Sunday, 28 July 2013

Review: Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove series) - ENG

Author: Tessa Dare
Original Title: Any Duchess Will Do
Release Year: 2013
Literary Genre: Romance 
Setting: England (Spindle Cove), regency
Series: 4° of Spindle Cove series

Vote:  10+/10


Miss Pauline Simms is stubborn, proud, cheeky, conscientious and sometimes a bit rough and not exactly refined (I mean for XIX century English society; I doubt that nowadays words like “damn” or “blast” might be considered particularly vulgar...). Born and raised in Spindle Cove, she has worked really hard for all her life to provide a safe future for herself and her sister Daniela, unfortunately disabled. Her dream is to open a library and leave the parents' house, her father is a violent man, angry and disappointed for not having male sons instead of two daughters.
During a day, started badly and which promises to end worse, Paulina, covered with sugar and messy, stumbles upon the fascinating Duke of Halford.

Griffin Eliot York is a thirty-four-year-old dissolute and womaniser noble, but during the last year something has changed and Griffin isn't the same man anymore, he gets away from society, he doesn't take part in balls or any kind of fun, favouring a tranquil and private life. Behind this change there is a deep agony about which no one seems to know something.

One day he is kidnapped by his mother who, despite she hides it very well, is deeply worried for his son and she would love to see him happily married and with children.
The Duchess' plan is to bring him to Spindle Cove, the most famous desperate noble girls' refuge, and find there a bride: Griffin, quite angered by his mother's actions, decides to turn the situation to his own advantage and chooses the one girl who he believes to be the worst candidate for the future role of Duchess of Halford: Pauline. Griffin secretly offers her one thousand pounds to act as a complete disaster in London's society; the girl, who sees in the reward the end of all her problems, accepts, careless about how much the situation is and could be embarrassing for herself.
The dowager Duchess takes up the challenge to transform Pauline in a perfect Duchess-to-be, more then everything, in fact, she wants grandchildren and her son's happiness. Surprisingly and unexpectedly the girl doesn't prove to be the expected disaster and Griffin, during this transformation process, begins to grow fond of this clumsy and beautiful young girl, the only person who can placate his pain with her sweetness, her compassion and simply with her proximity.

It's a beautiful, romantic and dramatic story, almost fairy. It's touching.
Tessa Dare has an ironic and sarcastic style, it reminds me of both the Quinn and MacGregor's styles, she is sharp like Sabrina Jeffries, brazen like Elizabeth Hoyt (maybe more) and sometimes moving like only Lisa Kleypas can be.

The two protagonists are magnificent and complete; the author creates a certain trepidation in the story, see for example “the secret room” mystery (I've loved Pauline's reaction when she discovers the truth about it) or when Pauline has to decide what to do about her life: follow her dream or give it up for her impossible true love. Griffin and Pauline's interactions are wonderful, one in particular is reeealy passionate, nothing vulgar and I guarantee you it could have been too raunchy (I apologise to Sylvia Day's fans but she definitely might learn something).
The dowager Duchess is too funny in her austerity, her “knitting disease” is fantastic: she wants so much to be grandmother that she starts knitting to create children clothes but the results are awful!
There is a scene that I truly love: the dowager, during Griffin's fencing training, wants to show Pauline that there is much more between the girl and his son, more than they want to admit, especially on his part; while I was reading this part it was as if the time had stopped for me too, not only for them.

Buona lettura!


Spindle Cove series: 1. A night to surrender (Susanna, Victor)
                                 1.5. Once upon a winter's eve (Violet, Christian)
                                 2. A week to be wicked (Minerva, Colin)
                                 3. A lady by midnight (Kate, Samuel)
                                3.5. Beauty and the blacksmith (Diana, Aaron)
                                 4. Any duchess will do (Pauline, Griffin)                      

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