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Always enjoy Tessa Dare's novels, her humorous style & funny dialogues makes an interesting read. Penny's, the heroine with her menagerie of ill assorted animals, encounters with the ruthless hero, Duke, in some probable & some highly improbable situations are neverthless quite amusing. The authenticity of Regency era is however severely tested in both language & social etiquette representation, which is a common flaw in these romances. I would howeve recommend this book.
Gabriel (Gabe) Duke known as the Duke of Ruin is in equal measures despised and feared by polite society, deemed ruthless and a threat to the gentry, he has risen up from poverty and is determined never to know the hunger and pain of his childhood, but the man is not as ruthless as he and society seem to think he is. The heart behind the strong and powerful man becomes increasingly clear as he interacts with Lady Penelope (Penny) Campion. Penny may have a warm and kind heart but I love how she never cowered when it came to Gabe, she’s just the type of Lady I adore.
I could gush over Gabe for a long while, but I’m going to contain myself and say he is one man/person who sees what a gem Penny is from the get go – protective and passionate, I liked how her views and opinions where what he cared about more than those of the people around her – something he made clear to Penny and her friends/family.
The scene with Marigold, Ashbury, Chase and Gabe was so funny, and then there are the amusing scenes with Mr. Hammond and Mrs Burns the housekeeper, whom Hammond thinks may be (as the book progresses): 1) a ghost that’s taken corporeal form - something that has him more than a little uneasy; 2) a vampire - leading him to carrying around garlic, and finally; 3) a succubus - this one he says/thinks with glee.
It was lovely seeing the characters from the previous books pop up in this one. I do wish the scenes with Poppy’s brother had a bit more punch behind them, but this little niggle didn’t diminish the enjoyment the story and characters gave me.
I did a mental cheer when I realised this was finally out, and my excitement for this book turned out to be justified, I lost myself in the pages of the book – Gabriel and Penny (SIGH) I adored individually and as a couple. A rich tapestry of humour and passion mean this book will certainly be staying in my re-read pile, with the couple being more than a little memorable, that being said I do wish the book had been a little longer, so a compelling layer of depth could have been added, for example Gabriel was fab but I think the author could have given us more when it came to him.
Potential Triggers: A mother selling her child and child labour is mentioned, as is the grooming of a child.
Let me tell you first why this book touched a personal chord with me: I have 2 rescue dogs that I took with me from Argentina when I moved to UK. I also have a great number of friends with rescued animals. "Crazy dog lady" it's not something I'm unfamiliar with. In my experience, these people are brave souls that have an unlimited capacity for love and the fact that many times they are mocked for it it's one of the injustices of life. And to Tessa Dare infinite credit not only does she understand this for Penny, but she also gives her the hero she deserves. Gabriel is not "won over", he does not realise that she is actually valuable, but he knows this from the start. It's a wonderfully beautiful book and a balm for the soul. It's also funny and hot.
Beware, these books are addictive! I've come to rely on Tessa Dare books as an antidote to feeling down; and who doesn't need a little romance and humour in these depressing Covid days? I loved reading Penny and Gabe's story, it was heartwarming that they both overcame difficulties from their past. A little bit of hot action and a swearing parrot completed a delicious read.
Super steamy. Romantic. Real. Great read. My favorite of the series. Boy meets girl, instant connection but not the usual stuff-no lovely dovey wooing- it’s all very raw and unconventional. A touch of comedy and heartbreak and a little bit dark but it all works out so beautifully. Did I mention the book is steamy? Yes-you’ll enjoy it. I definitely recommend!
I liked this book very much. I particularly appreciate the need to touch on such sensitive themes. We need to talk about child abuse because it happens and exactly as described. It was also done in a way that did not spoil the romance in the story. I only didn't give 5 stars because in general I felt the voices lacked a bit of historical tone to them. At times, it was hard to place the characters in the past as the way they spoke seemed quite contemporary. But great reading otherwise.