Format: .mobi (purchase)
Release Date: May 28, 2013
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?
Well hot damn, I think I have a new favorite Tessa Dare book.
Okay maybe it hasn't dethroned my favorite but it is a tie now.
A humble heroine who wants a better life for her and her sister, a reformed hero tortured by an event in his past, a loving, conniving duchess who doesn't know how to help her only child and the reappearance of series favorites make Any Duchess Will Do a romantic, fun and engaging story that will make longtime fans ecstatic.
The connection between Griffin York, the Duke of Halford and Pauline Simms, a barmaid from Spindle Cove is immediate and develops quickly into an undeniable attraction and an odd sort of kinship. They don't have much in common except the secret desire to be accepted and loved for the people they are now, not judged by the mistakes of their past or their humble origins.
Griff carries a secret pain with him that no one knows about, not even his mother and it will have readers guessing what changed the debauched, unlikable duke from A Week to Be Wicked into a solemn, responsible and lonely man. I admit that I didn't remember Griff was the scandalous character in book 2 of the series until Minerva mentioned it.By the way, how fun was it to revisit with Colin and Minerva? It felt like an update on how they're getting along in their marriage and it was great to see that Minerva's combative personality and fierce loyalty to the women of Spindle Cove hadn't changed.
Aside from the main relationship (Griff and Pauline), there's also the one between Griff and his mother. She was a great addition to the story and her relationship with her son is funny at times but her actions are always meant with affection. Within the first few chapters it was clear that she had no shame over what she had to do to get Griff to Spindle Cove. She's not a cold, calculating, cruel woman, but rather a warm, determined, intelligent mother who wants what's best for her son. I enjoyed her interactions with Griff and her ploys to get him and Pauline together as often as possible. She never degraded Pauline or made her feel like less of a human being because she was a barmaid.
Pauline is a fearless character. She isn't one to mope and throw pity parties for herself even though she would be justified if she did. She faces every conflict and person with dignity and courage. She doesn't shy away from a fight but she doesn't go looking for them either. She feels protective towards those who are less fortunate than she. All around her, Pauline brings out the best in people and grows during her experience with "Duchess Lessons." She never forgets where she comes from but she takes what she learns and applies it to her everyday life.
What was most enjoyable about this book was the development of Griff and Pauline's relationship. It was interesting to watch it grow and wonder what direction it would go in because they're from such drastically different social classes. Their chemistry was amazing, it was more than just physical from the very beginning and they both knew it. Not to say the physical aspect of their relationship wasn't hot because, well, it was. Really, really hot. Pauline's fearlessness aparently extends to the bedchamber as well *wink* and well, there's one scene that involves a desk, light role play and some very honest words from Griff. Wow, just remembering that scene has me flustered.
So yes, Tessa Dare has done it again. She's introduced another of Spindle Cove's very special ladies to an unsuspecting man and created a magical story about love, loyalty, friendship and being true to yourself. For those who haven't read the Spindle Cove series, Any Duchess Will Do can be read as a standalone but I don't recommend that you miss out on the other books or even skip the reading order. There's just more fun and magic in reading the series in order!