Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Published by Avon Impulse on August 22nd 2017
FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable and very, very funny historical. A book that rifts on Beauty and the Beast with a heroine who doesn’t take any gruff from the hero but instead challenges him out of his moody self-absorption.
THE STORY: Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter ruined and come to London as a seamstress comes to the home of the Duke of Ashbury to get payment for a wedding dress she created for his cancelled betrothal. Ash returned from war horribly scarred, but he decides that Emma meets all his requirements for a wife. Ash has some requirements for their marriage of convenience. He will bed her every night until she conceives, with no kissing, and then she will leave and raise their child in the country. Emma, however, is determined to bring Ash back into the world and has her own demands — which begin with nightly dinner and conversation.
OPINION: I enjoyed this book because Emma refused to allow Ash to wallow in his pity party. From the beginning, she sees herself as an equal and pulls him into relationship. While having her own fears and past pain, she almost immediately sees Ash as someone of worth. I admire a woman who has her own internal scars but lives her life with purpose and without complaint. And she is an optimist with hope who teases her husband with silly nicknames and her refusal to just leave him alone.
Ash is a man with horrible scars, but his deepest scars are emotional. Born and raised in his privileged position as rich and handsome, he doesn’t quite know how to function in a world where people look at his face and are horrified. Instead of trying to change people’s minds, he has instead embraced the worst of his fears to cope. Better that he call himself a monster, be a monster, act like a monster. That way he can avoid the pain of rejection.
I thought the story was well done. Many would rate this book higher. The reason I gave it a very good 4 is that I think that the humor at times deflected the serious notes in the story. I think I just prefer a darker more serious story. I like humorous stories and I really liked this one, but I sometimes felt that the story could have gone deeper than it really wanted to. That being said, I thought this book was very enjoyable and recommend it especially for those who like humorous historicals.
WORTH MENTIONING: Emma meets three “original” women who might just be the heroines of future stories.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DUCHESS DEAL is the first book in the Girl Meets Duke series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.