Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary--nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...
Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife--she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.
In Dreiling's whimsical debut, matchmaker Tessa Mansfield meets her greatest challenge yet in Tristan James Gatewick, the duke of Shelbourne. Under pressure to find a wife, Tristan employs Tess, who comes up with an alarming and unconventional proposition: she presents him with two dozen single young ladies, from whom he must select a single candidate. Despite the implausibility of Regency speed-dating, the book works well when dealing with the candidates and the wealth of subplots arising from their friendships, alliances, and rivalries. Less rewarding is the heavy-handed attraction between Tessa and Tristan, with a conclusion even more foregone than usual. The usual villain from the past makes an appearance, but might have been better left out in order to spend more time with the potential brides.