BOOK REVIEW – Romancing The Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa DareRomancing The Duke (Castles Ever After #1)
by Tessa Dare
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Synopsis:

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.


You know I’m not an historical romance girl. And yet, Color me surprised : That was all kind of adorable and I fell in love with this story.

Sometimes we love characters because they aren’t like us – see Penryn for example : did I need to remind you how much I wouldn’t survive in the world after? Nope, I don’t think so – and other times, we come across some personality traits which remind us so much of ourselves that we can’t help but relate to the character. That’s what happened to me with some sides of Izzie. Not everything, but enough.

– She’s spontaneous, that is to say, happens to say everything she has in mind when she’s stressed. Yeah, I know the feeling.

– She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it.

Personal story time! – you can skip it if you don’t care.
When I was a kid, sometimes I was grounded (I know, shocking). The fact is, I used to wait a bit (like, half an hour) and after this I always went to my dad to ask him if I could go out. Sometimes he said yes, other times he said no. Whatever. It depended on the stupidity I’d done, I guess. Well, all of that is this to say that I asked what I wanted, contrary to my sister who waited that my parents told her to go out.

Why am I telling this to you? To point out that I was a spoiled brat? Hmm… No. Maybe. I don’t know. Not the point. Actually I’m telling this because here’s what I learnt and remembered : In life, if you want something, you’re going to have to ask for it, because people aren’t going to guess for you.

And that’s what annoys me the most in heroines and makes me often want to shake them : that’s a rule I apply in my life, and it’s pretty simple : if you ask for the opposite of what you want, you’ll probably obtain… the opposite of what you want. If you don’t know what you want maybe you have to think about it before asking. And finally, if you want something, go for it and ask. Of course that’s not because you ask that you will obtain what you want, OF COURSE. But you’re increasing your chances here. That’s why I loved Izzie.

She knows what she wants and she isn’t afraid to fight to obtain it. In her straightforward way, she’s freaking courageous and her bluntness is incredibly enjoyable. She’s a woman, not a spoiled brat. Romanced since her childhood by her writer of a father, she doesn’t believe in fairies tales and her only and true goal is to be noticed. To be seen entirely. Even if she’s inexperienced as hell, she doesn’t shy away and just asks for what she wants. How exhilarating is that?

And we have Ransom. Ah, Ransom. What a perfect broody hero you are! Let me tell you : his inner monologues full of venom were hilarious – that’s simple, he’s always trying to get rid of someone, in one way or another. And wow, how badly he takes people intrusion! That was precious.

Like here

“How did one get rid of these girls? They were like fanned-away horseflies. They just kept coming back.

 

Or here

“Certainly you can. It’s bad enough that they pester you with letters and questions. Draw a line, Goodnight. Go out there and tell them you’re a grown woman who can sling about the word ‘cock’ with the ease of a courtesan, and you don’t appreciate unannounced visits. Then invite them to sod off, the bunch of clanking idiots. If you won’t, I’ll do it.”

Moreover he’s protective and so. fucking. hot. And above all that, he’s a broken man who doesn’t believe in love and who’s incredibly afraid to open his mind and his heart to feelings – and yet he craves for them. Literally. Damn, that’s safe to say that he stole my heart completely : I loved everything : his grumpiness, his struggle to love, his hotness, and he earned his batch of Awwwwwwwww from me.

“What was he coming to, when a woman sat in his lap, he gave her a stern what-for… and then ten seconds later, oopsy-daisy and la-di-dah, he went and twirled a finger in her hair?
That was not ducal behavior. It certainly wasn’t normal behavior for him.”

Their banter was wonderful, full of repartee and yet never filled with disrespect. This brings me to the absolutely delicious conversations between Izzie and Ransom : man, that was hilarious. Between their comments and the awkward situations they’re put into (the Army guys. Precious. I’ll let you discover it), I couldn’t help but laugh out loud like a total fool. That was fucking great.

Moreover, the story takes place in a castle (which is awesome) but in a wrecked castle (which is even more awesome). Since his accident, Ransom never had the occasion – and never wanted – to make a home of this castle and guess what? A lot of things will change with Izzie’s arrival, much to Ransom’s despair!

Finally, as a not-so-fond-of-historical-romance girl, what I often despise when I read a book like this is the writing and the pacing. Truth being told, I end bored more often than most and have a hard time enjoying the My Lady and other Your Grace. Good news! Here’s I never felt overwhelmed by an heavy writing, that’s quite the opposite : I was captivated from the beginning to the end. Bravo!

I cheered at the end. I. CHEERED. I don’t know what else I can tell you to convince you.

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