Friday, August 9, 2019

Blog Tour Book Review: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

Author: Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #3
Audience:  +18
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 13th 2019
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: Harper Collins
Blurb (from Goodreads):
They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door. 

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As such, my review may contain references to subjects intended for mature audiences only.

I can honestly say that I've been spoiled so far with amazing historical romances and while I loved them all, The Wallflower Wager is probably one of my favorite this year. I absolutely fell in love with Penny and Gabe, and I was actually a bit sad when I reached the end. As an introduction to the world of Tessa Dare, I was very very impressed.

The Wallflower Wager tells the story of Lady Penny, the spinster with a sad story, and Gabe, the ruthless duke that grew up in extreme poverty. It was a really endearing story about overcoming one's past, and proving that there's always something beneath the surface, beneath what a person shows the world.

Penny was a fantastic heroine. She loves caring for animals no one wants anymore and she doesn't discriminate between them. Whether it's a dog with two bad legs, an otter, or a parrot with a very interesting vocabulary,  she loves each of them greatly. She sees Gabe as another prickly, wounded creature that no one wants, and although she tries really hard not to fall in love with him, she can't help but try to tame him. She is very determined to live on her own, even against her brother's wishes. Tessa Dare did a wonderful job showing how limited women's choice were in that era and how men had all the power over ruling their lives. Penny surprised me, ultimately. I was kind of agreeing with Gabe at some point, thinking that she was naive, but it turns out she had to overcome a lot of pain from her childhood, and the shame that came with what happened to her as well. She finally opens up to Gabe, and then her friends and family about what happened, and I discovered a strong woman, a woman that refuses to be a victim even though she still suffers and she still hasn't fully recovered from what happened.

Gabe was the perfect hero. At first he seems a bit selfish, focused on financial gain and willing to do anything in order to turn a profit. The more I read about him though, the more I realized that he was just trying to overcome his past. He's not a bad man, even though the title "Duke of Ruin" doesn't help his reputation. He learns about Penny's wager with her aunt and he decides to help her win. He definitely doesn't plan on falling in love with her, which is probably the most endearing aspect of their story. I loved that although Gabe could be ruthless in his dealings with rich people, he never once turned that ruthlessness against Penny. The only time he was a bit more cruel with her was when he decided to show her where he came from in an attempt to have her stay away from him emotionally, but that plan totally backfired. 

I loved Penny and Gabe's chemistry so much. They felt like partners in crime almost, which is my favorite trope if you can call it that. I also laughed like a crazy person at this book. There were so many hilarious scenes in this book, that I can't exactly say which one is my favorite. Let's just say it's a tie between finally deciphering the parrot's speech and the scene with a goat giving birth. The entire novel is hilarious and I can only hope the rest of the books from this series are just as hilarious.

I truly enjoyed this story and I definitely plan on reading Tessa Dare's backlist books, because her writing style was phenomenal. If you're in the mood for a fun, sweet, sexy historical romance, this is the book for you.

She circled back, standing before him. “There now. Better?”
He gave a reluctant nod.
“Can you move your arm in all directions?”
He rolled his shoulder to prove it. “Yes.”
“What about your grip?
“My grip is strong.”
“Perhaps I should wrap the arm in a sling.”
“I do not need a sling.”
“Wait here. I’ll dash upstairs to fetch some linen and—”
“For the love of God, woman. My shoulder is fine.” He took her by the waist and lifted her straight off the floor, until they were eye to eye. “There. Believe me now?”
She nodded, wide-eyed.
In his hands, she was delicate, breakable. Her hair was a golden treasure he should never, ever touch. And oh, how he hungered for those soft, pink lips.
The familiar voice echoed in his ears.
Don’t touch, boy. She’s not for the likes of you.
Put. Her. Down.
But before Gabe could lower those beribboned pink slippers to the floor, she captured his sooty, sweaty face in her hands—
And kissed him on the lips.

 Author Bio:
Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.
A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

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