Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

I cringed a little when I first heard this series was about romances between untitled women and dukes but Dare makes it work. Our heroes might be dukes, but these women bring them to their knees. These fun historical rom-coms aren't afraid to bend the historical accuracy and even have a few fun anarchistic pop culture references!

This book has everything-- marriage of convenience, angsty scarred hero, Shakespearean insults, Fake News...a Batman situation. What’s a Batman situation? You know, it’s that thing where a brooding super rich dude randomly wanders the night doling out vigilante justice because of reasons.

Severely disfigured by the war, the Duke of Ashbury has given up on anyone truly loving him and just needs a convenient wife and heir. When hotheaded seamstress Emma Gladstone comes knocking on his door he offers her a marriage deal she can’t refuse.

The only Dare I’ve read is A Scot Ties The Knot and this one felt very different, the tone was more joke-y and the world she created was a little sillier around the edges. I liked how Dare eschewed historical accuracy in favor of telling a fun story.

Mary Jane Wells is the narrator for this series, she’s got little bit of Minnie Driver in her voice and delivers an intentional and plucky performance that works for most the book but her voices for men and children need some work. Her Ashbury, in particular, comes off as sinister and snippy. - ★★

Chase Reynaud is a rakish rake just raking it up when a series of sudden unexpected deaths makes him the immediate heir to a Dukedom --and the two Bebe’s Kids orphans entailed with the title. With every governess in town run off by the two girls, Chase’s last hope is Alexandra Mountbatten, a part Filipina part American orphan who is in need of some quick cash.

If I had to compare, I think I liked this book better than The Duchess Deal. Dare’s managed to pack in a lot of themes and plots in a fast-paced story that never stops moving. She tackles identity, found family, grief and emotional angst in a way that just worked. But don’t get me wrong, the romance between Alexandra and Chase is center stage and manages to be both a slow burn and super sizzling--their Belligerent Sexual Tension could give Sam and Diane a run for their money.

I think Wells does a better job with the male voices in this book and I did notice Alexandra's voice is a little softer and feminine than in The Governess Game. Although the voice she chooses for one of the orphan girls is straight up demonic sounding.

The Governess Game is a high spirited and heartwarming romance sure to delight any romance reader. - ★★

Me, waiting for The Wallflower Wager

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