cover image Any Duchess Will Do

Any Duchess Will Do

Tessa Dare. Avon, $5.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-224012-5

Dare’s fourth Spindle Cove romance returns to Regency England’s eclectic seaside community, where young ladies seek refuge from society. Griffin York, the marriage-shy eighth Duke of Halford, is dragged to the town by his mother, who orders him to pick a bride. He brashly selects Pauline Simms, a proud tavern serving girl. Griff’s mother declares she can turn Pauline into duchess material; Griff retorts that if she fails, he’ll be off the hook. He offers Pauline £1,000 to go to London and fail the training, promising that he’ll return her to her home, and her mentally disabled sister, within a week. Pauline’s hasty bargain to ensure financial security for herself and her sister is complicated by her attraction to Griff and her ability to see the man inside the titled facade. Griff admires Pauline’s pluck as he reveals his deepest secrets and bares his soul. Though hints of Cinderella and Pygmalion aren’t enough to make the premise plausible, Dare more than makes up for that with romance, humor, and intense emotional drama. (June)