Tessa Dare’s historical romance books are like peanut M&Ms. They’re one of my favorite candies—I find the crunchy sweetness so satisfying! And while I know better than to make a steady diet of them, I love to indulge in a guilty-sweet binge once in a while.
Dare’s village of Spindle Cove is a charming premise: a safe haven for intelligent, independent-minded, self-respecting single ladies in early 1800s England. This makes it easy for me to relate to and fall in love with the band of quirky heroines Dare has created. I loved that this oddball community never devolves into competition or backbiting. These gals form a kind and supportive sisterhood that I would love to be a part of.
Each installment of the series focuses on one of the ladies and proceeds to pair her up with a perfectly complimentary hero, even if one or more of them doesn’t quite realize how complimentary they are. All of the men are decent (even heroic) yet broken in some fundamental way, and all of their heroines go the distance to heal them by the end of the story. Yeah, it’s predictable, but the romantic tension is great and Dare doesn’t shy away from steamy premarital sex, so I never mind the ride. <grin>
Even though it’s the third book in the series, I recommend reading A Week To Be Wicked first. That’s what I did, and I’m glad for it. Wicked’s heroine, Minerva Highwood, is an absolute delight in her own story but comes off as an annoying, meddling twit in some of the others. Fall in love with her first, and you’ll enjoy her HEA more.
The series starts with A Night to Surrender. That and A Lady By Midnight are enjoyable enough, but nothing truly stellar. A Week To Be Wicked and Any Duchess Will Do are phenomenal, and I can see myself reading them more than once. There are two companion novellas to the series, as well. Once Upon A Winter’s Eve is surprisingly delightful. Beauty And The Blacksmith, however, was something of a clunker. Unless you’re a die-hard fan, you won’t miss much if you skip it.
I know it’s almost the end of summer, but if you find yourself in need of some poolside light reading with spunky ladies in pretty dresses, check out Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series!