Skip to main content

Review of "Any Duchess Will Do" by Tessa Dare

Any Duchess Will Do is the third book I have read by Tessa Dare and might just be my favorite book that she has written.  It follows Griff Duke of Halsford and Pauline, a serving girl from Sussex, who he brings into his home to help get his mother off of his back.  In return, Pauline would get 1000 pounds and a way out of her abusive father's house.

From the very beginning, it is clear that Griff is head over heels for Pauline, although he tries to mask it.  He has reasons, somewhat valid ones, as to why he cannot marry and for most of the book he won't even consider marriage to anyone because of them, but Pauline is just so perfect* that she makes her way through his doubts and into his heart, blowing all of his reasons to bits.  Pauline also has reasons not to marry Griff, not the least of which being the 33 ranks that separate them.

Classism plays a minor role in the telling of this story.  At first, it was one of the reasons that Griff chose Pauline and not one of the society spinsters that populate Spindle Cove--his mother, the current Duchess, challenged him to choose any one of the women in the Bull and Blossom and that she would make her into a duchess.  In Griff's mind, Pauline would be a hot mess and that there would be no way his mother would be able to make her into anything close to a duchess, especially when Pauline puts the deadline of one week on any lessons (she needs to get back to her sister in Spindle Cove).  Once Griff finally starts to see her as something more than a means to an end, her class doesn't really bother him, although it is very much in the forefront of her mind because she has had it drilled into her that she would never amount to anything more than a serving girl.

I did have a couple of problems with this book.  The first is that I don't think that Griff really understood what life was like for someone of Pauline's class.  The fact that she's just a serving girl, whose father owned 30 acres of farmland, was a non-issue, but the her it was a hurdle that she would have to jump over in order to be received by society as Griff's wife.  Case in point, Pauline accuses Griff of forgetting who they are when they are together and she tells him that that is something she could not do.  This angers Griff so much that he spanks Pauline.  I know the scene is supposed to be hot and maybe if it wasn't interspersed with Griff making her say his entire title as he did it, it would have been.  Unfortunately, this did not sit well with me.  He may have been trying to tell her that class did not matter to him, but it just served as a reminder of how different they were.  I do feel that in the end, he finally understood just what he was asking of her and he does, in my eyes, make up for it.

The second problem I had was the idea that in order for Griff to be happy he needed to have a traditional family, full of screaming babies.  I understand the reasoning behind this, but it just annoys me to see yet another character equate babies with happy endings.  As I said in a post the other day, I see this as a lazy way to write.  If an author wants her characters to be happy, she simply writes in a baby epilogue, as if to say "See, they have a baby; they're going to spend the rest of their lives in marital bliss."  It is very patronizing and it sends the message that a couple cannot be happy without children.

However, these were minor problems and they did not take away from my enjoyment of the narrative.  Ms. Dare has a way of pulling a reader in and keeping her there until the very end.  I was so drawn into the book that it took me a mere 36 hours to finish it and it left me with that feeling of "no book can ever compare," which is why I am giving Any Duchess Will Do a 5 star rating.

*Griff kept telling Pauline she was perfect, and she kept thinking that he wasn't seeing her for who she was, although to him she was perfect.


Popular posts from this blog

Throwback Review: The Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts

There are some books that stick with you no matter how long it has been since you first read them.  For me, the Dream Trilogy has always been in the back of my head.  I probably read them a good 15 years ago and the last time was a good 10 years back.  As a matter of fact, that trilogy was part of the first round of books I purchased when I got my first kindle for my 24th birthday (I never actually read it after buying the digital version; I guess I just needed to know that I could read them if I wanted.

The first book of the trilogy, Daring to Dream, was released in 1996 when I was just 10 years old and more concerned with passing math (I did, but not without many a night of struggling to remember what the E in PEMDAS meant) than I was with the goings on of fictional characters inside the pages of a book.  In fact, if I read at all during that time period it was to get a free pan pizza through Pizza Hut and the Book It! program.  I've mentioned this a few times before, but I act…

Review of "Bay of Sighs" by Nora Roberts

A couple of months ago, I volunteered to read Stars of Fortune, the first book in Nora Roberts's Guardian Trilogy for the Smart Bitches RITA Reader Challenge because ParaNoras are my crack.  If they were illegal, I'd be serving a life sentence for possession/intent to sell a controlled substance.  Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of book 1, but I'd already requested Bay of Sighs, so I felt the need to read it too.  Plus, I liked the idea of a mermaid heroine -- one whose name was not Ariel.  I really wish I resisted reading this.  It was awful.  It took everything I hated about SoF and magnified it to the level that I wasn't able to finish it.

Annika is a mermaid, sent to "the shore up above" to stop an evil goddess from getting the Stars of Fortune.  Together with the five other guardians, she must search for the stars and protect them.  Afterwards, she must return to the sea, which wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for Sawyer King...

Sawyer has be…

Review of "Sleepless in Manhattan" by Sarah Morgan

I bought this book with the intention of reading it on a plane from San Francisco to New York City last weekend.  Of course I read about 30% before even stepping foot onto the plane and once I was actually on it, I read maybe 5%, listening to the most recent Smart Bitches podcast and watching a few episodes of Charmed on Netflix because I had an awful night sleep the evening prior and was too tired to read.  I finally sat down to read it Sunday and Monday night.

Paige Walker has lived a sheltered life, brought low by a heart condition that had her in and out of the hospital until her late teens, but now in her late 20's she's finally healthy and happy.  She loves her life in Manhattan.  She'd felt stifled in her hometown of Puffin Island and as soon as she was able she moved to New York with her best friends, Eva and Frankie, as well as her older brother, Matt.  On the verge of a promotion at work, she figures she's got it all, but then the rug is pulled out from unde…