The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
When it comes to historical romance, for me, no one beats Tessa Dare and this is definitely one of her best. It sparkles with all of Dare’s usual humour and wit and the romance is hot, hot, hot. I started this on my way home from work one Thursday evening and had the whole thing finished that night. It was exactly the break from reality I needed after a long and stressful day.
They call him the Duke of Ruin.
To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.
Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society―and now he wants to get even.
Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.
When her imposing―and attractive―new neighbour demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.
Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?
And a two-legged dog.
And a foul-mouthed parrot.
And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog…
Soon, cold-hearted Gabriel, who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse, is covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable animals, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.
Not if he ruins her first.
This is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series so there are some familiar faces from the previous books but it could easily be read as a standalone. If you are familiar with the series, this is the Penny book we’ve all been waiting for (well that I’ve definitely been waiting for). Penny is such a wonderfully unique character I think it would be difficult to not love her. She may be a lady but she avoids society preferring to stick to her close friends and the various wounded and wild animals she has rescued and brought into her home.
Gabe also makes for a suitably dashing hero. He may have come from the slums and have a reputation for ruining the aristocracy but he’s surprising sweet and protective of those around him. He may be gruff and rude at times but he’s incredibly honourable and very conscious of the importance of reputation.
Put them together and they are the perfect match. There is some wonderful banter between them and their chemistry is amazing. They just seem to compliment each other so well. If only they could overcome the usual obstacles that get in their way.
Speaking of obstacles my only slight niggle with this book is that I felt these were resolved a little too easily. I won’t go into details due to spoilers but things that were supposedly major impossible challenges to be overcome were sorted out in a couple of pages.
Who really cares about little details like that though when a story is this much fun to read. I just wish Dare would write faster so I could have the next book now. I suspect we may be getting Nicole’s book next.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. This has in no way influenced my review.