Thursday, May 9, 2013

NOVELLA REVIEW: "Beauty and the Blacksmith" by Tessa Dare

Beauty and the Blacksmith  (Spindle Cove, #3.5)
Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare
(Spindle Cove #3.5)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Barnes and Noble

For Ages 18+
Historical Romance
Avon Impulse -- April 30, 2013
Ebook, 100 pages
Purchased from Amazon

Across the Tracks, Fairy Tale Retelling, Unrequited Love, Beta Hero

At last, Diana gets a romance of her own! But with the last man anyone in Spindle Cove expects...

Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman. At least, that's what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana's not excited by dukes and lords. The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes. By birth and fortune, they couldn't be more wrong for each other...but during stolen, steamy moments in his forge, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?

Goodness.  Just look it.  Thick as my ankle.

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows that I adore Tessa Dare's historical romances.  There is something easy and enjoyable about her writing style especially when it comes to her Spindle Cove books.  One of the most prominent side characters in the series is Diana Highwood, a society beauty who moves to Spindle Cove with her mother and sister in order to improve her health.  Her sister, Minerva, receives her happily ever after in the second installment, A Week To Be Wicked, and now it is Diana's turn!

I really liked getting to know more about Diana in Beauty and the Blacksmith.  She was always in the background, but readers didn't get to know much about her beyond her beauty and her overbearing mother.  And there was so much more to her!  She is a kind and intelligent woman who is finally learning how to live her life to fullest after years of health issues.  It was a real joy to watch her gain confident in herself and in her abilities throughout the story.

The best thing about this novella, though, is the fact that Diana's hero is not a lord, a rich merchant, or even a military man.  Aaron Dawes is Spindle Cove's blacksmith and has lived in the town his entire life.  While I love dukes and earls just as much as the next romance fan, it was refreshing to see a "common man" take center stage.  And Dare made sure that his occupation wasn't the only thing that grabbed a reader's attention when it came to Aaron.  He was a great character who was sexy (in a rough and tumble kind of way) and confident in himself which I loved reading about.

The love story between Aaron and Diana is really sweet and fun. Their feelings for each other have already been formed so this novella concentrated on the discovery of the other's feelings and how these two learn to build a life together despite their obvious differences.  I understand that the page length limited the time Tessa Dare had to develop the relationship, but I would love to have seen a few flashbacks about their first meetings and some other scenes where they started falling in love.  Also, I found the ending to be predictable and a little unsatisfying based on the great way the story started.

But, despite a few misgivings, I really enjoyed this novella and am happy to see Diana get her own happily ever after.  I would love to have seen this storyline get a longer novel, but that is not really my call.  This book also got me excited for the next full-length Spindle Cove novel, Any Duchess Will Do, especially when I read the fabulously entertaining excerpt at the end of this book.

***3.5 STARS***

"You’re a terrible cook. That I’ll grant you. You can’t hold your liquor, either. And you have questionable taste in men. So no, you’re not perfect.” His voice sank to a husky whisper, and his gaze dropped to her mouth. “But you’re close. Close enough to restore a man’s faith in miracles."

1. A Night to Surrender
1.5. Once Upon a Winter's Eve
2. A Week to be Wicked
3. A Lady by Midnight
3.5. Beauty and the Blacksmith
4. Any Duchess Will Do



  1. I really, really need to look into the Spindle Cover books. I've never read anything by Tessa Dare, but I've heard amazing things.

    I used to love historical romances, but have drifted away over the last few years. I'm actually extremely picky about them, which might be part of the reason I haven't been reading a ton of new ones anymore.

    I even had a hard time with MacLean's Nine Rules, which is crazy, because everyone loves it. I never finished it, so I can't say I didn't like it. But I was all stressed out, which also makes no sense because it's a romance, and we all know there's going to be a HEA.

    1. I think you would like Tessa Dare. She reminds me a lot of Julia Quinn and Eloisa James though not as lighthearted. Dare gets into pretty deep stuff sometimes. I don't think it's too crazy that you didn't like Nine Rules. I liked it, but thought Eleven Scandals (Book 3) was much better. Thanks for commenting!


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