“Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.
But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…”
Other places to find my review of this title. ↓
Good afternoon. I’m Miss Emma Gladstone. I’m here to see the mysterious Duke of Ashbury. No, we aren’t acquainted. No, I don’t have a calling card. I don’t have anything, really. I may not even have a home tomorrow if you don’t let me in.
Emma Gladstone is the daughter of a vicar in Hertfordshire who was basically kicked out for making one mistake. She works as a seamstress for Madame Bissette in her dressmaking shop. When the novel starts, Emma is going to visit the Duke of Ashbury to give his former (intended) bride—Miss Annabelle Worthing—her gown for the wedding. She just needed to be paid for her labor. Of course, that all goes awry when she meets the Duke.
Ash Pembrooke is, you guessed it, The Duke of Ashbury. He needs a bride to give birth to the next heir or else everything will go to his cousin when he dies.
Oh yeah, he has burn scars all down the right side of his body from the war. He hides it as much as possible from everyone. When a woman goes to bed with him, it needs to be dark…and absolutely no kissing.
I know you’re probably wondering how this is going to work out. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s a roller coaster. The journey is not an easy one, but they grow on each other in a weird, obnoxious way. I still don’t understand why I loved it so much, but I couldn’t put it down.
Emma is an awesome main character—she sticks up for herself and others, doesn’t find Ash unattractive because of his burns, gains the courage to speak her mind. She’s also smart, funny, and talented. But she’s not perfect, and I think that’s why I enjoyed her character so much. She makes mistakes even though she has so much going for her. She has emotional baggage, like the best of us. I also love that she grabs a random cat off the street so she has company while living with the Duke. Can you guess his name?
It’s Breeches! How adorable.
Ash, admittedly, isn’t my favorite love interest. I understand why he is so grumpy all the time; People treat him like the burns on his body make him inhuman. Sad, right? Yes, but he also eggs it on. Then he tells himself that he is a hideous monster. I just found it a bit much. I’m sure it’s not easy living with burn scars (obviously), but after it was mentioned so many times, I was over it. I’m not saying he’s a terrible character, though. He is very passionate *wink, wink*, and he cares about Emma. It definitely helped redeem him a little bit. I will admit that any male love interest probably can’t compete with my one and only love—Aragorn. If you know, you know.
The banter is what really made me fall in love with this book. It’s so laugh-out-loud funny. Emma is constantly trying to think of a pet name for Ash throughout the book, and when they get into a fight, there’s this one quote that had me rolling. Here it is:
Perhaps I will use Ash, after all. It’s growing on me. So very flexible, you know. Horse’s Ash . . . Jack-Ash . . . Ash-hole.
If you like to read regency romances, then I think you’d really enjoy this one. It’s SO easy to read, and it didn’t even feel like an almost four-hundred-page book. I think it’s one of my favorite romance novels of all time, even though it isn’t a five-star read. The word choice was a little weird when it came to the pregnancy talk, but I figured it was to make the time period feel realistic. I tried not to think about it too much. I also have a love hate relationship with epilogues in romance novels, but I won’t talk about that right now. Other than that, I cannot wait to read the rest of this series!
I really want to start adding information about the author. I’ve seen that in a lot of book reviews from other bloggers. Let me know if you think I should continue doing that.
About the Author
“Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.
A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.“
Have you read this one? Have you finished the series? Is it on your TBR? Let me know down in the comments.
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