Tessa Dare is just a gem. I was very slightly underwhelmed by her Stud Club series, having preferred the more recent books of hers that I’ve read, but here I am back at her first novel, and I feel like it’s a perfect representation of what readers should expect from her current oeuvre. Goddess of the Hunt has several delicious — if implausible — romantic encounters, a tomboy heroine, an Unfortunate Misunderstanding, and a really entertaining side plot that sets up the next book in the most fun way. Here’s the quick plot summary from Goodreads:
“Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion-one that could send all her plans up in smoke.
Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?”
Like I said earlier, this book felt to me like quintessential, breezy, Tessa Dare. Something about the deep, finely honed angst of each of the Stud Club villains belied a quality of other Dare books I have read, something to do with an overall irreverence that really appeals to me. Goddess of the Hunt‘s hero, Jeremy, has a bit of tragedy in his past, but the book retains a light-hearted character that is just more fun to read. Furthermore, their Misunderstanding, while frustrating for a reader who is privy to how both of them actually feel, is based on honest-to-goodness miscommunication and not some abstract whinge of “Oh I’m not worthy for him/her!”, which gets more obnoxious every time I read it.
So now I’m just waiting, impatiently, for the next two books to come off of hold. As I mentioned, the end of this book sets up the next in an amusing and unexpected way, and I’m dying to see how it plays out.