It was late and I couldn’t sleep. With my husband, the Silver Fox sleeping I didn’t want to turn on a light or watch the tv on the wall of our bedroom either. Just the thought of getting up and heading downstairs to watch something in the living room wasn’t enticing, so I did what any sleepless person does, I grabbed my Kindle and searched for free books. While I am not typically a romance novel reader, Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare seemed to be just what my sleepy but not ready to sleep brain needed.
The Dowager Duchess of Hatfield is a delight in my new guilty, late night, reading pleasure pile as she takes no crap from her 35 year old son, Griff the Duke of Hatfield in her effort to gain a daughter-in-law and hopefully not long after the wedding, grandchildren. What starts off as a challenge to pick any woman at Spindle Cove’s Bull and Blossom Tavern and the Duchess will polish her into the toast of the Ton quickly gets out of hand as Griff selects Pauline Simms, the barmaid. Not to be outdone, Pauline steps up to the challenge, agrees to go to London, but for one week only. Her price, just enough money to open a lending library and care for her younger and developmentally challenged sister.
What ensues is a delightful, funny and yes, tad predictable run from unlikely Duchess in training to true love interest for Griff. While not exactly redefining the idea of a romance novel her characters are likable, reasonably well rounded with not only Pauline, a heroine worth rooting for but a hysterical and witty protagonist in The Dowager Duchess. Add into the mix Griff, a man with a heart wrenching secret of his own, there wasn’t a moment I ever wanted to give up on this unlikely romance.
As a happy added bonus, the romance scenes were well written but not overly explicit. While the plot was predictable it had several moments which were heartfelt and emotionally full of depth. My favorite character was the Dowager Duchess who made me laugh (and almost wake my Silver Fox up in the process) out loud several times. Her clever banter and compassionate nature makes her a mother in law I wish I had. I finished it in one night. You can say what you want about romance novels, but the historical fiction ones may be my new late night and can’t sleep go to reads.