Review: One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

One Dance with a DukeOne Dance with a Duke (Stud Club #1)
Author: Tessa Dare
Publisher: Ballantine
Age Group: Adult
Source: Amazon
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary from Amazon:

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?



3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

My Thoughts

If you’ve been following my reviews, I think it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been seriously into the historical romance lately.  I’ve especially fallen madly in love with Tessa Dare.  I’m usually someone who likes to read things in order, NO MATTER WHAT.  But, apparently, I’m all over the place with Dare’s books, because I keep jumping from series to series.  And, technically, I haven’t read any of her series out of order, but I’m not sticking to one series.  Anyway, I decided to read One Dance with a Duke, mainly, because I thought the pink cover was pretty.  The summary looked promising, and it did have Dare’s name attached, so I wasn’t really worried that I wouldn’t like it.  You guys, One Dance with a Duke was a great romance, although definitely not my favorite of Dare’s.

I love, love, love when historical romance writers create heroine that aren’t the bell of the ball.  Because, you know, I think a lot of us can relate to not being the bell of the ball.  And Dare did that with Amelia.  She’s resigned herself to being a spinster (oh my gosh I hate that word so much!).  As I mentioned, she’s often been overlooked by the men in Town, but she’s not a shy creature.  So when she realizes that she has to do something to attempt to save her brother from ruin, she takes matters into her hands.

The Duke of Morland, Spencer, attends balls right at midnight, choses one girl to dance with, and then pretty much leaves.  He’s created quite the stir, because he’s a duke, and unmarried.  And he sort of is mysterious.  But when Amelia learns that her brother owes Spencer money, she decides to make sure that Spencer dances with her, so she can ask him to forgive her brother’s debts.

As you can imagine, Spencer is quite surprised with Amelia’s forwardness, and, against his will, he starts to like Amelia.  The ball doesn’t end quite how either Spencer of Amelia planned, though.

As I mentioned above, I liked Amelia.  I like that she’s so determined to help her brother, even when he may not deserve it.  She loves him unconditionally, and she wants to do whatever she can to help him out.  However, her love for her brother causes some serious rifts between her and Spencer.  And, honestly, Amelia frustrated me a bit towards the end of the novel.  Maybe it’s because I’m thirty, and I could so understand where Spencer was coming from, but I just wanted to shake Amelia, and make her compromise with Spencer.

That said, Spencer needed to work on compromising as well.  When we first meet Spencer, he’s quite aloof, and doesn’t always say the appropriate thing.  But you guys, Spencer totally grew on me.  I mean, seriously, I totally fell for him.  Not that he’s perfect, or anything, because how boring would that be.  I loved seeing Spencer fall for Amelia, and seeing how he learned how to actually talk things through with her.

One Dance with a Duke was a fun historical romance, but it’s not one that I will reach for again.  I think this is one of Dare’s earlier novels, so perhaps that’s why it hasn’t found a place in my all-time favorites pile.  But I did still really like it, and I’m glad I read it.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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6 Responses to Review: One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

  1. You know I am an obsessive Tessa Dare fangirl, but I wasn’t really impressed with the Stud Club series either. The third one was (IMO) the best though they all felt a little flat to me. Great and honest review!

  2. Too bad this wasn’t perfect. I got into historical romance last year – Julia Quinn especially. I’m not familiar with Tessa. I’ll have to check her out even though this was a little lacking.

    • Quinn says:

      I LOVE Julia Quinn. She’s one of my favorite romance authors. If you like JQ, you will definitely like Tessa Dare. I’d recommend starting with her Spindle Cove series. The first is A Night to Surrender. It’s sooo good, and it has a lot of similarities to JQ’s books.

      Also, I love Dare’s Romancing the Duke, which is her newest book. Romancing the Duke is my favorite of hers, but I LOVED her Spindle Cove books too.

  3. I need to start checking out some historical romance – definitely intriguing to me. Have you read Soulless by chance? That’s a romance-y/paranormal/steampunk/Victorian age novel and I really loved it.

    • Quinn says:

      I love historical romance! Oh and I have Soulless at home right now. I’m borrowing it from the library. I hear it is fantastic. I’ll have to read it soon.

  4. This was the first Tessa Dare book I ever read and the first historical romance I ever really picked up, so One Dance With A Duke has a special place in my heart. But yeah, I am thinking in comparison to Spindle Cove it’s not nearly as good.

    Glad you liked it overall, even if it wasn’t enough to consider re-reading. 🙂

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