Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

February 19, 2014

Hyperactive Mr. Toad Alert!
For all of you who have ever been to a midnight showing of Harry Potter/Star Trek/Twilight and been surrounded by people with pointy ears or even been the person dressed up as a

favorite character, then you just might identify with certain aspects of Romancing the Duke. I'm not saying that I have ever gone the Trekkie - Twi-hards - Potterhead route, but I think I know some - and you all know to whom I'm speaking - and you all may be able to identify with some of the characters in this story. I myself found the troupe pretty amusing and could see some people I know doing some of the things the "fans" did in this story.

First of all we have Izzy, who is the daughter of a famous novelist. Now there are a couple of things about this famous novelist to remember. First of all, he died leaving her with nothing and secondly, his novels were so famous that they have a following of of die-hard fans. Even fans who reenact things/people in those books. By the way, I bet you could substitute those Vulcan ears for Middle Earth Faerie ears if you wanted to. But, back to this story. Down-on-her-luck Izzy inherits a castle. Well, there's something rotten in Denmark because when Izzy arrives at this broken down castle it is only to find the owner is still living there. And as it happens, the owner is a pretty surly Duke, who also happens to be blind... part of the time... except in the mornings.

So what should any self-respecting heroine who hasn't eaten in awhile do? Well, she should faint into the arms of the blind guy (Ransom) who's trying to throw her out of his moth-eaten castle. A surly blind guy, who has been feeling sorry for himself for awhile and has let a few things go, the castle for one, and his mail for another. Anyway, somehow this female shows up on his doorstep claiming she owns his castle and he's never sold it. After a few days of him trying to get rid of her while still lusting after her, he caves in and allows her to stay. They both have a steak in the run-down castle and they need to find a solution to the problem, which lies hidden in the pile of mail Ransom has neglected. And that's basically the plot that was created to throw these two together. Sure, it's a stretch, but, hey, this is fiction for Pete's sake. If you want something that's an accurate read, let me see... (tapping my finger to my chin)... haven't got a clue on what to read for accuracy.

Now, let me say this about this book: relax. I don't want to hear the old whine about historical accuracy (I realize I am sometimes the one doing the whining). Just go with the flow and enjoy some fun writing with some rather charming characters. If you want historical accuracy pick up a history book, although I have come to believe the words historical and accuracy are a contradiction in terms. I'm getting side tracked. So, anyway, just go with the flow and relax, I think you'll enjoy this read. And, there is a fun salute in this book to those of you who may get involved in fan-groups.

This book does come with a Mr. Toad alert. There were moments in the beginning of the book, when Ransom comes awfully close to forcing his attentions on Izzy, but then Izzy caves in pretty quickly. And then we are treated to some pretty inventive hijinks. I was almost afraid I was going to be treated to some bondage, which by the way I'm getting tired of reading in my romance books. But enough about me! Ransom and Izzy are pretty active and do everything except swing from the chandelier while boinking. Or maybe they do that too. I must confess I did skip over some parts. Sometimes there is just too much woo-hoo.

This is a fun book, not to be taken too seriously, with two delightful leads. Just because this is a fun book, doesn't mean it is a slapstick comedy; there are some angst-ridden moments and painful confrontations with both Ransom and Izzy's pasts. I thought the silliness and seriousness of the story balanced each other out nicely. If you are reading this book for historical accuracy, you'll be disappointed, but you won't be disappointed in the lovely story of two people who need each other and end up finding love.

Time/Place: Run-down castle in England - Regency or close enough
Sensuality: Hot and Inventive

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