When his mother tries to force his hand in selecting a bride, Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, decides to teach her a lesson by choosing the nearest serving girl, then astounds them all by falling in love with her.
Pauline Simms’ desires are simple. She wants to work hard enough to get her and her developmentally challenged sister out of her abusive father’s house and open a bookshop. For the working class, however, simple is not easy, and earning enough to follow her dreams is nigh impossible for a barmaid. So when a duke’s mother issues her son an ultimatum in the tavern where Pauline works, demanding he pick a bride from the women present, and Griffin York, Duke of Halford, chooses Pauline, she makes a deal with the arrogant aristocrat. His mother will give Pauline “duchess lessons,” at which she’ll fail miserably, and he’ll give her the astounding sum of £1,000. Seeing the gift for the miracle it is, Pauline agrees, leaving her tearful sister behind for a week, journeying to London to mingle with high society, while spending far too much time alone with Griffin, who clearly hides secrets that haunt him. Pauline chinks away at his emotional armor and grows dangerously attracted to him, while Griffin begins to wonder how he ever survived without her. Historical romance favorite Dare has penned a Cinderella-themed late-Regency romance with a working-class heroine who dares to dream beyond her station and a libertine determined to change his life. It’s a fairly outlandish plot in historical terms, but readers will be willing to suspend disbelief for this couple who are so perfect for one another, despite being scandalously mismatched socially. Great writing and characterization will keep readers engaged and invested. Sly nods to classic and modern Cinderella favorites enhance an already fun, textured plot.
Moments of laugh-out-loud humor, emotional intensity and sensual passion woven through an engaging plot and endearing characters make this a great read for romance fans.