Other reviews by Tessa Dare can be found in the Archives.

Any Duchess Will Do
by Tessa Dare
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) 978-0-062240-125
Pauline Simms has grown up on a farm in Spindle Cove and works as a serving girl at the Bull and Blossom. She works hard for a living and while her life hasn't been easy, she has dreams of opening a circulating library so that she and her simple-minded sister, Daniela, can leave their parents and live on their own where Pauline can better protect her.

After an eventful morning at the local store with a dreadful run-in with the stuffy Mrs. Worthington, Pauline arrives at work late and completely disheveled. She walks into the Bull and Blossom to an interesting scene. An amazing looking man is standing at the door sizing up all of the patron ladies and says "I'll take her" pointing to Pauline.

Griffin York, the eighth Duke of Halford, is humoring his mother. The Duchess is desperate for her only child to wed and produce an heir for their family line. Since Griff has plans to forever be a bachelor, she has decided to take drastic measures. The deal is, Griff can pick any woman he wants in the Bull and Blossom and the Duchess will make her a hit in London society. If she fails, Griff wins and can go on unwed. If she succeeds, Griff marries the girl. So of course, out of all of the ladies in the room, he picks the serving girl who appears and who will make the deal tough for the Duchess to win.

Pauline refuses to leave her sister, but when the Duke lays the plan out on the table and offers her a thousand pounds to be a disaster in London, she accepts for one week. Pauline is no stranger to disaster, so this will be easy money for her. And her dreams of the library could suddenly happen.

Any Duchess Will Do is Tessa Dare's fourth book in the Spindle Cove series. Previous characters do appear in the story, but are so minor their back-story has no impact on this book making it a good stand-alone read. The story is enchanting and while the timeline is only one week, Pauline and Griff are able to develop a relationship that sucks the reader in and is believable. They are both very giving people and while Griff hides behind the facade of the dukedom, Pauline is able to break through and get to the know the real Griff.

The only criticism is the transitions between points of view is not always clear and the two main characters spend a lot of time alone together, which would have been unheard of in the time the story is set. Otherwise, I find the book a great read and strongly recommend Any Duchess Will Do.

--Nichole Howell

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