Thursday, 19 November 2015

Review: One Dance With a Duke by Tessa Dare

Publication Date: May 25th 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Length: 384 pages

A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members--yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing "Duke of Midnight." Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke--until Lady Amelia d'Orsay tries""her luck. 
In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke's dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother's debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club's founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

Every now and again you need a good romance to sweep you off your feet and since I had such a wonderful experience reading my first novel by Tessa Dare earlier this year, I was eager to go back and fill in the gaps with some of her other novels. Enter the ‘Duke of Midnight’ who had me intrigued just from the blurb and I couldn’t wait to see whether he live up to all of that anticipation.

Short answer? Sort of.

The novel gets off to a glorious start that had me laughing out loud at the sheer plucky nerve of our heroine Amelia, and the banter between her and Spencer. I loved the whirlwind of their romance, how quickly they fall together and how their relationship unfurls. I was utterly swept away.

But then it all starts to get a little bit murky. I really struggled both with Spencer and Amelia’s inability to truly communicate with each other and their inability to compromise. Add in Amelia’s truly baffling defence of her brother, who has a gambling problem and at no point shows any sort of love or affection for Amelia and I was becoming increasingly frustrated. Blindness over loved ones is fair enough, but because we never see any reason or reciprocation of that love, Amelia’s blind faith and defence of her brother just become irritating to read. That leads into a snowball effect where both Amelia and Spencer become increasingly unlikeable and I just wanted to sit them down and give them a stern talking to.

However, despite this I had too much love for Amelia and Spencer built up over the first half to truly despair. It got me thoroughly intrigued about the other boys and their stories, and was just the kind of escapism read that I needed. It doesn’t rank as one of my favourite historical romances, but it does have a lot to love. Fluff, romance, feisty heroines and dashing heroes galore.


  1. I LOVE Tessa Dare, but this isn't my favorite of hers. Which Tessa Dare book have you read? My favorites are A Week to Be Wicked and Romancing the Duke.

    1. I'm only just starting out with her (I can't believe how long it's taken me to get onto her!!) so I've read this one and 'When a Scot Ties the Knot' which I loved. I've got the rest of this trilogy ready to go on my kindle, and I shall add those two now! Have you read Eloisa James or Julia Quinn?