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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2013
Now I feel I must give a quick disclaimer before I begin this review in earnest - I honestly don't know what to make of ADWD. On one hand I did enjoy reading the novel - Tessa Dare is undoubtedly one of my favourite historical romance authors - and on the other hand the plot is considerably arbitrary and unrealistic.

Pauline is a bold and strong willed heroine who has dreams of supporting herself and her sister, escaping her abusive father. Griff is a man haunted by his recent loss determined not to marry, despite the best efforts of his scheming mother. In an attempt to thwart his mother Griff decides to select Pauline as the subject of her proposed 'duchess lessons', she is "perfect" for failing the role - graceless, common and coarse. What follows is the strangest mix of Cinderella and My Fair Lady that you're likely to read.

Griff and Pauline's romance spans a week, nothing unusual by romance novel standards, and develops fairly typically. The unpolished nature of Pauline's attitude appeals to Griff who has seemingly been rejected by society which he, in turn, treats similarly. This part of the novel did confuse me, I don't think Dare adequately explains at any point the mutual feelings of disregard between Griff and society and the idea that no one will marry Griff is preposterous, he's a handsome duke!

The romance in the novel is undoubtedly sweet, with some particularly steamy scenes for those wondering. Griff's defence of Pauline is heartwarming and her honest and candid nature is certainly a balm for his broken heart. The ending was perhaps a tad saccharine for me but the grand gesture is sure to melt many a reader's heart. Dare maintains her usual witty and sharp style throughout with her reputation for the raunchier scenes being, once again, well deserved.

I know I am definitely swimming against the tide here with my opinion of 'Any Duchess Will Do', and I'm still not sure what my opinion actually is! I get the feeling that Spindle Cove is Dare's more playful series and while it is obvious that she had great fun writing the novels and readers are having an equally good time reading them, I just don't think they're for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2013
Any Duchess Will Do is the fourth in Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series, and it was a truly delightful read.

It's a kind of cross between Cinderella and Pygmalion (in intention, anyway) in which the Duchess of Halford, despairing of her son, the eighth Duke's ever marrying, drugs him, kidnaps him and bears him off to `Spinster Cove'. She marches him into the Bull and Blossom tavern, into the midst of a large group of industrious young ladies, and issues the instruction "pick one". She is tired of waiting for him to find himself a wife and tells him that she'll mould whoever he chooses into a suitable bride.

Naturally, Griffin York, Duke of Halford is horrified. But recognising that his mother is utterly determined, he decides that the best way to exact his revenge is to do just as she insists - and he chooses the least likely prospect he can find; Pauline Simms, the barmaid.

Still intent on avoiding his mother's machinations, Griff strikes a bargain with Pauline. If she comes with him to London for a week and ruins the duchess' plans by being a complete and utter social disaster, he will pay her one thousand pounds. Even though that's more money than she could ever have hoped to see in her lifetime, Pauline is initially reluctant to leave. Although she and her younger sister live with their parents, Pauline cares for her sister Daniela, who, while only a few years younger than Pauline, has the mind of a child.

But eventually she agrees. One thousand pounds will be enough money for her to attain her dream of opening her own library, and for her and Daniela to move out of their parents' house and be self-sufficient.

Both Griff and the duchess are very pleasantly surprised by Pauline, who turns out not to be the slatternly farm-girl they'd first thought her. Her speech and manners are `common' to be sure, but underneath it all, she has a natural intelligence and directness that Griff finds refreshing - and it's not long before he finds himself very much attracted to her.

Griff has lived a dissolute life. He's never had to worry about money, and spent his time in the manner of rich young men - overindulging in wine, women and... well, perhaps not the song. To his mother's chagrin, he shows no sign - even at the ripe old age of thirty-four - of wanting to settle down and give her the grandchildren upon whom she's desperate to lavish all the maternal love she's got stored up inside. Griff is an only child - his three siblings died at birth and the Halford line will die out with him if he doesn't marry and set up his nursery.

But about a year before the story opens something happened to him that has - literally - changed his life. He no longer associates with his old crowd or goes out into society and nobody knows
why. He's morose, filled with anger and continually on edge; he despises himself and his old life and wants desperately to put it behind him, but is finding it impossible to move past the tragedy that has affected him so deeply.

Although Griff and his mother are the only members of their family left, they persist in keeping secrets from each other. He won't tell her of his troubles and has no idea how to ask for the love he so badly needs; she won't tell him that she wants so much to love him and the grandchildren she fears she may never have.

Pauline sees this distance between them and doesn't understand why they can't take comfort in each other. She guesses it's another of those things that "aren't done" by the upper classes, but in her typically straightforward way tries to get them to talk to each other. The scenes in which Griff finally confesses to her - and later to the duchess - are heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time, as they show that something positive is going to grow out of tragedy.

Despite that, this is a fairly light read that's full of warmth, humour and sparkling dialogue. Pauline is like a breath of fresh air blowing into the ducal home and is certainly not afraid to tell it like it is. The stuffy, uptight duchess turns out not to be stuffy or uptight at all, and Griff is a wonderfully attractive hero. He's got a nice line in innuendo and a dry wit - and the book contains some of the best banter I've read in a while.

If I have a reservation, it's that Pauline is just a little bit too good to be true. While she doesn't end up taking society by storm, she nonetheless refuses to be cowed by those who believe her to be deserving of less - whether it's her abusive father hitting her with a book and consigning it to the fire or one of Griff's so-called friends trying to prevent her from entering a ballroom. In addition, she's intuitive, has a strong sense of identity and a down-to-earth attitude to sex, and seems to know exactly the right thing to do or say in difficult situations.

As for the idea of a duke marrying a barmaid... well, it shouldn't work and in many books it wouldn't work. But I think that what we have here is a fairy tale; a story about finding love in the most unexpected places - and more importantly, I think, about finding the courage to free onself from the expectations of others in order to finally become the person one is supposed to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2013
This concept sounded marvelous when I chose this book, but when I started reading it I found it to be a tiny bit plodding. I persevered and I am so happy I did, because this ended up being one of the most romantic, sexy and funny historical romances that I have read in a long time!

His mother has kidnapped the Duke of Halford. If he wants to get his mother to stop pestering him to get married and to have a baby he has finally agreed to marry someone -anyone, and the one he chooses in Spindle Cove is farmers' daughter and barmaid Pauline Simms. The rub is, is that his mother has to turn Pauline into Duchess material and has but a week to do so. So, off Pauline goes to London to receive her `training'. Now the issue is, will they both be able to resist each other?

There is so much more to this story than just what the synopsis says. This may have sounded like a frivolous bit of writing at the start, but it really deals with much more. Naturally, the Duke is hiding something. Something dark. He has a room that he keeps locked -all the time. Is he killing kittens in there, Pauline wonders? However, it is a deeper secret than that.

I loved how this dissolute debauched Duke could be hiding something dark, yet not be portrayed as one of those overly brooding, always internalizing men who just lashes out at everyone and yet the reader is supposed to adore him anyway. I really dislike that sort of character.

And Pauline could have been written as a ditzy sort with no mind of her own, who falls in love at the first second. Well, maybe she does, but we are not forced to read chapters of her pining away over something she thinks she can't ever have. They are both resourceful, smart, funny people who are caught up in a wonderful charade.

The mother is a wonderful secondary character - I adored her.

Don't toss the book aside at the end of chapter 25, remember that first and foremost this is a romance and you WILL get your happily-ever-after!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2013
I have read quite a few of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series but not all of them. Every single one I have picked up I have loved but Any Duchess Will Do surpasses all of them and also surpasses every other romance book I have read so far this year. I really, truly, loved this book and I just cannot think of one negative thing to say about it.

Plot wise Any Duchess Will Do is incredible and I loved every page of it. it strangely reminded me of Pretty Woman, a Duke hiring a common bar maid for a week to get his scheming yet lovely mother off his back. I am aware that it doesn't sound all that similar but the similarities were there in her transformation, his acceptance of her just how she is, there was even a shop keeping refusing to give her the time of day and later regretting it.

The writing was also marvellous. Tessa Dare is so amazing at creating enjoyable storylines, loveable characters and sizzling romance. This book was touching yet also managed to make me laugh more times than I can count.

I also loved the characters. Pauline I the best female character I have come across in a long, long time. She was incredible and so full of compassion and had a caring nature. She could also take care of herself, she had aspirations and dreams she was determined to achieve and was not scared to stand up for herself.

Griffin was just as great. He tried to be aloof and hard but inside he was bursting with emotion. He struggles with his life but is still astonishingly thoughtful. This is a fairly light hearted romance but there were some real touching moments which came from Griff.

The romance was just brilliant as well and I was swooning all over the place. They seemed to be so purely and honestly in love. The thoughts Griff had about Pauline were beautiful and adorable, he was an extremely smitten man. It was a romance built off admiration and respect and not just lust.

Any Duchess Will Do was better than I ever imagined it would be and this series just seems to hit a new high with every book that is released. As long as Tessa Dare is writing, I will be reading. She is exceptional at what she does.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed. His mother has decided that it will be happen this season. So when Griffin awakens to find that his mother has abducted him to "Spinster Cove" and then insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence, he wants to teach her a lesson. Griffin chooses the serving girl. Not just any serving girl would have done either. This serving girl must be the clumsiest to be found. After all, when she enters the room she is a royal mess, covered head-to-toe in sugar.

Pauline Simms works as a barmaid in town and works at home on her abusive father's farm. She wants nothing more than to take her slow sister away with her and to open a bookshop where they could live together in peace. That dream becomes possible when an arrogant duke offers her a small fortune for a week's employment. All Pauline has to do is submit to his mother's "duchess training" and fail miserably. But in London, nothing goes as planned. Sometimes opposites really do attract. ****

**** FOUR STARS! In this entertaining story, Tessa Dare proves that two perfectly wrong people can be blissfully right for each other. One or two scenes had the same flavor as the movies Pretty Woman (15th Anniversary Special Edition) [DVD]and My Fair Lady [DVD] [1965]. I know that may be hard to image, but this author actually succeeds in doing it! This story has no danger or suspense, only romance with a bit of comedy and a feel good ending. I enjoyed every single second of this delightful romp! ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2013
This is a lovely book that is a joy to read. It's Regency setting and story line which is similar to Cinderella Make it a delight to read. It is both heart warming and amusing. I found myself laughing so much I could not read any further . I read it in a day and can not wait for her next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2013
This is a romantic story of Griffin York, Duke of Halford and Pauline Simms and overworked barmaid. Griffin thinks to thawt this mother by picking a female to marry who goes totally against the grain of what his mother would think right and proper. Pauline is a downtrodden barmaid who instanly sparks something with Griffin and ultimately they come to an agreement that she would work at being a duchess, with his mothers assistance for a week, in which time she will try to be utterly wrong for the position. Needless to say she does eventually come right for the position of duchess and everything ends happily. This story is somewhat predictable but still a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2013
Really good idea for a story. Loved Pauline's character and her relationship with the hero's mother, as well as the hero, obviously.. Not sure if I believe the hero feel in love with her at first sight though. Not with all that sugar and alum all over her!
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on 9 March 2014
I was trying my new kindle app when I stumbled on this story, it was the first one I bought and let me say, I am very happy to do so. I can say as a huge fan of Eloisa James, Brockway and a few other historical romance writers, if you like them as much as I like them, you will love this one too. I have discovered yet another historical writer who I am going to visit again.
This story takes you to a different place in history even though as a bit of a history nut I'm not sure if it's real, Spindle Cove sounds exquisite and this is not the first story that I read, in which it's mentioned, but it's the first in which you are actually introduced to it. I loved that the heroine of the story was a commoner, less than that to many people in the story. It was very different from the other historical romance stories I have read and yet beautifully the same!
It was the first HR story I've read in some time, I was reluctant to start reading on a device instead of a book, but I was sick, bored and couldn't go out to buy a book and even if I could I have so many I have no place to put it. When I started this story I found I couldn't get into it as much as I would an actual book which you can feel in your hands and smell, but that only lasted for about 2 pages because this story reels you in and you will not be free until it's finished, I am proud and sad to say that I read this in less than 24 hours, proud because it was probably a record for me and the story was well worth it and sad because I wish I was still reading it and because I ended up with a headache from reading so savagely.
I recommend this book to HR fans and I will definitely have another book with Tessa Dare's name on it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2013
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and storyline, it was funny and poignant. Will definitely put it in my favourites and enjoy reading it again
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