Saturday, January 6, 2018

Quick Thoughts: Do You Want to Start a Scandal

Do You Want to Start a Scandal

by Tessa Dare
Book 5 of Spindle Cove
*Book 4 of Castles Ever After

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.
• Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
• Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
• Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her.  But rumors to the contrary are buzzing.  Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace.  When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own.  The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit... and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss.  The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense.  The danger is real.  Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn.  Will she risk all to prove her innocence?  Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Do You Want to Start a Scandal was a cute little historical romance with a mystery in the background occupying our main couples' time... or rather, occupying our main heroine, Charlotte's time.  I wish there were more to say about this book, but to be honest, Charlotte and Piers were both very standard hero and heroine for a romance--Charlotte being a bubbly, feisty, always optimistic young girl with ambitions and dreams; Piers being the aloof, tragic hero with his own scars and commitment issues.

It's nice to have a cutesy mystery as part of this romance's plot--who had the scandalous tryst in the library and let Charlotte take the fall for it?  But I also found some of the characters a little irritating, in that Charlotte's reputation just keeps getting smeared, over and over again, and no one cares that they may, or may not, be indirectly responsible for it.

Charlotte's mother, Mrs. Highwood, had been aggravating throughout the series, but she had also been in the background as just a comedic relief character.  Unfortunately, her antics were brought up a notch in this particular novel, and her actions maybe a bit over-extreme; which was what had caused Charlotte's reputation to be smeared in the first place.  Though, it probably also doesn't help that society likes to take one incident and multiply it's significance by a hundred when spreading rumor and gossip.

I don't particularly feel anything for the crossover series connection between Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After, though I suppose if we had been given more insight into Lord Brandon, I might have cared more about him finding his Happily Ever After.  Instead, I just kind of shrugged and probably wouldn't have known about his recent history if not for knowing that this book interconnects with Say Yes to the Marquess.  It's not like the man stood out much aside from being the fiance who disappeared for eight years.

Charlotte, on the other hand, was probably the life of this book, and has a much more excellent presence in the rest of the Spindle Cove series.

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