I finally found a romance novel that I really enjoyed. Part of that may be because I am exhausted and stressed and therefore primed for fluffy fare but nonetheless I would happily read this one again. A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare isn’t so much a historical romance as an alternate universe romance because I needed a major suspension of disbelief for a significant chunk of the storyline. But that actually made it a little more fun for me – I relish fantasy and science fiction, after all. And my naturalist heart just adored Minerva and her fossils and rock specimens. I spent far too much of my childhood collecting my own outdoor treasures not to have a soft spot for heroines who do the same. I also liked Colin much more than Bram from the first novel. While I am willing to admit that he and Susanna made a good match, I personally found Bram a bit overbearing. I was therefore predisposed to like Minerva for having beaned him with her rock-filled reticule.
Anyway, the story is set in Dare’s Spindle Cove where young ladies have more freedom to be who they really are and where Miss Minerva Highwood has access to marvelous fossils including one that should set the scientific community atwitter once she presents her findings at the Royal Geological Society of Scotland. One hitch: they don’t know she is a woman, as she has joined and signed all of her papers and correspondence as M. R. Highwood. Another issue: she believes her beloved elder sister to be pursued by local rake Lord Payne, as he is need of a wife to free up his inheritance. Minerva therefore proposes that Lord Payne run away with her so that she can present her findings and keep him away from her sister, and in return she will grant him the prize money that she is certain her presentation will fetch. She is unconcerned with her reputation being ruined since she is awkward, bookish, and plain and thus unlikely to make a good marriage. What are the odds that Lord Payne will find within her a wild beauty others overlook? Oh, and while Lord Payne insists that he has standards that involve not ruining innocent young women, a tragic incident in his past leaves him unable to sleep alone and therefore Minerva must share his bed while they travel. Hmm, I wonder where this will lead?
So yeah, it is a goofy book but very sweet and fun. I’ve read three of the Spindle Cove stories so far and this is definitely my favorite. (I did take the time to write it up for the Cannonball, after all – why is it so much harder to write the reviews than it is to read the books? Sigh.)
One last note. I can’t stand most romance novel covers and this one is as awful as I’d expect. I generally just grab cover pictures from Amazon for my reviews since I read books on Kindle and don’t have physical copies to take photos of my own with. But for this one I desperately wished I could set my Kindle up against a lovely chunk of limestone studded with brachiopods that I have from a quarry up near Chicago. Sadly, it has already been packed in anticipation of our move. (The moving company will curse my name if they realize how many of the boxes they will be hauling are filled with rocks). However, to offset the awfulness of that cover, please accept this photo of Zonia Baber, 19th century geologist, Scientific American’s first Pioneering Woman of Geology, and general badass.
Cross-posted to my blog.