Friday, April 4, 2014

Title:       Romancing the Duke [Castles Ever After, book 1]
Author:   Tessa Dare
Rating:   ★★★★1/2
Availability: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository

I haven't read Tessa Dare in quite a while, because the ones I've picked up from her before were starting to feel ordinary. Too trope-ish. I don't like rereading of fairy tales, unless you told them in a very different way ala Fables or Fairest style. I found myself smiling through bits and pieces.

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.

So it's a fairy tale. Then again, isn't that what regency romance is, most of the time? Fulfilling our adult fairy tales. Anyway, this felt like a Beauty and the Beast for me, although Izzy, by her admission, cannot be called 'Beauty'. However, I like her optimism, her bravery, and her lack of prudishness. I love that she can roll with the punches and sweep Ransom off his feet.

As for Ransom, he's not my type, but he's so hot and sweet, and his actions are so typically male they make me laugh. There's a twist revealed in the ending about his scar that really made me like him even more. That part in the end where he was unabashed in his love for Izzy just made my heart melt. And I wanted to fan myself with my hand while reading several scenes.

Theirs is a love story that spans weeks, and when their declaration of love finally happened, you know it's real. It was lust after several sightings, sure, but by the end of the book, you won't doubt about their affection. And I really appreciate that, Dare.

Spoiler alert: Ransom was getting fleeced by his solicitors, possibly because of his heir. What I didn't like about the story is that in the end, the issue of this seems to have been swept under the rug. His solicitors weren't charged, or there wasn't any confrontation with the heir. For a man like Ransom who protects what's his, that seems contrary.

I wanted to hear more about the stories of Izzy Goodnight. The fervor and fandom that her stories aroused reminded me of the fandom around Harry Potter, actually. But that's not a detriment - only an observation.

And it's not everyday that I enjoy a line from a regency novel, but this just struck me. This was stated while they were having another one of their passionate kisses, amid the ruins of Gostley Castle
This was life.
Bright, brilliant life amid the ruins. 
I really recommend Romancing the Duke to fans of regency/historical romance! And I said to Zeee of I Heart Romance, if you're thinking of reading this...Yes. Go! :)

Do you have any go-to tropes, or are you constantly looking for different stories?