“Charlotte decided to change the subject. “You wouldn’t believe what goes in these things.” She offered her perfumed wrists. “Here, tell me which scent you prefer. Lilies and whale vomit, or lemon balm and beaver’s arse.”
I adore Tessa Dare. From the minute that my friend Huma recommended that I check out one of her books, I’ve been obsessed. I’ve selected her books to be purchased by my library, I’ve pushed copies of her addictive Spindle Cove series toward all of my friends- she’s a delight. And this book, which is a charming crossover between her Spindle Cove and hilarious Castle Ever After series, is just another tally for the killer Tessa Dare book column.
Only Tessa Dare could feature emoji references in a historical that will make you laugh out loud and find completely charming. Trust me when I tell you that you will never look at an eggplant or a peach in the same way again. And she does such an amazing job with her female characters, giving them depth and varied interests that always feel authentic. Charlotte is no exception to this, a minor character in some of Dare’s earlier works, that here finally gets to have an adventure worthy of her smarts. When she meets Piers Brandon, Lord Granville, in an attempt to warn him of her meddling mother’s attentions, you can’t help but adore her. She’s funny, she’s incredibly smart, she’s warm and caring, and I adore how she can be exasperated with her mother and yet still treasure her so deeply. It’s like the best version of Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
And Piers! Oh, funny, handsome, secretly a spy yet utterly befuddled by Charlotte, Piers. Their journey is one of two equals meeting of minds, of silly plots and mystery, and through it all I was just so damn charmed. That’s what Tessa Dare’s books do to me- they leave me giggling and grinning, and without coherent words to explain how I love her books. I just do you guys. Tessa Dare is probably my favorite romance novelist out there, and I have never read a book of hers that I did not at least enjoy, if not adore. If you want to take a jaunt down to Spindle Cove or explore those Castles Ever After, I highly recommend it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I might just re-read some of my favorite chapters.