Aug 9 2017 9:30am

First Look: Tessa Dare’s The Duchess Deal (August 22, 2017)

Tessa Dare
The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1)
Avon / August 22, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Tessa Dare is kicking off a new series with more of what we have come to expect from her: humor, banter, and feminism. The premise of the first book, The Duchess Deal, is vaguely Beauty and the Beast-ish. She gives us a classic wounded/scarred war veteran who doesn’t believe he’ll ever find real love, then has him propose a very businesslike marriage of convenience to a seamstress who shows up on his door asking to be paid for the wedding dress his ex-fiance had commissioned. This is all well and good, and Tessa fills the book with puns and sass and mischievous servants and animals. I would argue, however, that this book is about the power of female friendship.

Let me back up for a moment. Ash is fine. He’s handsome, if mangled, and intelligent and kind and all the things we’d need him to be. This book is also probably the most sex-filled of any Tessa Dare novel I’ve read. Some of the sex is hilariously awkward, especially as both of them try to pretend they’re not enjoying it. The relationship between Ash and Emma progresses nicely, even if the big emotional to-do happens too close to the end for my taste. (Seriously, I was worried for a minute!) For the most part, this is a happy, funny story that will hit all of your pleasure-reading buttons.

At the heart of the book, however, are several friendships. Early in the book, Emma befriends one of her clients, a young woman, Davina, who finds herself pregnant with no man in the picture. She’s terrified of telling her father, and Emma promises to help her conceal the pregnancy for as long as possible. When Ash proposes his “deal,” she hatches a plan of her own: once she is pregnant and retires to the country, she can invite Davina to join her until Davina gives birth. The baby can then be placed with a local family, and no one needs to know. While Emma is helping in part because she’s experienced something similar, I believe friendship is at the core of her motivation. Without giving a spoiler, I can’t tell you how that all works out, but I will say that Emma’s reaction to the concluding events convinced me that her motivation was pure.

As for the other friendships, Tessa appears to be doing something similar to her Spindle Cove series, in that she’s given us a group of oddball friends who will probably each get their own book. Because they are funny, wacky, and sometimes absurd, I’m looking forward to reading more about Alexandra, Penelope, and Nicola as the series continues.

“Just think, if we could put your brain, my soft heart, Alexandra’s common sense, and Emma’s eye for fashion together to make one woman. We’d be unstoppable.”

Alex used her thumb and teeth to turn a page of her astronomy book. “We’d be a well-dressed woman who spends her days tinkering with clockwork and baking biscuits to feed the forty-three ducks, goats, cows, and hedgehogs crammed in the back garden.”

These women are the first to invite the seamstress-turned-duchess into their circle, and they play a major part in the reintroduction of Ash to society. Because of Dare’s feminist sensibilities, this group of women does, in fact, band together. They do not become “one woman,” as that quote jokes, but their bond celebrates, encourages, and challenges each of the women. I’m encouraged by this first entry in the series, and hopeful that these women will continue to bring out the best in each other and be the support that every woman deserves. 

Learn more about or order a copy of The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare, available August 22, 2017:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes



Buy at IndieBound

Buy at Kobo



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When not reading All of the Things, Suzanne is raising two small valkyries and trying to open a bookstore. Book, comic, and assorted other tweets at @cerestheories.



Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. wsl0612
Stop! Stop telling me how good it is! I have sooo many things I'm supposed to be doing this weekend and this book is on my TBR pile. I love Tessa Dare and I'm trying to save this for one of those free and easy Sundays where I can just sit and read and have tea and cake. Somebody find me 12 free hours, stat!
Jen Wattley
3. JenWattley
I read this Monday while I was sick and it was just inordinately charming. I loved everything about it. I love Dare's wit and banter. I love her characters. I love everything about this title. It was utterly charming.
4. lauralee1912
The Spindle Cove series is one of my favorites, so I am looking forward to reading The Duchess Deal. I can point out to my husband that this Kindle purchase does not have the word Duke in the title. :)
5. TineW
I finished this book late last night and siiiiggggghhhh I LOVE IT!! It's funny, it's witty (certain conversations were a tad modern for the times but not offensive) and all round charming. I adore the banter between Ash and Emma. Can't wait for the rest of the books in the new series. <3
Heather Waters
6. HeatherWaters
This is on my list of the best books of the year so far. Delicious!

@wsl0612 -- Inquiring minds have to know: Have you had a chance to read it yet????

@JenWattley -- Good comfort reading, I agree!

@lauralee1912 -- Ha ha, does your husband get the recommendation emails from Amazon? If so I can only imagine his reaction to certain titles!

@TineW -- Yeah! The banter had me grinning from ear to ear.
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