Eloisa James is one of my very favorite romance authors and she posts a lot on Facebook. Via that I knew that she was doing a joint tour for a little while with Tessa Dare and that they are author buddies. Thus, a couple weeks before we went on vacation I picked up Any Duchess Will Do at the bookstore to bring to the beach with me. I figured if Eloisa likes her she must be good and similar, and indeed she is. I was delighted to find out halfway through that this is #4 in a loose series, Spindle Cove. So now I get to go read the other ones!
This was delightful and perfectly fit into the genre, meeting all my expectations. Pauline is a lowly servant girl in the little village of Spindle Cove. She has an abusive father and a “simple” sister, a taste for poetry, and dreams of opening a lending library. Griffin is a duke with a mother who is eager for him to be married. To that end she drugs him, whisks him off to Spindle Cove, and demands he choose a bride. They are both stubborn people and in a fit to win this battle Griff chooses the most unduchlesslike woman he can find-Pauline. Caught in the middle of this mother and son Pauline agrees to go to London with them for 1000 pounds-enough money that she can then return and open her bookshop. The mother is determined to make Pauline a society worthy duchess by the end of the week, but Griff is paying Pauline to be a failure so that his mother will get off her back. One of the things I liked about this was the mother. She is really just pining for a grandchild to adore and she loves her son dearly. Griff is hiding a painful secret that is affecting all of these decisions.
This was definitely a bit steamier than the romances I usually read and all the characters have unbelievable stamina. I hope there is a Mr. Dare to benefit from Tessa’s imagination and passion!