May 20, 2020

Abbreviations #104: The Duchess Deal, Romancing the Duke + The Princess Plan

The Duchess Deal is a historical rom-com written by Tessa Dare, that centers around a marriage arrangement between vicar’s daughter turned seamstress Emma Gladstone and the Duke of Ashbury. This arrangement is meant to be beneficial to both parties, as Ash will have the wife he needs to beget an heir and Emma will be provided for, but neither one accounted for actually falling in love… Honestly, this book gave me all the warm fuzzies and was the perfect distraction from real life. Emma and Ash (who are both really likable, mind you) start out as partners because of their circumstances, but as they open up to and learn more about each other, it’s unsurprising that they fall in love. It was sweet, and funny (their banter! And also, the secondary cast of characters!), and it felt so wholesome and wonderful. I definitely liked this one, and I’m certainly planning to read the rest of this series!

The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) was published on August 22, 2017 by Avon.

Romancing the Duke is another Tessa Dare historical romance series starter, this time about Isolde “Izzy” goodnight, who grew up listening to storybook tales from her father (who was also the mind behind a popular published serial that had a main character named after Izzy). His death leaves her in unfortunately impoverished circumstances, up until she is told that she has inherited a castle from her godfather. All set to move in, Izzy’s salvation is foiled when she discovers the estate already has an occupant: the duke who actually owns the castle is still in residence. While they butt heads initially, they eventually settle on a plan to work together in order to figure out what exactly happened with regards to the castle. And friends, this one was so much fun! Izzy and Ransom are a delightful couple to read about, with Izzy being so easy to relate to and Ransom fitting perfectly the profile of the grumpy hero with a good heart. Watching the two bicker and banter and slowly fall in love as they get to know one another was so great, and to see them actually being in love (and all the swoons that ensued) was *chef’s kiss* incredible. Apart from the actual romance being wonderful, I also enjoyed the Izzy Goodnight fandom element (you’ll know when you read it) and how this couple (with some help) worked their way to a proper happily ever after. Romancing the Duke is totally the lighthearted, enjoyable read I was promised, and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) was published on January 28, 2014 by Avon.

The Princess Plan is a historical royal romance with a bit of murder mystery on the side, and while royal romances aren’t always my thing, I’m happy to report that I ended up enjoying it! When Prince Sebastian of Alucia’s personal secretary is murdered, he finds himself swept up in investigating the circumstances of the death. He ends up crossing paths with Eliza Tricklebank when her gossip gazette has an anonymous tip about the crime, and the two team up in order to find the culprit. They butt heads, sparks fly and you can imagine what happens next! This was a really enjoyable read, though I felt like there was the tiniest lull in pacing in the middle and it didn’t necessarily manage to consistently keep my attention from start to finish. But there are so many other aspects that more than made up for that overall - the gossip gazette aspect (very Whistledown/Gossip Girl), the relationships (Eliza’s family dynamic, her circle of friends and the budding romance), the murder mystery (which worked really well for me), and the banter (because, of course, the banter). While Julia London hasn’t fully yet cemented her status as a new favorite historical romance author for me, she’s definitely on my radar with this solid story. I certainly plan to check out the rest of the series at the very least!

The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding #1) was published on November 19, 2019 by HQN.
I received an e-galley from the publisher for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.


  1. I just recently got into Tessa Dare, but I'm obsessed already!

    -Heather | Nerdy By Nature Blog


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)