Monday, 12 August 2019

Book Review: THE WALLFLOWER WAGER by Tessa Dare


They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door. 

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.


THE DUCHESS WAGER by Tessa Dare brings together the very different characters of Gabriel Duke aka The Duke of Ruin and Lady Penelope Campion.

Gabriel buys a house intending to upgrade it and then sell it on for profit. He believes one of the main selling points for buyers will be in having an Earl’s daughter living next door, even if she’s a dowdy old spinster… except Lady Penelope Campion is not quite the cat-owning ugly spinster he envisaged. It’s worse! Not only does Gabriel find himself attracted to his young and attractive neighbor, she has the most annoying menagerie of unusual animals that he demands she gets rids of so potential buyers are not turned off.

From the time they meet, to the final pages, this “courtship” is both equally peculiar as it is endearing. Gabriel’s ruthless nature would typically steamroll over Penny’s brand of eternal kindness, and as biting as his observations about her life often are, he cannot help but falling for her; something he had sworn he would never do.

In this book, it’s Penny that’s the dark horse. By outward appearances, her life, while quiet, is one of leisure and indulgence but she has suffered trauma that has impacted her life.  And here is where the story palls somewhat for me. It’s alluded to throughout but once revealed, the plot feels unexpected and unnecessary. I don’t want to disregard her experience but it did feel like it was included to add drama for the sake of it. In my opinion, the topic and the consequences were not fully explored and it lowered my opinion of some characters. It certainly casts a shadow on the latter part of the book, taking away from the general light-heartedness to that point.

The other friends (from the Girl Meets Duke series) and spouses make welcome appearances, and one of the funniest scenes in the book sees Gabriel, Chase and Ashbury coming together to help a goat give birth.

Overall, I enjoyed the book very much and I am looking forward to final book in the quartet. 

Advance Reader's e-proof copy courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers via Edelweiss


Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances.

Mixing wit, sensuality, and emotion, Tessa writes Regency-set romance novels that feel relatable to modern readers. With her bestselling “Spindle Cove”, “Castles Ever After”, and “Girl Meets Duke” series, she has had great fun creating heroines who defy the conventions of their time—engaging in “unladylike” pursuits that range from paleontology to beer-making—and dreaming up the strong-willed, sexy heroes who find their hearts ensnared by them.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

No comments:

Post a comment