The Duke of Halford’s mother is desperate. Her only son, the 9th Duke of Halford, has not married and she needs a grandchild. To speed things along, she kidnaps him to Spindle Cove, where there are an abundance of unmarried women. She tells Griff to pick any woman in the room and she will make her into a suitable Duchess. Griff is not on board with this plan. He has his own reasons for remaining unwed, reasons that he is not willing to share with anyone else. After a properly scandalous youth, he has withdrawn from society and is a bit bitter than no one really noticed. In order to get back at his mother for this scheme, Griff picks the least likely woman in the room, the serving girl.
Pauline has her own reasons for agreeing to the plan. She’s been promised a grand sum of money when she fails, if she’ll only play along to prove his mother wrong. She dreams of opening her own lending library, and a grand sum of money would certainly help. However, she also cannot leave the village for more than a week, so Griff’s mother has only a week to make the transformation. But what happens when the Duke falls in love with the serving girl?
Griff's character is probably one of my recent favorites in a romance. He has a really great reason for being withdrawn, and when he finally admits it to his mother it's heartbreaking. The possibility of a serving girl actually marrying a Duke is entirely far fetched and both Griff and Pauline never really lose sight of that. My favorite scene in the book is one in the library in which they discuss just how far apart their statuses really are- Griff forcefully drives home his point and Pauline accepts her role in it. It's hard to believe that it'll be possible for them to end up together, but once again Dare manages to stretch the boundaries just a tiny bit so that you can accept it.
I've now read three Tessa Dare books in quick succession and I can honestly tell you that she's high on my list of favorites. A Week to be Wicked is good, but Any Duchess Will Do and A Lady by Midnight are both terrific. They are smart and funny, and manage to poke fun at the "bodice ripper" genre while still being incredibly romantic, and, well, hot.
My copy of Any Duchess Will Do was provided for review by Edelweiss.