Series: Spindle Cove #4
Published by Avon on May 28th 2013
Genres: Historical, Romance
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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 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?
How has this book been out for almost two years and I’m just now reading it?? This is easily one of my favorite books of the year. I loved every single one of these characters. So much, in fact, that when I was finished with it, I immediately read it a second time, then bought it in paperback, even though I already owned it in ebook form.
Pauline was so real. She was heartbreakingly real to me. She’s content with her life as it is at the moment, but she has bigger plans for herself. She and her younger sister, Daniela, live with their parents, but she’s working as hard as she can to get them out of there and open her own bookshop. A circulating library, specifically. Her father is an overbearing, abusive asshole, and her mother has been so beaten down by life and her husband that she’s no help to her daughters. Daniela has some sort of developmental problems, so Pauline does everything she can to protect her from their father, and from the few jerks who live in Spindle Cove and aren’t willing or able to be kind.
Griffin’s mother, Judith, has decided it’s time for her to get some grandchildren. Griffin York is the eighth Duke of Halford, the Marquess of Westmore the Earl of Ridingham, Viscount Newthorpe, and Lord Hartford-on-Trent. (We learn all of these titles in a particularly sexy, gorgeous sex scene.)Griffin is her only child, so she informs him that she’s through waiting. He can pick any woman he wants to from Spindle Cove, and Judith will take the poor girl under her wing and turn her into a duchess. Griffin is pretty sure he’s screwed with her plans when he chooses the sugar-and-mud-covered, clumsy serving girl with the horrible accent.
But the joke’s on him. Pauline is all of those things, but she’s also smart, and kind, and generous, and loving, and quick-witted, and brave. She’s more than a match for his mother, and no matter how much Judith tries to force her into the duchess mold, Pauline is able to take her instructions and use them to enhance those great qualities instead, becoming a more duchess-like version of herself with an upper-crust accent.
Griffin was pretty terrible to Pauline at first. I don’t think he meant to be, I think he’s just gone through his life as a duke being able to say and do whatever he wanted without anyone calling him out on it, and he’s never met anyone like Pauline. Not only is she not used to the way the aristocracy act toward each other, she’s not afraid of telling them exactly what she thinks of them. Most of the aristocracy sees her as incurably gauche and crass. Griffin loves it. And her, very quickly. This is
I realize that the story of a duke and a serving girl falling in love and getting married, to say nothing of that marriage being accepted and celebrated by the aristocracy, is a little far-fetched, but I could not possibly care any less about that. This is such a great story. It’s heart-warming, sexy, and genuinely funny. I haven’t laughed out loud in sheer delight at a book in a very long time. It’s been an equally long time since I read any book, specifically an historical, that I connected with this much and loved this hard. Every time I put it down, I was twitchy and eager to get back to it. I’ve enjoyed the other books in the series, but not nearly this much. I absolutely loved this book and could not recommend it any more.