Bess’ Book Recs: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Let’s talk books I love.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I always planned on having a massive library. Throughout my life I collected over 2,000 books and dreamed of a two-story library–or at least one big enough to get that cool rolly ladder like Belle had. Then we bought a house, renovated the two-car garage into the library of my dreams and….we were miserable.

Since then I’ve pared my collection down to under 500 books (not without tears, but all for to the best). That kind of cut means that only my absolute favorites are still in my care–or, more accurately, the ones I reread more than any others.

Today I want to tell you about the first book I’ve bought in a while:

For the past half a year or so I’ve been consciously trying to read more romance novels. I’ve gone most of my life being dismissive of the romance genre as a whole. “Trashy” and “chick lit” as descriptors had sunk into my brain.

Luckily for me, a very smart friend of mine pointed out that this was just sexism in literary form. There’s nothing wrong or inferior about wanting to read a story with a happy ending. Tragedy is not more interesting that joy.

Now, I’ve been having trouble finding romance novels I enjoy, despite ordering several (several) from the library. There may be nothing wrong with HEAs, but I have a strong dislike for the popular “alpha male” love interest. I also don’t enjoy when the conflict stems from something that could be resolved by two sentences of conversation.

Enter Tessa Dare and her The Duchess Deal. The love interest is a grump, but not an asshole. The protagonist could be described as “feisty,” but “clever” and “relatable” also apply. When the love interest makes an outrageous proposition, she says no. Then, when she finds a way to turn it to her advantage, she says yes, and gets herself a kitten in the bargain. Her friendships are hilarious and something to aspire to.

Trying to figure out how else to talk up this book without giving away all my favorite parts is tough, so just trust me that this makes a really satisfying Regency (I think that’s the right name for this subgenre) romance. If you’re trying to break into romance, consider giving Tessa Dare a try.

Do you have a favorite romance novel? Have you heard good things about Tessa Dare? Did you also have a silly belief about the romance genre? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. My mss is….well….I have a title. Hey! I just started!

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