The Way to a Duke's Heart - Caroline Linden

Review from Queen of Swords Book Reviews.



* Tessa has a dark past but not super-dark. Her actions and interactions are proportionate to the level of her trauma. I find this a refreshing change from heroines who make really dumb outlandish decisions or put up insurmountable barriers based on something that should not haunt them that long. "OMG I can't ever love anyone because I peed my pants in front of my third grade class and I was so embarassed!!! Alas, although you are perfect for me, I can't ever share my life with another because... PEE!" Tessa's not like that. She lets down her walls when it's appropriate for a strong person to do so.

* Charlie is a fun hero. I really enjoyed his relationship with his father and his realization that they are much more alike than either of them wanted to admit.

* The progression of Tessa and Charlie's romance was realistic and fun to read. No insta-lust here but there was also just the right amount of them losing control when they admitted their feelings. I liked the balance.

* There was more to Mrs. Bates than I first thought and the sly revelation of more of her character made me smile.

* The blackmail plot was well-paced and handled though I didn't really feel as much suspense about it as I thought I should. This is probably because I haven't read the previous books and am coming in at the end of that particular arc.



* I thought Charlie's turnaround from indolent rake to efficient committed dude might have been a little too fast. I think that hearing more of his point of view regarding that change might have made it seem less precipitous.

* Tessa's whole "I'm not cool-kid enough to be a duchess" hangup was a bit silly. That being said, it thankfully didn't take too much to get her to set that crap aside.


Overall, a fun historical romance with a level-headed but lovable heroine.