As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.
And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.
Ugly duckling turned swan? Abducted by handsome highwayman? Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and . . . Heh.
Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?
Dare's first Castles Ever After historical provides a unique twist to a fairy tale, complete with an ancient castle, a damsel in distress, and a wounded hero. In 19th-century England, Isolde "Izzy" Goodnight is left penniless when her father, who was a writer, dies. Her one ray of hope is a letter telling her that she has inherited Gostley Castle from her godfather. The castle turns out to be a crumbling structure that already has a resident: Ransom Vane, the Duke of Rothbury. After an accident left him blind, Ransom has secluded himself in the castle, not realizing that his agents sold it to the man who bequeathed it to Izzy. Certain that the truth of the building's ownership lies in the untouched correspondence on Ransom's desk, Izzy insists on becoming his secretary. While she is drawn to his masculine beauty, Izzy really falls for Ransom when his kindness belies his rakish behavior. Dare's lyrical writing and expert, intense character development make this a romance to be savored with the eager expectation of future series installments.
The banter between Ransom and Izzie was amusing and at some points outright funny. Characters were a bit one dimensional. I only wish there was more anticipation, more of their refusal to admit feelings. The way he lost his eyesight was weak and the letter from his jilting ex fiancé was prescribed. But. This is a romance book, the plot and writing are prescribed, typical, simple, and lacking any real emotion or depth: I give it 4 stars.
The character of Izzy Goodnight is wonderful and relatable - funny, self-aware and goes for what she wants. The development of her friendship and romance with the duke is one of my favorites ever. Their banter is great. And Ms. Dare can write a sex scene! A really fun read!
There’s romance here — characters well developed, humorous quirks, twists, and woven throughout is the story of England’s favorite bedtime story. Romances can feel the same, but this tale sweeps you up, surprises and satisfies. Hoping for more like this from the talented Tessa Dare.