How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling
Paperback: 396 pages
January 1st 2011 by Forever
The beginning of this book was pleasant, but that was about all. I felt that the attraction between the hero and heroine was a bit ham-handed and abrupt. I also became very nervous when the author whipped out a competition and elimination a la The Bachelor. I am definitely not a fan of things like that.
But somehow I forgot my concerns as I got more and more into the story. Tristan and Tessa had a great dynamic together and I had a blast giggling over some of their interactions. The bride competition wasn’t focused on in the manner I feared it would be, so that was a plus too. It wasn’t ignored by any means, but I didn’t have to watch blow by blows of the hero interacting with countless other girls either.
I really liked all the secondary characters, especially Hawk and Tristan’s mother. I felt that they really added a lot to the story, especially as Tristan became more and more frazzled by his growing feelings for Tessa. Watching them slyly wind him up was hilarious for me!
Tessa had some moments of inner awareness that really surprised me. I was extremely pleased that the author had her honestly look at her actions and behavior toward Tristan, even though it didn’t always change her future behavior. The way she didn’t spare herself from the truth really bumped her up in my estimation.
I was extremely pleased that the author didn’t have the Tessa and Tristan constantly groping each other while he was supposed to be finding a bride. There was tension there, and they did slip up a time or two, but for the most part they both were aware of their roles and knew that they couldn’t just do whatever they wanted to.
This book was not stunningly original, and the bride competition was a weird setup, but it was fun and readable. The setup with Tristan being a rake and Tessa having a big dark secret were things I really felt could have been cut from the book. The draw here was the interactions between the characters. I felt there was enough of a hook there without including those things that were token at best.
So, overall I was very satisfied with this book. I even ended up getting so hooked into it that I stayed up until 1:30 am to finish it—and that was on top of being sick and having to wake up at 5:30. I just couldn’t help it, it hooked me.
“Your Grace, I must be honest. Ladies expect gentlemen to display some tenderness. Thus far, you’ve demonstrated a sad lack of the finer feelings. I know this embarrasses you.”
“Dash it all. I am not embarrassed.”
She gave him a pitying look. “You needn’t pretend with me. I’ll instruct you in the ways to please and attract a lady.”
“Think of a time when you did something you knew was wrong. Tell me what happened.” He hoped it had nothing to do with little lambs.
“Not long ago, I did something very bad,” Sally said. “I stole my sister Sarah’s love letter and read it.”
Julianne’s eyes lit with mischief. “What did it say?”
Sally wrinkled her nose. “It was all nonsense to me. The gentleman signed himself as Lord Randy. He said he wished to plunder the treasure in the bush and claimed he carried a candlestick in his, er, unmentionables.”