I first read A Week to Be Wicked about two years ago when I started devouring every historical romance I could get my hands on. It is a wonderful romp and an entertaining read. It hits on all of Tessa Dare’s best aspects as a writer:
- Smolder. Really, really, good smolder. Lisa Kleypas level smolder.
- Funny of the laugh out loud variety. Witty, too.
- Sincere emotion successfully balanced against the aforementioned humour.
- At least one hysterical turn of phrase describing a man’s specific firmness.
- Sincerely besotted heroes falling for wallflowers.
- Likeable, emphatically capable heroines.
- A strain on your willing suspension of disbelief which will almost always be worth it. (Let us not speak of that time it wasn’t.)
Minerva Highwood and her family are living in remote Spindle Cove (coincidentally the name of this series) as her sister recovers from an illness. The ignored middle child, Minerva is bespectacled and bookish as opposed to her beautiful inside and out sister, Diana, and her precocious younger sibling, Charlotte. Sadly for Minerva, she is not quite ignored enough by her ambitious mother who never loses an opportunity to find Min inadequate in comparison with just about anyone. Minerva is a scientist at a time when such things were nigh on impossible for a woman, but the isolation of Spindle Cove affords her the opportunity to indulge her passion for geology. Minerva has found what the reader recognizes as evidence of prehistoric fauna and has been asked to present her findings to the Royal Geological Society in Edinburgh. There are only two problems a. they don’t know she’s a woman and b. getting there. Spindle Cove affords but one possible escort. One person whose magical combination of maleness and a lack of scruples will suit her purpose.
Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, is a well-intentioned, disillusioned rake. He is gorgeous, loquacious, and his best laid plans always go awry. Minerva approaches him with a promise of the money he will need to leave Spindle Cove and lounge in London until his inheritance kicks in. Being a rogue, Colin has some conditions for his company, the most interesting of which is that Minerva must sleep in his bed as he is an insomniac and prone to nightmares when he does get to sleep. A warm female body close to hand soothes him.
Feigning an elopement, Colin and Minerva head for Scotland and, as is the case with fictional road trips, whatever can go wrong, does, and the love-hate attraction they have always felt for each other chooses a side. A Regency romance with a vacillating grasp on reality, A Week to Be Wicked is tremendously entertaining and maintains a genuine sweetness despite the spiraling chain of events. I recommend this novel very highly and provide a summary of the rest of Tessa Dare’s catalogue below.
Spindle Cove Series:
A Night to Surrender – Good, not great.
Once Upon a Winter’s Eve – pleasant novella
A Week to Be Wicked – the romp in question
A Lady by Midnight – Fantastic smolder, sincere love story, some heavy plotting
Beauty and the Blacksmith – very good, but not great, and worth reading
Any Duchess Will Do – Strained credulity overruled by a heartfelt love story, highly recommended
The Stud Club Trilogy:
One Dance with a Duke – some structural issues, great characters and [fans self] smolder
Twice Tempted by a Rogue – meh, a much too literally tortured hero for my tastes
Three Nights with a Scoundrel – Dare hitting her stride, the hero is another well-intentioned rake
The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright – an absolute gem of a novella