Reviewed by May
“And in the marital bed, he will wish to place his…” more hand fluttering “…into yours.”
“His ahem goes into my whatsit.”
“In so many words, yes. And then-“
“And then marital duty, just a pinch, lie back and think of England. I think I have it. Thank you, mama.”
Charlotte Highwood is somewhat of a laughingstock. You see, her mother keeps flinging her at eligible men and has made her into “The Desperate Debutant”. Now at a house party she feels obligated to warn Lord Granville (Piers) that her mother has her daggers set on him and she doesn’t want any part of it. That is, until they get caught together in what looks like a compromising position and end up engaged.
Charlotte is the sister of two former Dare heroines (Minerva and Diana) – and unfortunately hers is the weakest of the stories. Don’t get me wrong this is a classic Tessa Dare novel better than most I’ve read this year or any, but it lacks the something extra, the special magical touch that her stories often have. The banter does sparkle, and there are several memorable scenes in this story. It just never got me to a place of laughing out loud or finding my glasses fogging up with tears and emotion.
Piers has his secrets, but from the start he makes no secret that he actually finds Charlotte intriguing, beautiful, and entirely appealing. Their conversations and watching them get to know each other definitely had its charming moments, and as usual with a Dare novel their romance was really fun to watch develop.
“I can’t agree to a convenient arrangement, my lord. Your devotion to duty may be admirable, but ‘lie back and think of England’ simply isn’t for me.”
His voice became low and dark. “I cannot promise you everything you might wish, but I promise you this: When I take you to bed, you will not be thinking of England.”
I liked that Charlotte was honest. She wants a love match like her sisters, but she does not want to be forced into anything. She’d rather remain single and travel with her friend than she would be tied into a marriage of convenience or scandal.
Overall this was a fun story, and an enjoyable read. The supporting characters from the meddling mama to the eccentric hosts were well done, as they stayed solidly in the background but adding flavor and color to the story. There just wasn’t quite enough here for me to rate it the usual A grade Dare novels tend to get from me. The plot was fairly thin, and the wow factor just wasn’t here. I think ultimately the setting of the house party and so few activities and actions did not help. Or perhaps was it that the characters themselves just weren’t remarkable enough?
My super picky thoughts aside, this was a fun read and I will always love any book related to my favorite place Spindle Cove.