Friday, 11 November 2016

Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Castles Ever After) by Tessa Dare

When I originally downloaded this book I had assumed it was part of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series because the heroine is Charlotte Highwood, whose sisters have their own stories in A Week to be Wicked and Beauty and the Blacksmith. Instead it turned out to be part of Castles Ever After - the hero, Piers, is the brother of the hero in Say Yes to the Marquess. However, you don't have to have read any of those other books to enjoy this story.

When Charlotte finds herself a guest at the same country house party as Piers Brandon, aka the Marquess of Granville, she feels duty-bound to warn him that her mother is likely to have designs on him as a prospective son-in-law. In fact, her mother is so keen to bag an aristocrat for her youngest daughter (particularly as the elder one has just married a blacksmith), it hasn't escaped Society's notice - and Charlotte has been nicknamed the Desperate Debutante. Of course just after Charlotte has tracked Piers down to the library, and informed him of all this (much to his bemusement), they hear voices outside the door and realise they are about to be discovered alone together. And in Regency times that would mean a very speedy trip to the altar - exactly what Charlotte was trying to avoid. So they hide behind the curtains and inadvertently end up witnessing a romantic tryst between two other guests. And then, after the embarrassment of all that, Charlotte and Piers still end up being caught together - although strangely, Piers doesn't seem all that bothered ...

*mild spoilers coming up*

I enjoy reading Tessa Dare because she creates such great characters and her stories are as funny as they are romantic. I love humour in the books I read, and I also like a bit of a mystery. Part of the plot of this story was Charlotte's attempt to track down the other couple in the library, hoping to get out of her engagement to Piers, but that kind of fizzled out. There were also what appeared to be a couple of attempts on her life but again, they weren't quite what they seemed either. As I'd spent a chunk of the book trying to work out likely suspects, I found this a little disappointing.

So, recommended if you love your historical romances to be modern, funny and sexy. Not recommended if you're hoping for something more traditional, like Jane Austen. And if you've never read Tessa Dare before, I recommend you also try When a Scot Ties the Knot, which has to be one of my all-time favourite books.

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