Reviewed by May
I’m a woman who knows a great deal about rocks. I suggest you find the stones to deal with it.
Minerva studies rocks. That is, she has a deep academic interest in geology and spends all of her time reading, researching, even having papers published under her own name. Ok, so she uses M. Highwood and the Royal Geological Society has no idea she’s not a man. But she’s done it this time. She has made an incredible discovery in Spindle Cove and she wants to travel to the geology symposium in Edinburgh to present her findings.
The story opens as she’s trying to convince Colin Sandhurst (Lord Payne) to pretend to elope with her so that she can attend. A man who she detests and whom has a different woman in his bed nearly every night, but the perfect man to help her pull this off.
“My name is Minerva. I’m not your pet. And you’re deranged if you think I’d ever marry you.”
“But I thought you just said –“
“Run away with you, yes. Marry you?” she made an incredulous noise in her throat. “Please.”
Colin has secrets and his life of debauchery isn’t quite what it seems – that is he feels he can justify it. With his estate and funds being tied up until his next birthday, he has little choice but to stay in Spindle Cove for now. When he hurts Minerva’s feelings and then discovers that with or without him she is determined to travel to Scotland and present her findings he decides to go with her.
“Live in the moment, M. This is your chance to crawl out of that shell. There’s an interesting, confident girl in there somewhere. She comes out for a peek every now and then. Try being her, for just a few days.”
This is the second novel in Tessa Dare’s spindle cove series, and it is another wonderful book as well. While we met these characters in the first book, this could easily stand-alone which is how I prefer my historical romance series books. You get glimpses of characters from other books but they play no major role.
Colin and Minerva make a perfect match, with Colin being a lot more intelligent than he first seems, and Minerva having a fun side to her that Colin discovers. As the two travel to Scotland they find how much they desire and care for one another, and have some truly hilarious adventures as well as tender moments.
It occurred to her, as she made that mad dash down the lane – clutching a blazing hot pistol in one hand and a fistful of money in the other – that this surely must mark some turning point in her life. Really, there was no going back from this.
Minerva truly is a wonderful heroine, and exactly the kind of strong female character I enjoy the most. She has a perfect yet frail sister, a dragon of a mother, and yet she has the strength to pursue her interests and to educate herself in things that aren’t considered proper for a lady. She isn’t perfect, she has insecurities and she doesn’t believe that Colin is truly interested in her for a long time.
What a hopeless coward she was. She could pound on his door at midnight and demand to be respected as an individual. She could travel across the country in hopes if being appreciated for her scholarly achievements. But she still lacked the courage to ask for the one thing she wanted most.
To be loved, just for herself.
The wonderful thing is, this story keeps focused on the couple as they uncover the other’s true self and fall in love. There is such a full spectrum of emotion and I was kept guessing what would happen to them next, though it was clear they were writing the beginning of their happily ever after. I loved this line from Colin as he is explaining to Minerva how she’s affected him:
Some wild monsoon raged through me as I looked at you just now. It’s left me rearranged inside, and I don’t have a map.
Colin has a way with words alright, and while I never felt sorry for him with his “I can’t sleep alone, I have to have someone else in my bed” problem, I did find him to be an entertaining character and great match for Minerva.
“We’re circus folk” ….
“I walk the tightrope, and my lady here…” he stretched his arm around Minerva, drawing her close. “She’s a first-rate sword swallower.”
Oh my god.
Oh yes, Minerva never knows what he’ll say next or how he will embarrass her or put her in a position to expand upon his wild tales along the road. Of course, his joking and wild tales help her to relax and eventually enjoy taking her wildly creative and intelligent mind and being a perfect match for him. I love when they start talk in mathematical terms.
In her most tarty, breathy voice, she whispered, “Parabola.”
After a pause, his fingers squeezed hers. “Tessellation.”
“Why stop there? Trinomial.”
“Now that’s just wicked.”
“That’s nothing. I’ve been saving this one.” he leaned close to whisper in her ear. “Annulus.”
The set up for the third book felt a bit heavy handed, it was obvious in the first book who the couple would be and I didn’t feel like the interactions between that book’s heroine and hero added anything to this story. I also felt like the story lost a bit of steam as it went along, and I never got emotionally invested in this couple, as much as I enjoyed the story.
That said it was a wonderful book and I had more than seventy quotes highlighted as favorites – that Tessa Dare writes such wonderful dialogue and scenes, so many memorable lines, it’s truly a gift and one I am glad that she shares through her stories.