April 03, 2013

One Dance With a Duke by Tessa Dare Review

One Dance With a Duke 
Stud Club #1
by Tessa Dare
Published on May 25th 2010
Ballantine Books, 384 pages
Find the title on Goodreads

In One Dance with a Duke—the first novel in Tessa Dare’s delightful new trilogy—secrets and scandals tempt the irresistible rogues of the Stud Club to gamble everything for love.

A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members—yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing “Duke of Midnight.” Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke—until Lady Amelia d’Orsay tries her luck.

In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke’s dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother’s debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club’s founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

- Goodreads.com description

As my life of now, I decided I won't call myself "I am happy being alone" but, instead call myself "I am happy being free". So far, feels good. Well, honestly it felt good for years now. But at this certain point of my life, I must admit to myself, I am happy being free. I am satisfied with my life. But that doesn't mean I would neglect myself a good romance book, now would I? Because really, who needs a man? I'm no feminist or anything, but simply stating a fact. I figured I would rather cuddle with a romance book any day :)

I decided to read this book, because I came across a quote that struck me still. Holy shit. It was good. Hence I decided this book must be completely awesome.

"I'm infatuated with you, I cannot deny it. Physically speaking, you're a very attractive man. But I don't like you, the vast majority of the time. So far as I can gather, you behave abominably in public and are only marginally better in private. I only find you remotely tolerable when you're kissing me."

Isn't it awesome?!
God, I forgot how much I love historical romance. It's just something about it that makes it pure awesomeness. I don't particularly like horses, or big animals in general, but I did enjoy this book quite a lot. 

Amelia. Oh, Amelia was such a sweet and determinated and amazing character. I laughed so much hearing her speak her thoughts. But she was also so very honest with her husband. I admired that. She didn't put up with his shit and she always challenged him when he deserved it. Holy wow.

Spencer. Thank god, the book was written in dual POV or I don't know what I would have thought of him. At the beginning he was so impertinent and arrogant and it frustrated me and delighted me with no end. And then after a while he softened. And I was all like "awwww" <3 

The book overall was really good, and if you are a fan of Historical romance, then I would definitely suggest you to read this book. And the writing is very good as well. The hot, sexy scenes were written very good ;) Which I much appreciated. One dance with a duke is a Historical romance not to be missed!

"I see." Beauvale glared in Spencer's direction. "People will be talking?"
"Yes, the will. It cannot be helped. In fact, the gossip is likely to increase with the announcement of a betrothal. We may as well make the engagement brief."
Brother and sister stared at him in open-mouthed shock. Spencer rocked idly on his heels, waiting. Lady Amelia left her brother's side and went to the nearest chair. At last, the thought had occurred to her to sit. 
"Forgive me, Your Grace," she began, "but this had already been a rather unbelievable night. And it is giving way to a positively apocryphal morning. I though I just heard you refer to an engagement."
"Yes. Ours."
More stunned silence.

He gave her a chastening look. "Even from that stinting description, we'd have a better foundation for marriage than many couples."
"Yes, but it's still nowhere near the marriage I'd dreamed of having."
"Well." The duke released her hands and stepped back. "It would seem you have a choice. Will it be the dreams? Or me?"
"No woman should have to make such a choice."


Patricia said...

The comment that got deleted about 239812 times:

A) I love your review, and I'm glad you enjoyed the book! The quote was why I read it, too. I just loved her snark there. *g*

A.2) ALSO THE QUOTES IN THE END. I loved first quote where he announces their engangement and everyone's just like, "Dude, what did you just say?" :'D

A.3) And I love how the two quotes resemble exactly why I love Tessa Dare. She has those scenes that are hilarious to the point where I just want to cry, but not a second later they turn absoutely deep and serious, and it's amazing. ASDKJHASd

B) Okay, I need your opinion here, but for the question to make sense, I'll have to write a bit more, so.. humor me?

So. First off, because that thought just crossed my mind- I don't think it's possible for a person as intelligent as you not to actually be a feminist, because.. you know, as far as I know, the definition of feminism is something like wanting women and men to be on equal standing. (Though I find it rather awful how people start to define and see feminism, so maybe I'd need a different word.. But, you know, if you take the core definition, I don't think I know (and like) anyone who isn't a feminist. Including any guy I've ever spent time with ROFL) So, feminists don't say "who needs a man", they say, "A person who considers herself female and wants to be happy needs a man as much as a fish needs a bycicle." /just saying because why not

Which, I feel, is pretty much what you just said? And I also love that you said it, and I love that you say it's about freedom, not "lack of togetherness" because it's an astute thing to say and about every person I know who's talking about this whole thing is just talking about how they love being alone, which seems fake when you take in how they BEHAVE.. /random

Patricia said...

In any case, I think it's actually a healthy thing to read romance novels. It entertains, of course, but like, if I want to cook something new, I'll read some receipts and watch a tutorial or something, so I know what to do and what to avoid, right? So, reading romance not only might fulfill wishes that we feel on an (possibly) unconscious level -especially if we are not in the position to grant them to ourselves because of what they'd entail, i.e. a relationship meaning compromise and time and work, which is hard to do when you're studying or just got a new job or are generally not in the mood; even if you'd like to cuddle now and then.. or have hot sex, or just want the sort of emotional intimacy that few friendships or familiar bonds can provide to that extent that a healthy romantical relationship could- it also helps shape our perception, which is a great thing, and everyone who says otherwise should leave. ;)

So, my question. I guess I came across too many people who, unlike you, seemed to really struggle with the whole "Oh, sheesh, I'm reading romance, I should keep that private, lest people think I'm unhappy or going to end up a crazy old lady with many cats.*" And since I always want to know what you think, I need to know what you think about that whole thing. Because.. ARGH. So: Do you think it's a cultural thing? Not just in terms of standartized-omni-present-sexism (i.e. women being either prudish or sluts, and also women not being allowed to long for love, because that's just ridiculous and so.. "female") but in how many readers seem to feel guilty for enjoying books that aren't deemed "appropriate" for anyone with a healthy and happy life. Or something entirely different? Because, when I talk about the books I love, even *I* often avoid talking about the romance novels. And.. basically all I read is romance, so I usually focus on the suspense or the paranormal elements (though I seldomly talk about the vampires and shifters D: It's actually really awful now that I think about it) instead of the relationships between H/H. It's so awful that many readers, myself included, feel that way, and I just don't really get why. Because *I KNOW* that people who think "feminine" things are degrading are stupid, and I know that my reading romance novels shouldn't change the way people look at me, so if they do, I should just go, but for some reasons, there is still this "stigma".

Why is it socially acceptable to watch horror movies, where even the most morally white characters end up torturing eachother, but reading about love of all things, something that nearly everyone wants, isn't? HELP. o_o

*Which, seriously, is like one of the best things you could end up as, if that's what makes you happy.

nea barabea said...

Wow. These are fairly awesome questions, Patricia. And to any good question - well, there isn't really a simple answer.

About the feminism. Well, before I attended my Antropology, I think I kind think of myself as a feminist. But if I am completely honest, I didn't really know what the term meant. That's why after attending the classes, I changed my mind. Or I should say, I finally understood what the term actually meant. I suggest you to read my "article" The feminists ruined the women's world, or the reason why I hate interpersonal relations today. I think I explained it in very details and I was a little (read: a lot) pissed off about stuff that I had going on in my life at that time. But if I am totally honest - that stuff I guess didn't change till today. I still despite the interpersonal relationships between men and women today. It didn't matter that I changed the country, culture or whatever - it sucks everywhere.

About the reading romance, I think the whole big boooom of Fifty shades of Gray kind of made it a more awesome thing, but in the same time it totally ruined it. Today everyone, and I mean everyone will think that if you read romance, you read about BDSM and sexual fantasies and OMG you will have such big expectations about sex and yes, right know you are totally admiting that you WANT that. Because if you read about it - there must be a motive, right? So, you do like it.
And I think here is the catch. Romance, and erotica books did open our minds toward a different sexual experience. I mean, before Fifty shades of Gray (I know totally embarrassing) I didn't even know BDSM existed. And before last year I didn't even know Adult Romance books existed. God, my life would have been so easy when I was a teenager if I had those kind of books in my hands :P Like I do now ;) ;)
But as popular as this thing have become - sex still feels personal. Sex is personal. Our expectations, our desires are ours, and we don't want to share it with the world. So, I think admiting to people what kind of romance books we like to read, spoils our secret desires and sexual wishes - and we know from our childhood that unhealthy or wrong sexual desires - as in the boy dreams of having sex with mom, and the girl having sex with her dad - are WRONG. And also, as much as society and the media are selling sex as much they possibly can - sex is still a tabu.
If I am honest, the only people I ever speak openly about sex, are psychology student. And say openly, I mean it very literally. We studied it and we dealt with it. And in the end according to Freud - everything is about sex. But lots of people feel very uncomfortable to openly speak about sex. Hell, partners have troubles admiting to each others what their sexual fantasies are. Out of fear? Fear that the partner will judge them? Reject them? I don't really know. And as much as I can openly talk about it, I fear those things too.

And now lets talk about love. Thank god romance books exist or I would have forgotten what love actually was a long time ago. With society and interpersonal relationships today, I often ask myself if love between two people is actually still possible in a long run. That is why I love romance books, because they make me hope for a better future, or I should say, for a possibility for love in the future.

All this is actually a very good thing for a research or an article. I wanted to make a research a while ago - if reading romance books actually affects interpersonal relations. I haven't given up on this, just so you know! :P I'm still planning on doing it.

I hope I answered your question(s) Patricia :) Btw, I LOVE your questions!! They always inspire me of wanting to know even more and more and more. And actually do it. Thank you ;) <3

Patricia said...

This is going to take some time. Sorry! XD First of all, amazing answer & thank you for taking the time!

RE: Feminism.

I think I've got to disagree there. Feminism is a fluent, shifting thing, like, hmm.. religion is. Just because some people are assholes and stupid, doesn't mean everyone is. The same goes for past happenings and the present. Obviously anyone can claim that [a] is the defitnion of religion or beign a good Christian/feminism and feminist, and we could all still hate on Christians for the many awful things they did in the past -and present- but then, we could do that with any group of individuals who share one marker.

Feminists also say that being equal doesn't mean women = men, there are obvious differences in our biology and since we ARE being brought up different, in our ways of thinking. Feminism is about being entitled to pick what we want. Whether we want to stay at home or work, and it's also about giving men the chance to do that. To be a stay at home dad or not. It's about acknowledgement of how we are different and still worth the same. I do agree that a big part of the feminist-movement, especially in the 70-00ies, and well also now, was awful. I gather that it's got something to do with suffering from the oppression and feeling fresh air, and wanting to get the rage out of their systems -which is their due, though it doesn't help their cause. You bringing up value in your post is the one thing I most criticise, but then, I'm from Germany so in order to look myself in the eyes, I'm used to the "That's the past, and I've got to be better than that"-thing anyways, and dealing with a bad reputation is like, everyday life.

The idea about us chosing men at the end of a chain of many many links including our relatives is repulsive to me, I agree there. It's like the author completely skipped the part where humans are able to feel different types of love, regardless of all our Freud (yeah, psht, I usually hate to bring that name up, for obvious reasons, but when it comes to sexuality and mothers, it's kinda the first name that pops up in my brain, urgh). That isn't feminism, that is stupidity. o_o

Okay, I'll send this first and write the second part about romantic stuff right away. Might take some time again, but I've gotta find a link I think you might love. :D

Patricia said...

RE: Romance

A) I think even if I liked the kinkiest shit, that isn't something we should defend ourselves against. It's a natural thing to have certain wishes, and even actual sexual perversions (I'll go with the really old definition that goes like, not being able to be sexually fullfilled unless [insert anything]' with the only difference between a kink and a perversion being that you could still lead a healthy sexlife without [kink] if it's not an actual perversion.)

Just sad, really.

Truthfully, I haven't even thought about the sexual implications, and the Fifty Shades series, especially because this has been a phenomen that existed before. Why else would romantic comedies be degraded to 'Chick Flicks'? I do agree, however, that the Fifty Shades series changes the dynamics even further and shifts the thing to a more sexual level, which is just disturbing because now we're not naive wanna-be housewives anymore. We are wannabe housewives who want to kinky fuckeries. /sigh

Okay, I knew about BDSM and related things before because of the books I stole from my mom, but regardless of that, yeah, sex is a tabu. Not as much as love, but with sex it's.. we should walk around with the sexiest clothes ever, but we aren't allowed to be aware of it. It's like the old thing where men go, 'Oh I hate women with too much make-up', and regardless of how entirely stupid it is of people to assume that we use make-up for their enjoyment, it's even more stupid to say shit like that, because it's not that they want to see us without make-up, it's that they want us to look flawless even with none on. /shoots herself

And so, we're absolutely allowed to be great in bed, we just aren't allowed to gain that knowledge through reading or show it in the way we speak, walk or dress ourselves. Because that's so unbecoming. /punches people in the throat

Similiar here. Well, my best friend and I have probably no inhibitions when it comes to talking about sex, which is hilarious, and my mother and I can talk about sex in a 'clean' way, i.e. I could definitely talk to her about the psychology behind [insert anything], and I guess I could also talk about it on a more personal level, but that's not something I really want at this point, and also it's not relevant to this.. What I meant was, similiar to you the only people I can talk to about this are people who either studied it or have similiar knowledge to someone who studied it, and for whom it isn't awkward because of the 'It's sex, get over it' attitude.

As for romance and time, I don't think it was ever that much different. Like, years ago, marriage was a partnership in which the two partners would try and get as much offspring as possible in order to have someone to provide for them once they were old. We don't have those problems anymore, not so obvious at least, so we don't need to look for partners, and I think that shifts the way the world works a little. Like, if I lived in the 19th century, I'd probably want to find someone I love to marry, because I NEED to marry, so at least make it someone bearable. Right now we don't need to put ourselves out there like that. Besides the point, though. I do agree that it's kind of hard to remember what love is supposed to feel like given the circumstances.

As for the links.. I couldn't find them right away, but instead, I think I've got something better. Smart Bitches Trashy Books wrote two books about Romance novels and how they affect us. I'm rereading „Everything I know about love I learned from Romance Novels“ right now, but that's written by Smart Bitch Sarah alone, whereas the other one was co-written by Candy. In any case, I think you might enjoy the reads. Very entertaining and insightful, in a way many other texts from Ph.D.s never got to.

Patricia said...

(I just realized that it sounded like I criticse you, but I actually meant that I agree with your criticism. XD)

nea barabea said...

Ok, I get your point about the feminism thing. I agree the thing is always changing. But that doesn't change the fact that I still feel the consequences of the feminism in the 70es. And it may be changed now, but hell, the consequences are here nonetheless. And I hate them. You may still feel you value (lucky you), but if I am honest, in the interpersonal relations, I don't feel it at all. I feel more like devalued. Everytime I go out and look around or talk to guys, I get this feeling that they don't actually see me as a person, or a woman for the matter, but as a object to be used (and probably discarded afterwards most of the time) and I hate it. I don't even want to engage with people like that. And sadly there are more and more out there everyday. So, fuck that. The prospect of the cats it's so much more appealing.

The housewife that wants kinky fuckery - haha completely awesome. And sad. And fuck, still true. I don't know.. people are just.. Just. I love romance, and I can openly say it. And I can also openly say that no guy, and I mean it - NO guy, had ever made me feel all hot like Gideon Cross, or [insert here] any great male fictional character. Which is awesome and sad at the same time. But hey, you don't hear me complaining about Gideon Cross, or Daemon Black, or Will Herondale <3 <3 <3 My men <3

And I don't have troubles admiting that to guys either. Like "sorry, but fictional characters are just better" :P

Don't worry, I didn't perceived it as criticism ;) It's nice to see the way you think. I've read this quote "When you start thinking like everyone else, it's time to stop and reflect." So yeah ;)

Sam said...

I don't read historical romances very often, but you have me convinced about this one! I like the sound of the dual point of view, too. That's a style that seems to be working pretty well for me now. :) Great review!

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