Tessa Dare’s “One Dance with a Duke” was enchanting, engaging, passionate, and charming all in the same plane. I won it from a random drawing on Courtney Milan’s blog (Thank you Courtney!). Collectively considering the read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The story features many dimensions, but ultimately revolves around a murder among the men belonging to an exclusive gathering known as the “Stud Club.” Among the members stands the Duke of Morland, Spencer Dumarque. Known for his outwardly callous demeanor, Spencer is a withdrawn horse breeder who wants to own the horse shared among the Stud Club members more than anything. Yet when Leo, the club’s founder, is found dead, he’s connected to the motives behind the murder in a big way.
In the same vein, Spencer finds himself captivated by the alluring Lady Amelia d’Orsay. Her courage and brutal honesty, even when they first meet at a dance around midnight, captures his attention and his heart. As events transpire, their affection for each other isn’t realized easily, but when they are, they’re often in passionate spurts that will likely grab the reader’s attention in its candid portrayal. Yeah, the sensuous scenes in this book really caught me by surprise, and had me blushing from ear to ear.
Tessa Dare’s prose is captivating and witty. I found it hard to put the book down as it drew me into the remaining story. I’ll admit it was hard for me to get into it, but once I did, I was sold until the very end. At first I thought that Spencer and Amelia were characters that wouldn’t emerge beyond just the stereotypic qualities of their constructions (roughened rouge matched with a self-sacrificing woman who doesn’t know how to measure her own happiness), but it became more as the story went on. Amelia learns to find the value in her happiness as well as open her heart. Spencer sheds pieces of his assumed and broken past to find his heart lies with Amelia in more ways than one, rather than just their passionate encounters.
There are a few inconsistencies that I think most readers won’t pick up on if they read the book and make the comparison to the period and proper social etiquette, but for the first book in this trilogy, I found it a read well worth the time. I can’t wait to read more of the series.
Overall score: 4/5