Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne, is England's most eligible bachelor. He's tired of picking up dropped fans and bumping into young ladies pushed into his path by their mothers. He runs into Tessa at a ball and learns that she's a matchmaker. At first he scoffs, then thinks maybe that's what he needs - he knows he needs to marry soon to carry on his Dukedom but doesn't want a silly, featherheaded girl for a bride.
How to Marry a Duke
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (January 1, 2011)
From the author's website:
Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne, is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. No love is necessary—nor desired. But how to choose amid a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London’s infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she’s not the most captivating woman he’s ever met . . .
Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she’s determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife—she’ll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke’s affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan’s desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker’s number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.
Tessa Mansifield is firmly on the spinster shelf at age 26. She's resigned to her fate and enjoys making advantageous matches for women of less fortune. She is independently wealthy and enjoys the freedom of managing her own livlihood. When Tristan approaches her about finding him a wife, she hesitates - he's made it clear he's not looking for a love match - but eventually agrees.
Of course there's conflict in the form of a long-lost suitor of Tessa's with less than chivalrous intentions, as well as Tessa and Tristian's growing affection for each other.
Tessa and Tristian were so cute together! They ended up with a Bachelor 1800's-type scenario - 24 young ladies all vying for the Duke's hand. As they would meet for an outing (tea, opera, house party), he would decide who would be invited to the next gathering, until he had it narrowed down to two young ladies. There were several laugh-out-loud moments, and a few tender ones as well.
In addition to Tristian and Tessa, I enjoyed reading the side characters - Tristian's mother at first came off as mean but I warmed to her quite nicely and grew to like her very much, Tristian's best friend Hawk was rougish and fun, and two of the young contestants were very sweet.
This book was a pleasant surprise. I’m not a fan of the cover (I think it’s the model – he has a strange look about him), so I wasn’t sure what to expect and happily fell right into the story. I didn’t like the abrubt ending, however, I wish it could have been drawn out a bit more.
How to Marry a Duke is Ms. Dreiling's first novel and I will definitely be back for more! I read the excerpt of the next book, How to Seduce a Scoundrel, and am looking forward to that story in July (to avoid spoilers I can't say who the hero/heroine are, but it's going to be good!).
This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.