Title: Any Duchess Will Do
Written by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #4
Published by Avon
Publication Date: 2013-05-28
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
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What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?
Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.
Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training"... and fail miserably.
But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?
“Her,” he said. “I’ll take her.”
When I read that part I fell in love with the whole story! I thought it was going to be the usual “rags to riches” story but it turned out to be a very entertaining Saturday read!
The Duchess of Halford kidnaps her son and brings him to Spindle Cove to meet a woman – any woman who she says she can easily turn into a duchess. Griffin, the Duke of Halford, wants none of that and picks the most inappropriate and most impossible person to turn into a duchess, serving girl Pauline Simms. After much convincing, Griff manages to hire Pauline to be the biggest failure in duchess training just to prove the Duchess wrong. Unfortunately, things do not go as well as he planned when he tries to fight off a growing attraction to the impish Pauline. Pauline, on the other hand, is only in it for the money, no matter how handsome the Duke is and no matter that he induces certain “flutterings” in her. She plans to start a lending library at Spindle Cove with her sister so they can leave their abusive father.
I really liked the premise of the story however, I did not see much “duchess training” going on while reading the book. It felt like Pauline was just trying to fix the Duke and Duchess’ problems which puzzled me a little since the Duchess was supposed to teach her to be, well a Duchess. I expected more or a Pygmalion/My Fair Lady type of thing so I was a little bit disappointed. I also expected a lot of intentional mishaps during the balls but this never came into play since Griff was off being a “prince charming” and was saving Paulette left and right. Despite all that, I really enjoyed the book. I liked that I got to see the sensitive side of Griff and the reason he has sworn off marriage which is a plot that is not used a lot. I also liked the sparks that flew between Griff and Pauline and that scene in the study – hot! I half expected somebody to come busting in and catch the two in the act!
I did have a few points that I felt were what made me hesitate from giving this book 5 hearts. I just did not understand the purpose of the “duchess training” and I thought the Duchess’ ridiculous affliction was…ridiculous and I did not think it was a valid reason for wanting Griff to get married. Plus, I also did not like Griff’s best friend – ermmm that I forgot the name to and really have no intention of looking for that name at the moment.
What really makes me love this story was that Pauline was able to return to Spindle Cove and fulfill her dreams even when she did not ask help from Griff. Of course, Griff gave her a shipment of books to start off and I thought that was very sweet of him. I also loved that Griff changed himself before returning to Spindle Cove and ask for Pauline’s hand in marriage and it took them quite a while for them to have their HEA.
All in all a very light and enjoyable read. I might be reading the other books in the series, too!