Ro’mama’s Review: One Dance with a Duke

I have gone through a run of bad luck with my beloved historicals. I was trying to reduce the size of my TBR pile, and thus was reading books that for one reason or another I had not rushed to read as soon as I brought them home. Usually, that is only because I bought too many books in too little time, and they, through no fault of their own, got to the bottom of the big blue tub on my closet floor. I’ve found many a treasure in the TBR tub.
But here for a couple of weeks, it seemed like there was a good reason I hadn’t read anything I pulled out of the tub. I just couldn’t find anything really good in there, and I even went so far as to toss a few back without finishing them. And with a three day weekend at the beach house coming up, I was desperate for a true lose-myself-in-the-ton historical. So I went to the B&N near the house and grabbed some new releases from some tried and true faves – Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas and so forth.
But when we got to Panama City Beach, I just had to go to Borders; we don’t have one at home, and I am a connoisseur of bookstores. While sipping my mocha frap, I found Tessa Dare’s One Dance with a Duke on the new releases shelf. I recognized her name from a trio of books I loved last year – Goddess of the Hunt, Surrender of a Siren, and A Lady of Persuasion. Tessa got all kinds of well-deserved debut author awards, so I grabbed One Dance as soon as I saw it, and I started it right there in the café whilst the teenage daughters shopped.
And here I sit, just 24 hours later, in the afterglow of a really top-notch reading experience. I read the book so quickly because I truly could not put it down. I am now completely in love with Spencer, the Duke of Morland. Unlike my feelings about a number of romance novel couples, though, I am just pleased as punch that he managed to find Amelia. She is a thorough delight, as warm and caring as a heroine ought to be, but with just enough stubborn flaws that she doesn’t come off impossibly fictitious. She’s the kind of heroine you want to ask over for a glass of pinot and a Jane Austen video – a friend, not a character.
The story is great – a gentlemen’s club in which the members co-own shares of a retired stallion (Hence the series name, The Stud Club. Despite my daughter’s sniggering, the stud in question is a horse.) The shares cannot be bought or sold, only won in a game of chance. When the club’s founder ends up dead, suspicion falls on the Duke of Morland, who for reasons he will not reveal, has been gambling like a madman to obtain all the shares.
As expected, Morland ends up in a scandal with the heroine, and they marry. But unlike many a forced marriage heroine, Amelia doesn’t abrogate all intelligence and sense of herself when the hero introduces her to the delights of married life. In fact, they fight. Quite a bit. But, oh, those reconciliations . . . (sigh.) I particularly recommend the Duke’s speech on page 212 – Ms. Dare channels Margaret Mitchell in a particularly Rhett-worthy declaration of love. Made me giddy, it did.
I’d love to talk more about it, but as I posted earlier, I am gonna be joining in Smart Bitch Sarah’s book club discussion of One Dance, and I have to save some of my brilliant literary analysis skills for that. Suffice it to say that you need to read this book. If you buy it and then drop it in the TBR pile, you will be missing a great read.
And, btw, I am not a fan of most book trailer videos. I prefer to cast the characters myself, usually with a combination of BBC Historical actors and the cast of LOST. But Ms. Dare came up with a really cute, original video for The Stud Club. If you are trying to write while you have kids in the house, I think you’ll love it!


One response to “Ro’mama’s Review: One Dance with a Duke

  1. That was the best book trailer ever! LOL I’m going to have to pick up this book. I read the other trilogy and enjoyed it, so I already know she’s a good writer. Thanks for posting the review!

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