of romance and possibility has been rather less than present in her life. Now left penniless by her father’s carelessness, she’d be happy to just have a home and food. When she receives a mysterious bequest in the form of a derelict castle, she begins to reevaluate her desires upon meeting the gruff, scarred duke who lives there.
This book has been on my TBR forever and I had such high expectations of it being incessantly charming and becoming a fast favorite. Sadly, that’s not quite what happened. Izzy was frustratingly immature and naïve in a way that did not at all match the stark pragmatism she at times exhibited. Ransom was gruff, scarred, and surly, but his bitingly sarcastic inner monologues were hilarious to me, and he was definitely my preferred character over our heroine. In fact, Izzy brought this down for me with her presumptuous behavior toward Ransom and her refusal to show him some rather basic tenets of respect and courtesy at the beginning. Of course, he was also hard to get close to but who could blame him when some stranger has shown up claiming to now own his ancestral home. He showed an immense amount of growth and character development in the face of many extreme irritants and I’m not at all sure I would have coped as well as he did. I’m a sucker for the ‘hero who’s never known love’ trope, but I can’t say this was my favorite example. However, I listened to the audiobook and the insipidly girlish voice deployed for Izzy could be a contributing factor in my dislike of her as a character. I also can’t say I was a big fan of the weird cosplaying group based around the books written by Izzy’s father, though they did make a charming contribution to the plot nearer the end of the book.
Overall, I wanted to see more comeuppance for those who wrong Ransom and rather less presumption from Izzy. It took me quite a long time to get into this book and I can’t say I really enjoyed it, at least not how I expected to, though I will say the final quarter or so was charming; the sex scenes in the latter half of the book were well done, and the final declaration of feelings scene between the two was endearing.
This was not my first Tessa Dare book but it certainly wasn't my favorite. There were several scenes that were TOOOO much of a coincidence that took away from the story. After finishing the book I was left with questions. Why is it so many authors spend so much time building up to the climax then afterwards they spend little if no time with the resolution? I was wanting more from the epilogue like: what happened to the people that were stealing from them, what sex was the baby, what type of father did the duke turn out to be, did they restore the dukedom and the castle etc. The ending of a book should leave you satisfied but this one was lacking