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Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove Series #4)

Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove Series #4)

4.4 122
by Tessa Dare

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What's a duke to do, when the girl who's perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can't live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to "Spinster Cove" and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson


What's a duke to do, when the girl who's perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can't live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to "Spinster Cove" and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn't dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week's employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother's "duchess training"… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn't a miserable failure. She's a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff's desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won't be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dare’s fourth Spindle Cove romance returns to Regency England’s eclectic seaside community, where young ladies seek refuge from society. Griffin York, the marriage-shy eighth Duke of Halford, is dragged to the town by his mother, who orders him to pick a bride. He brashly selects Pauline Simms, a proud tavern serving girl. Griff’s mother declares she can turn Pauline into duchess material; Griff retorts that if she fails, he’ll be off the hook. He offers Pauline £1,000 to go to London and fail the training, promising that he’ll return her to her home, and her mentally disabled sister, within a week. Pauline’s hasty bargain to ensure financial security for herself and her sister is complicated by her attraction to Griff and her ability to see the man inside the titled facade. Griff admires Pauline’s pluck as he reveals his deepest secrets and bares his soul. Though hints of Cinderella and Pygmalion aren’t enough to make the premise plausible, Dare more than makes up for that with romance, humor, and intense emotional drama. (June)
ALA Reading List Council
“In Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do... social differences are realistically addressed, and the pair face additional hurdles reflective of the Regency era, helping root the story and give greater punch to their eventual happiness.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Any Duchess Will Do is an equally beguiling blend of sparkling wit and simmering sensuality that is guaranteed to captivate fans of clever, sexy historical romances.”
Heroes and Heartbreakers
Romances based on fairy tales have enjoyed a new surge of popularity recently, but in her fourth Spindle Cove novel, Tessa Dare gives readers an anti-fairy tale romance in which hard work and self-respect are the route to happiness, and love is the only magic anyone needs.
Kirkus Reviews
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.
Library Journal
There's nothing like being drugged and kidnapped by your own mother to get your attention, so when Griffin York, Duke of Halford, is thus captured by his marriage-minded mama and whisked off to the seacoast haven of Spindle Cove to choose a bride, he takes the dowager up on her promise that she can turn any girl into a flawless duchess. His choice? Country-bred barmaid Pauline Simms, a girl doomed to fail. But Pauline has no intention of becoming a duchess, and when she balks, Griff is forced to change his plans—and the results are totally, but delightfully, unexpected. VERDICT A duke determined to avoid marriage and a plain-speaking girl whose sights go no higher than owning her own bookstore strike an ill-fated but ultimately perfect bargain. This witty, wickedly funny romantic escapade infuses a Pygmalion plot with a touch of Cinderella magic and spins it into another perfect addition to Dare's "Spindle Cove" series (A Lady by Midnight). Dare lives in Southern California.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Spindle Cove Series , #4
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.38(w) x 6.64(h) x 1.08(d)

Meet the Author

Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kittens.

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Any Duchess Will Do 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 reviews.
jojoNE More than 1 year ago
Next to Lorraine Heath I have come to also count on Tessa Dare to write a historical book that leaves me immensely satisfied after reading it. This latest release left just such an impression with me. From start to finish this book completely won me over heart and soul and just thinking about the main characters puts a smile on my face! To put it plainly, Pauline and Griff have become my quintessential couple, the one by which all other couples will be measured. Their interactions crackled from the moment their eyes met. They were delightfully playful with one another and their scenes together teemed with sexual tension. Not only did they make good lovers, but they were truly good friends too. No matter their differences in social status they found much to connect them and found great comfort in their mutual understandings. Pauline always wanted more in life but was held back by a father who couldn't stand to see her become better than him. She never stopped dreaming though and planned a future for her and her slow-thinking sister as a self-sufficient woman. Just when she gets a bit ahead financially something always happens to set her back. That's why Griff's offer is so appealing to her.....he'll give her a thousand pounds to prove she'll never become the duchess his mother promises she can turn Pauline into. After being called a disaster her whole life she knows that her failing is guaranteed and the money for her library within reach. Being around Griff brings out the best in her and before long she starts becoming his ideal duchess. Unfortunately society rears its ugly head and it will take all her courage to grab the HEA she's truly discovered she wants. Pauline is an amazing heroine! Protects her sister and works hard to provide for her family without complaint. She's honest and strong-willed, not afraid to be who she really is. Even as she learns to be a duchess she still does it in her own fashion. There's no artifice about her, just a refreshingly smart and loyal young woman who helps Griff to heal from a heartbreaking loss. Griff was always thought of as a rake until a heartbreaking loss, that he's kept hidden from everyone, has him changing his way of living. He's now sworn off women and marriage and sets out to thwart his mother's plan for his future using Pauline as a pawn at first. He quickly comes to admire her and soon does everything in his power to protect her. They have an easy rapport with one another with a romance that evolves slowly and steadily. They start out as friends who share their hopes and dreams with one another and then as lovers they make those dreams come true. No matter how much Griff calls himself a rake and a scoundrel he can't help but be heroic and caring. No matter how hard he hid his heart, Pauline brought him back to life with her quiet support and understanding. His sadness was heartbreaking and being with Pauline was like a breath of fresh air and had me rooting for their HEA every step of the way. Along with a wonderful main couple comes Griff's mother. She was a wonderfully cantankerous woman who appeared gruff but was a truly caring woman beneath her commanding exterior. Even as she was teaching Pauline you could see her learning too. She loosened up and showed a more loving and funny side as the story progressed. The sexual encounters between Pauline and Griff were hot and yet playful. You could sense their connection deepening every time they were toge
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though I love the Spindle Cove series I felt that this story in particular felt a bit forced at timea. Though witty and charming at times the book seemed to lack the same endearing aspects of the previous 3 novels and even the novellas. Griff is not as likeable as the previous heroes and though Pauline was lovely I often felt myself cheering on her dream more than her relationship with Griff. Overall a decent story but it feels lacking compares to the other books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it!!! This one is her best so far! I love the parts when his heart whispers to him. Touching love story with her normal brand of humor.
judiOH 21 days ago
a wonderful romance with humor. griffen, the duke of york is being nagged by his mother to get married, he doesn't want to. pauline is a barmaid/waitress that just wants to open a bookshop. grif and pauline make a pact to outwit his mother at her matchmaking game. i'll be reading this one over and over, i loved it!!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
I am not familiar with other works in this series, but this was entertaining.
LEH0644 10 months ago
In the fairy tale, Cinderella found her prince. In this book, a barmaid found her duke. Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, and his mother have a bet going. She is determined to find a wife for her son and takes him to Spindle Cove where numerous spinsters are found. She tells him to pick one and she will make them into a duchess. He sees Pauline Simms, the barmaid, and picks her. He tells her if she will put up with his mother and prove herself to be a catastrophe, he would pay her one thousand pounds. She goes to London and the more she is around Griff, she finds herself falling in love with him. He finds that she is more than just a barmaid and he is intrigued with her. Can she succeed as a duchess or will she be a failure? I loved the characters of Griff and Pauline and their growing love story. She sees inside the stern facade he presents to everyone and sees the loneliness he keeps inside. He sees her need to better herself from her drab home life as an unwanted daughter and her desire to be independent.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I was thoroughly disappointed, i thought the book was going to be about sweet little service girl.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't say enough how much I enjoy Tessa Dares writing style. Even though the story is predictable, it's fun, funny, and a thoroughly good read
LilyElementBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Any Duchess Will Do is book four in the Spindle Cove series. I'm being bad and reading these out of order because I heard Pauline would be a character I'd love. Which was completely true, I loved this book! So far this is my second Historical Romance book in a very long time and I'm loving all things Tessa Dare it seems. Pauline Simms is a serving girl in a place called "Spinster" Cove (aka Spindle Cove). It's pretty much what you think it is, a town that the "spinsters" go to for a holiday. It's pretty much full of ladies that don't have husbands, the occasional guy comes and gets a bride there that won't turn him down but it's pretty much all ladies. Enter Griffin York (aka Griff), the Duke of Halford. His mother is desperate to get him married off and having children so she drugs and kidnaps her son and whisks him off to Spindle Cove to find a bride. She makes a deal with him that he can pick any woman and she will train the woman in how to be a Duchess. Griff is hard headed and wants to prove a point so he chooses Pauline since he knows that his mother will fail in her duchess lessons. He tips the scales by offering Pauline money to be dreadful in her training from his mother. After a bit of thinking, she accepts the deal and plans on using the money to open a bookshop so her and her sister will be out from under her rude father's thumb. So Pauline and Griff are both basically going into this arrangement thinking she will do horribly and neither will fall for the other. Don't you know that's not how things will go, though. As always with books with plots like this, I like seeing who will crack and want a relationship first. Any Duchess Will Do was a delight to listen to. The narrator handled Pauline's character well with her accent, and Griff's mother sounded fancy like you'd expect a duchess would sound like. I even enjoyed her male character voice for Griff. With each of the mother's lessons in diction, Pauline's pronunciation of words changed and it was very well done. I loved the story, plot, characters, and pretty much everything about this book. I'm starting to get addicted to TDare's books, so I will probably be listening/reading another one very soon. If you're a fan of Historical Romance and haven't read this book, I highly suggest it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this one. Tessa Dare has a brillent way with dialogue and humor! Her books are always a hoot! Such a fun read! Excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before we start the rp, may I just say how wonderful this book is. It was written by someone names Tessa!! Okay, fangirling over...
GoddessPhD1 More than 1 year ago
I have been working through the “Spindle Cove” series, but besides the first book (A Night To Surrender), I’ve had problems with the lack of conflict/tension and pacing. A few times her couples get together and fall in love with 40% of the book left to go. Why should I keep on reading? If there’s no apparent internal/external conflict, the book should end. Oh, gentle reader, “Any Duchess Will Do” is my favorite Dare so far because every page, EVERY LINE was soaked in conflict that made me wonder, “How are Pauline and Griffin going to find their HEA together?” When I’m reading, I want to understand why the hero is the heroine’s perfect match and why the heroine is the hero’s perfect match. In other words, is the emotional connection between the characters there and does it match the physical connection? Pauline and Griffin have a light-hearted, yet serious multi-faceted depth that I find compelling: A heroine willing to sacrifice nearly a year’s savings to defend her sister? A hero kidnapped by his mother to find a bride? The emotional connects among the characters (Pauline & Griff’s mother, Pauline & Griff) were realistic and unique, building stronger ties as the story evolved. I was surprised by the reveals (there is some foreshadowing, but it is subtle and adds to the plot). One of the things I loved about this book was the use of repetitive phrasing, (Griffin sees Pauline: “Her,” he said. “I’ll take her.”) to show the hero’s growth. At first, he means it quite literally – he is picking Pauline so his mother can make a Duchess out of her, but later he realizes he chooses Pauline because he loves her. He wants and needs her. Just masterful use throughout the novel and a great lesson on how to use repetition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Was lucky to find two great books to read this weekend and this was one. Characters were charming and the plot had great elements of fairytale themes with modern touches. Great imagery too. Love!!
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
This may be my favorite Tessa Dare book yet. I always say that, and it's true...until I read the next one! I love storylines where the common girl catches the eye of the nobleman and then holds her own in his world and captures his heart. There are plenty of Pretty Woman and Cinderella moments as Griffin and his interfering mother try to turn Pauline the serving girl into a duchess, but the reasons behind the mother's matchmaking and Griffin's refusal to marry are totally unique. The book is full of humor, but there are also some tear-jerker moments too. It totally satisfies in the romance department!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It had humor and romance galore. I read it in one day.The whole spindle cove series is good but I truly was so very fond of the hero and hetoine, they were likable and the chemistry between them very good. I liked this spindle cove the best.
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