She is perfect for being imperfect and he is damaged beneath his perfect exterior.
This book was almost perfect, amazing gem in the sea of historical romances and I am thrilled that I stumbled upon it in my local library.
I've read 375 pages of this book in one sitting and I believe that says enough about how good it is written.
Pauline Simms is a barmaid and a local farm girl who dreams about becoming more and living a better life and with her intelligence and sturdiness she is on her path of achieving what she wants but she knows it will take her many many years of hard work to do it.
And then enters Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, and opens the possibility of making those dreams into reality much sooner than she expected.
The Duke's mother is demanding an heir of her only child and she is demanding of him to get a wife to do it, any wife at all will do because she can make any woman into a duchess. And to thwart his mother's intentions he chooses the pretty barmaid, the worst person for the job. Since his mother isn't backing down, he offers the barmaid one thousand pounds to fail at becoming a proper duchess.
Pauline is first angry at the notion that those two are crossing swords at her expense but then she decides to go along with their play so she can become her own woman and own her own bookshop as she always desired.
Pauline and Griffin do not plan to fall for each other because they are the most unsuitable match imaginable but fate seems to have other plans for them in store.
The author, Tessa Dare, knows how to captivate her readers with her storytelling, no one can argue against that. She captures us in her world and doesn't let go until we devour every single word written about it. And that is what makes a great author.
Storyline is consistent, interesting, believable and charming as hell. Characters are written as people not as one character trait or one cliche after another which makes us feel for them and become them, at least until we finish the story, and the plot itself is in a way so extraordinary that you can't help but go along with it. It's a cinderella story in a regency setting in a way.
If I would have to name something that bothered me it would be our main hero, Griffin. I think his character wasn't developed enough so some of his actions to me were not properly motivated or the motive just wasn't explained enough. Which in itself made me not care so much about certain things in the plot.
But the most positive thing besides the great chemistry our two leads share is the humour. It was so funny and charged with such positive energy that I now, on only two hours of sleep, feel happy and energised and altogether positive.
I plan on reading more of Tessa Dare's books and I have great expectations ! Definitely recommended for everyone who loves historical steamy romance.