I was not a huge fan of The Duchess Deal. It was fun, it was readable, there was steam, but the romance was not the part I enjoyed the most. The entire story is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, right down to there being a Cogsworth-type as well as other servants all desperate to get their “Master” to fall in love so that he can be happy again. The servants’ eagerness actually leads to some really cute dialogue, some of the best in the book.
The hero is the Beast, unsurprisingly, and very tortured and self-loathing. After a while, his constant obsession with his appearance and his using it as a reason to disbelieve and avoid so many different things became annoying and unbelievable.
I did really appreciate the fact that the heroine is not another virgin bride. She had a previous experience — of course, it was a terrible one, but better than nothing? And the hero accepts that and there is no jealousy or slut-shaming.
My favorite part was actually the superhero subplot. I could easily read a whole book about the hero’s unwelcome sidekick. He is adorable and has some very funny lines.
Emma’s group of eccentric female ladyfriends were also lovely. Although the amount of animals in that one woman’s house scared me a bit.