Romancing the Duke is the first book in Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I enjoy Dare’s books, but I have not read nearly enough of them, something I am attempting to remedy. I’m slightly behind with my book reviewing, but I recently listened to the Audible edition of this book.
Izzy Goodnight finds herself in a predicament after her father’s death. He has left her with virtually nothing, so when she receives a castle from a family friend, she sees this as her last chance at independence.
There’s just one problem: the castle already has an owner. Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury, has been living in seclusion ever since he was blinded in a duel six months ago. He most certainly did not sell his home, and while he wants Izzy to vacate the premises, he admits that he needs help sorting through his correspondence and figuring out how his house was sold.
As the days pass, Ransom finds himself drawn to Izzy, even though she infuriates him. And Izzy, who has never felt like the fairy tale princess she is supposed to be, just might be falling in love with a duke of her very own.
This is a very sweet book. Izzy’s father was a famous author who wrote a long-running serial about a fictional land with a princess, a knight, a mysterious villain, and much more. The conceit is that the stories were told to “Little Izzy Goodnight”, and readers can’t conceive that Izzy is no longer the little girl hearing bedtime stories. She wants to break away from this identity, especially since the fictional Izzy is an idealized version of herself that she feels that she can’t live up to. Ransom has never known love, and doesn’t know how to process his feelings. They are a lovely pair, and it’s just so wonderful to see them grow and change together.
I would recommend Romancing the Duke. The tone is very light, full of Dare’s clever sense of humor. The Goodnight stories are very popular, and the subplot with the fandom skirted the line between anachronism and plausibility, but it was just so funny. Angst is present, but it’s kept to a minimum and supports the plot. I am looking forward to reading more of Dare’s books, but I feel like I need to ration them out so that I’m not left waiting for new books.
PS- The ermine stole the show. We need more books with ermines.