AUTHOR(S): Tessa Dare
SERIES: Spindle Cove #5/Castles Ever After #4
GENRE: Historical Romance -- Regency England
PUBLICATION DATE: September 27, 2016
SOURCE: Publisher (Avon Addicts Program)
LENGTH: 384 pages
DATE READ: September 2016
READING CHALLENGES: 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge
THEMES/TROPES: Opposites Attract, House Party, Spies, Scandal, Alpha Hero
RATING: 4 STARS
On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.
All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.
But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.
Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?MY THOUGHTS:
Do You Want to Start a Scandal bridges the gap between Tessa Dare's two recent series, Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After. It features Charlotte Highwood, younger sister of Minerva (A Week to Be Wicked) and Diana (Beauty and the Blacksmith), and Piers Brandon, brother of Rafe (Say Yes to the Marquess). Despite these connections, I feel like this book could easily be read as a stand-alone and is a good example of why Dare is such a popular historical romance writer.
I thought Charlotte was just adorable and a unique heroine. She has the disadvantage of being the youngest of three daughters and sometimes feel like she could never measure up to Minerva's intellect or Diana's beauty. But, she has great way with people and that enables her to put them at ease which isn't a quality that should be ignored. I really liked how determined Charlotte was to make her own life decisions even when it felt like she was being coerced by her mother and Society as a whole.
I wasn't sure how I would feel about Piers as a hero. He was a decent enough guy in his brother's book, but he just seemed so distant that I couldn't see him really taking the chance on love. Thankfully, Charlotte's personality won him over and he was forced to re-evaluate what he was doing with his life. I love it when a character is surprisingly blown over by someone else and how that situation changes their entire worldview. I was thankful that Piers didn't resort to moping about how he wasn't worthy of Charlotte like some heroes that have similar pasts.
I thought the premise was a little over-the-top, but so much fun! The whole mystery surrounding the lovers who were actually heard in the library was a great way to make Charlotte and Piers work together and, of course, fall even more in love. I also appreciated that, while being forced to marry someone when you were completely innocent of scandal isn't ideal, there was a lack of real danger that I found refreshing.
Tessa Dare knows how to provide readers with an interesting plot, likable characters, and plenty of swoonworthy moments. I had a great watching Charlotte and Piers figure out how much they mean to one another and then deal with those feelings. Do You Want to Start a Scandal is a must-read for any Tessa Dare fan and would also be a good bet for any readers that likes delightful historical romance.
I received an eARC of this book from Avon via Edelweiss/Avon Addicts Program in exchange for an honest review.
BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
Castles Ever After