Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare

Historical Romance, 370 pages, published in 2014

After being left a castle in her godfather’s will, Izzy spends the last of her money to travel to what turns out to be a run down and already owned castle. Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury, has been living in the castle since an incident that left him blind. Izzy has nowhere else to go, so she and the Duke must learn to live in the same castle.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I definitely think that Tessa Dare’s books have a formula, but that is not a problem at all because it works so well for me!

This book starts off super fast, with all relevant backstory being kind of thrown at you right away. I honestly kind of like this in historical romance, it just works for me somehow. Izzy’s father wrote a series of really popular stories, but when he died, he left the story hanging. There is a group of fans who show up and role-play based on the stories. It was definitely a weird and interesting addition!

I really liked Ransom. He was definitely gruff, but it never felt like he was unnecessarily rude to Izzy. I loved seeing the little ways he showed that he cared. I really enjoyed Izzy’s struggle with her father’s stories and how that made people view her.

Ransom’s blindness definitely felt more like a plot device rather than good representation in my opinion. Ransom and Izzy do have some interesting conversations about it, but it really felt like it was there initially so that he doesn’t realize how “plain” she is.

As always with Tessa Dare’s books, the steamy scenes were top notch! There was one instance that felt like it could be verging on non-consensual, but then he waits for consent to continue, so I had no issue with it.

I really liked the setting of this book! Izzy is attempting to repair this worn-down castle, so they make some cool discoveries, like the turret room that Izzy claims (I’m jealous!) and the library. They are way out of the way of society, so it really is just Izzy, Ransom, and a couple other characters.

The final “conflict” wrapped up just a little too fast for my taste, especially since it felt like so much time was devoted to preparing for it beforehand.

I will definitely be continuing this series! These books seem less connected than other historical romance series that I’ve tried, but honestly, that’s fine with me.

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