All the Duke of Ashbury needs is a wife to have his heir. When Emma Gladstone turns up in his library wearing a wedding dress, he decides that she’ll do and makes her an offer she can’t turn down: marry him and bear his heir in exchange for the comfortable life of a duchess.
Spoiler Free Review:
I really don’t remember what possessed me to start listening to this book, because I’ve never read any historical romance before. However, I am so glad that I did! The audiobook especially was just such a fun time!
The plot moved forward so fast in this book! There wasn’t a whole lot of leading into it at the beginning, which I really liked. The background wasn’t important, but so the book really got to the development of Ash and Emma’s relationship right away.
I loved their relationship! Their marriage is one of convenience and Ash is definitely very against any sort of personal feelings. I really enjoyed the way Emma teased him and came up with all sorts of pet names for him.
I expected this to be focused 100% on romance, but I did appreciate the other aspects of the characters and story that were explored. Emma is very hesitant about becoming a duchess because she wasn’t originally from the upper class. Ash also has to deal with his trauma from the battle his was in, as well as the scarring he got from that battle.
I loved Emma and I unexpectedly ended up really like Ash. He could be kind of an ass sometimes, but I thought overall, he was really caring and considerate, especially around Emma.
The audiobook narrator, Mary Jane Wells, did a fantastic job with the characters’ voices! She really made this go from a good audiobook to an excellent one. She put a lot of emotion into the dialogue and it worked really well.
My only real issue with this book was the ending. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it just felt weird to me. I generally don’t love epilogues, so that could have been my issue. I prefer a “happy for now” ending, rather than a “happy in a year/forever” ending.
I’m definitely going to be continuing to read this series, Tessa Dare’s other books, and more historical romance in general! I had so many preconceived notions about the genre that just were not true for this book, so I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more. I’ve already read the second book in this series, The Governess Game, and I enjoyed it even more than this one!