Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After [NOOK Book]

Overview

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.  She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly ...
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Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After

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Overview

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.  She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and . . . Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
05/15/2014
Isolde (Izzy) Goodnight is a self-proclaimed ugly duckling even though she is beloved as a charming character in her father's famous storybooks. Left destitute after her father's death, Izzy is surprised by her godfather's unexpected bequest of Gostley Castle. Unfortunately, the castle is a wreck inhabited by the rakish Ransom, Duke of Rothbury. Wounded and almost blind, Ransom has secluded himself in the castle and refuses to accept Izzy's claim of ownership. The road to passionately happily-ever-after is never easy, but of course Izzy and Ransom's true love prevails. VERDICT A perfect start to a new series, this spicy Regency lovefest offers an appealing story, witty dialog, and an engagingly quirky cast of characters. (LJ 2/15/14)
Publishers Weekly
★ 12/16/2013
Dare’s first Castles Ever After historical provides a unique twist to a fairy tale, complete with an ancient castle, a damsel in distress, and a wounded hero. In 19th-century England, Isolde “Izzy” Goodnight is left penniless when her father, who was a writer, dies. Her one ray of hope is a letter telling her that she has inherited Gostley Castle from her godfather. The castle turns out to be a crumbling structure that already has a resident: Ransom Vane, the Duke of Rothbury. After an accident left him blind, Ransom has secluded himself in the castle, not realizing that his agents sold it to the man who bequeathed it to Izzy. Certain that the truth of the building’s ownership lies in the untouched correspondence on Ransom’s desk, Izzy insists on becoming his secretary. While she is drawn to his masculine beauty, Izzy really falls for Ransom when his kindness belies his rakish behavior. Dare’s lyrical writing and expert, intense character development make this a romance to be savored with the eager expectation of future series installments. (Feb.)
Smart Bitches Trashy Books
I think this is a truly unique historical that will appeal to readers who aren’t often historical fans.
Smexy Books
This book is already in my top books for 2014. This new series of Tessa Dare’s is off to an amazing start!
Booklist (starred review)
Splendidly talented Dare creates cleverly written dialogue, exceptionally appealing characters, and an engaging plot that gives a wink toward Beauty and the Beast and a nod to fandom, all key components in this wickedly funny and soul-satisfyingly romantic novel, the perfect launch to Dare’s new Castles Ever After series.
Fresh Fiction
Tessa Dare’s first instalment in the new Castles Ever After series, ROMANCING THE DUKE will have readers clearing their keeper shelf just to make room for this little gem! Jam- packed with hilarious banter, Dare’s trademark humor is showcased in its full glory.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-09
Izzy Goodnight has long given up on fairy tales, so she is shocked to learn that she has inherited a castle and must figure out what to do with the wounded duke who lives there. As the daughter of a scholar famous for penning a series of tales about knights and maidens, Izzy knows a thing or two about fairy tales. However, she also knows hunger and financial desperation thanks to the same father, who never took the time to ensure she was cared for after his death. In fact, Izzy has spent her life looking after her father and supporting his career, so his betrayal in this manner is even more crushing. Learning she has inherited a castle from one of her father's advisers sends her fleeing to the property, only to find a dilapidated building and the wounded duke who used to own it—and who is quite surprised and angry to learn he no longer does. Since Izzy has no money and the duke needs help, they agree she will stay on and help him get his affairs in order, and he will pay her for her services. Getting to the bottom of the mystery forces them to work closely together, and both are stunned when a strong attraction flares between them. But Izzy is the beloved daughter of a famous author, and her father's adoring public comes calling, causing tension in the household. Add in Izzy's self-consciousness regarding her plain appearance, the continued dispute over the castle and various quirky secondary characters, not to mention a few secrets and dangers along the bumpy path to the couple's happily-ever-after, and you have the recipe for an effervescent, heart-tugging romance. Dare starts her new series with a unique storyline, a sweet, fun nod to literary fandom, and two main characters who are perfect for each other yet never would have met if they weren't each at a nadir in life's journey.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062240163
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Series: Castles Ever After , #1
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 47
  • File size: 3 MB

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 big brown dog.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2014

    10 STARS IF I COULD!! I know each of us have our own individual

    10 STARS IF I COULD!! I know each of us have our own individual taste, but I truly don't understand the low ratings for this novel. I love the writing style of Tessa Dare, and this is one of my favorites. I laughed out loud so many times, and got teary eyed too. Her style pulls you into the story, and made me feel I was part of this unique storyline. I only bought this, because who the writer was. I don't like fairytales slants, but oh I am so glad I read this. I won't go into the premise as others have described this story. But, you will love our H/h. I understood how each felt the way they did. Their is much passion, good honest lovemaking, not crude, just lovely written. I hope you will take a chance on this new series and get lost for a few hours of pure enjoyment! (ljb)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2014

    I¿ve been on a contemporary suspense/thriller kick lately, so it

    I’ve been on a contemporary suspense/thriller kick lately, so it took me a few pages to switch gears and start to enjoy Tessa Dare’s latest, Romancing the Duke, which publisher HarperCollins tells me is the first of a new “Castles Ever After” series. I read Tessa’s Spindle Cove series a while back – and enjoyed it – so after catching a review in an old issue of PW I decided to check it out.

    I’m glad that I did – even if the flowery language threw me for a loop in the beginning (the gear-switching phase). I even took the following note: “‘His facial topography was a proud, noble landscape’ Really? Who WRITES that crap?”

    Well, Tessa Dare writes that crap – as flowing out of the mind of her protagonist, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight, upon meeting our hero Ransom Vane, the Duke of Rothbury. Turns out Izzy can be excused for her melodrama, as she’s grown up as the inspiration for a wildly popular serial fairy tale written by her father. Since her father’s death she’s been surviving (scraping by) on the goodwill and heroine-worship of the story’s devotees. All that chivalry and Gothic high drama can influence a girl’s way of thinking.

    She’s down to her last few shillings when Izzy receives an enigmatic message advising her that she’s the beneficiary of an unexpected bequest from her godfather, and asking her to meet at Gostley Castle. She arrives in Northumberland to a crumbling castle (of course), in the rain (did you expect a sunny day?), with no one there to greet her except a “tall, dark, handsome man” (yes, that really is a direct quote) who keeps to the shadows. And then she faints – ah, not into his arms, but onto the stone courtyard. Turns out she hasn’t eaten in a couple of days, though the titular Duke believes she’s fainted dead away at the sight of his scarred face. Yup, we’ve got that cliché in there too.

    You might sense my snark, but surprisingly by this point of the story – only 12 pages in – these characters have already won me over, and I’m enjoying every second of the story and every thought flowing through the characters’ heads. And that’s a total testament to Tessa Dare’s writing style and storytelling ability. On the surface, she’s hitting every bad historical cliché, but she’s also very cleverly and very subtly weaving in Rothbury’s wry sense of humor and Izzy’s glimmering hopefulness. It feels as if the characters are aware of themselves as a cliché, laughing softly, and acting their story with enthusiasm, energy, and joy regardless.

    Tessa’s superbly understated characterization makes both Izzy and Ransom completely irresistible and creates a charming story. You root for these characters all the way. Despite the language, they feel genuine. Their dialog is witty and the love scenes are both tender and tingly. Tessa takes melodrama and sneakily turns it into lighthearted fun. Kudos!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    It's Tessa Dare so of course the story is deft, romantic, adorab

    It's Tessa Dare so of course the story is deft, romantic, adorable, witty . . . everything you'd expect. This one particularly touches my heart for the less-than-perfect hero you'll love anyway, and the heroine who isn't physically beautiful and doesn't suddenly become so.

    The very best part of this book is that ever chapter or so there is a phrase or a description so perfect, so lovely, it's like tiny strings of poetry hidden amidst the prose. You just need to pause a moment and roll it over in your head like you'd roll a sparkling gem in your hand.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    The first book in the always-enchanting Tessa Dare's newest seri

    The first book in the always-enchanting Tessa Dare's newest series, Castles Ever After, Romancing the Duke is a wonderful mesh of the gothic along with a dash of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table and Beauty and the Beast. Izzy Goodnight’s father penned The Goodnight Tales, a series of fairy tales about chivalry and honor, romantic love, and derring-do. When her father dies, however, Izzy is left destitute and unprotected, a woman poor and alone. When she receives news she has been left an inheritance, she travels from home to meet her fate. She also meets Ransom, an angry and emotionally and physically scarred duke.
     This story is very reminiscent of Jillian Hunter’s A Duke’s Temptation; in that story, the hero wrote dark stories of chivalry and adventure, his heroine was an obsessed fan, and they lived in an old castle. Its comedy also brings to mind Jane Austen’s gothic spoof novel, Northanger Abbey. There’s a decrepit ancient castle, a brooding and damaged hero, an innocent yet ever-optimistic and practical heroine, and a colorful cast of secondary characters.
     There is some wonderfully wry humor here, mostly tongue-in-cheek, especially connected with the Goodnight Tales’ groupies (hilariously called Moranglians from the make-believe world of Moranglia) who travel the countryside and re-enact jousts and scenes from the beloved tales. Also, Ransom’s perpetual irritation plays wonderfully against Izzy’s brisk efficiency and persistence and kindness. He can’t resist her as she wears him down. She even has a pet ermine named Snowdrop, one of many well-meaning but frivolous gifts bestowed on Izzy by the Moranglians. The scene when they descend on the castle and Izzy plays along with them made me laugh out loud.
    Duncan, Ransom’s long-suffering and devoted valet-cum-butler, is an important character as he reveals the truth of the duke’s past, a truth that literally sets Ransom free. There’s also Miss Abigail Pelham, the vicar’s efficient and enthusiastic daughter, who adds a nice prim and proper touch to this otherwise enjoyably bawdy and saucy story.
    Ransom reminds me of Lord Dain, the tortured hero in Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, but this story’s lighthearted and fairy tale-like tone is the complete opposite of that darker story. Like Dain, Ransom feels that no one loves him, that he is unloveable, so he doesn’t even want to try. Until Izzy. But he’s not as cold and cruel as Dain can be.
    Izzy is a sweet and curious heroine. She dreams of true love and her own happily ever after and hopes for the best in all situations. She is completely responsible for herself now that her father is gone and she comes to recognize that Ransom’s fears and vulnerabilities mirror her own. It’s sweet how each try to comfort the other. For example, she’s terrified of the dark and Ransom’s touching gestures are a comfort to her. And, when solicitors come calling to try to dispute his dukedom, Izzy and the Moranglians band together to help him.
    In a no-nonsense and straightforward manner, Tessa Dare also touches on the vulnerability of women during this time. Without fighting for her rights to the castle, Izzy would be turned out on the streets, destitute and alone. ”’Don’t tell me you’re one of those women with radical ideas.’ ‘No,’ she returned. ‘I’m one of those women with nothing. There are a great many of us.’” (p42)
    Memorable moments:
    “If he had to have a swooning, nuzzling woman collapse on his doorstep, why couldn’t it be one who smelled of vinegar and old cheese? No, he had to get one scented of rosemary and sweet powdered skin."  (p12)
    ”’Beautiful women are always trouble. Whether they mean to be or not.’” (p18)
    “Any self-respecting rake had two kinds of women in his life: those he took to bed at night and those who made him a pancake in the morning. If he suddenly wanted both from the same woman, it was a warning flag. One big and red enough even for a blind man to see." (p94)
    "She’d been alone for a long time. In some ways, since well before her father died. And she was well-enough acquainted with loneliness to understand that the worst part wasn’t having nobody caring for you—it was having nobody to care for."  (p137)
    “She couldn’t let this happen. It was all well and good to say ‘no expectations,’ but Izzy knew how her affection-starved heart worked. She was so desperate to love and be loved, she could sprout tender feelings toward a rock. And rocks didn’t call her ‘bewitching’ or ‘temptress.’” (p183)
    If you enjoy stories within stories, gothic spoofs, and ever-optimistic heroines and damaged heroes, you might enjoy this fun and entertaining story.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    Excellent!

    I loved this book! It is the story of 2 people who become temporary co-owners of a decrepit castle. It is the birthright of Ransom, the Duke, but it is willed to Izzy, a young woman who is loved by many but down to her last penny. The Duke has recently lost his eyesight and dropped out of society. Izzy recently became homeless and penniless when her father died with no will. She refuses to leave the castle while the mystery of true ownership is being solved. As always, the course of true love is never easy but quite satisfying once it is found. The characters were well developed, and the plot was fresh and compelling. Steam 3+. I'd definitely recommend this book, and I look forward to the next installment of this series.
    PSP

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    My favorite yet.

    I'm not reading any of the other reviews before I complete mine. I think this is my favorite so far. I really don't know why other than I just loved Izzy and Ransom. I felt like I knew them. I had to finally cut off my nook because I was falling asleep ans start back in this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the other characters too. This was a great read in my opinion. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2014

    Ahhhhhhhh!

    BEST STORY EVER!!!!!!!!(she screamed)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2014

    Loved it!!!!!!

    I could not stop reading this book. I will be reading this book again. Tessa Dare is now my new favorite author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2014

    awesome

    As usual tessa dare writes an amazing novel about two amazing people

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2014

    OK

    This was started off well but ended being just OK. The heroine was too caught up in her fairy tales, and I was disappointed in the ending. She did not really change, he seemed to have to do it all for the HEA to work out.

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  • Posted April 16, 2014

    I loved this book!  The characters were both flawed in their own

    I loved this book!  The characters were both flawed in their own way yet very self aware and straight forward - easy to like. I loved the fairy
    tale story within the story and I laughed out loud at some of Izzy's thoughts.  Could not put this one down - I really loved everything about it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Chloe

    Chloe arrives wearing a skimpy sundress and is handcuffed to a chair. She looks afraid but there is an excited gleam in her eye. She mouth is gagged. She had long straight blonde hair and stunning blue eyes covered with mascara.


    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    Loved it

    Ive read most of tessa dares books and love them all. Great romance, very steamy love scenes and wonderful endings. This was no different. Izzy is a wonderful woman and Ransom was incredibly masculine. Phyl p

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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    Isolde Goodnight's life so far has been a fairytale. Just not th

    Isolde Goodnight's life so far has been a fairytale. Just not the happily ever after kind. However, after receiving a letter informing her of an inheritance Izzy is optimistic that things will change for the better.

    Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury, has lived his life with all the liberties that come with the title and doesn't believe in fairytales. For the last seven months though, he has isolated himself at one of his castles. When Izzy arrives Ransom will do all he can to get her to leave him to his solitude.

    Izzy refuses to let Ransom deter her from making the best of her new situation and Ransom finds himself wondering if he even wants to.

    I was pleasantly surprised with this book and will definitely be reading more of Tessa Dare.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    delicious read

    I so thoroughly enjoyed this book. Could not wait to see what happened next and then was sorry it was over. Looking forward to the next one. Tessa Dare weaves wonderful tales.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Disappointing

    I like most of this authors books. This one started out promising, good setup, good dialogue, likable lead characters, ok chemistry. But i thought it became very goofy at the end, and I found myself wanting it to wrap up. I am disappointed. I hope the next book in this series is better.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Fun and entertaining with an interesting cast of characters

    Another great start to a series from Tessa Dare. I really enjoy heroes and heroines that are a bit off the norm and this one has that in spades, along with Dare's trademark humor and banter. Also, Ransom's issue is handled very believably without miracle cop-outs. It is a bit tamer than some of her other offerings, but does still have heat. While I don't think it will replace the Spindle Cove series on my favorites list, I will definitely be looking forward to more in this series. (Couple of "huh?" editing moments that caught my attention, but I loved that the heroine has a weasel--ermine, actually---as a pet, so all is forgiven!)

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    this is one of my favorite new series. I love this book and I highly recommend it!

    can't wait for the next book in Tessa Dare new series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Wonderful book!

    Tessa Dare never disappoints. After her hugely popular Spindle Cove series, she's on track to exceed expectations with her new Castles Ever After series. Izzy Goodnight is a engaging heroine and Ransom is just the duke to give her an amazing Happily Ever After.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVED IT!

    This was the most enjoyable read I've had in a long time. Thank you T.D. for the passion, the love, the wonderful characters, and the laugh out loud banter! I didn't want this story to end. I want to see this book made into a movie! I will read it again and savor every word!.

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