Series: Spindle Cove #5
Published by Avon on September 27th 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
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?
Historical Romances are like Potato Chips for me: I can never have just one. I’m insatiable when the mood strikes and Tessa Dare’s Do You Want to Start a Scandal? was no exception. I plowed through that book in one sitting and found myself laughing out loud more than once. I’ll be honest that I’ve struggled with other Spindle Cove books, but I easily slid into the charm and silliness of Do You Want to Start a Scandal?
The first chapter alone had me in stitches. Charlotte Highwood has newly arrived at a two-week house party, where her disaster of a matchmaking mother is likely to throw her in front of any man she can find. Trying to be proactive, Charlotte corners Marquise Piers Brandon to warn him away from her family’s matchmaking ways. Unfortunately, she’s not the most eloquent speaker and manages to insult him many times over. Fortunately (or unfortunately) two clandestine lovers sneak into the study where they’re speaking and send Charlotte and Piers into hiding. Unfortunately (again) the lovers escape. However, Charlotte and Piers are caught – with everyone now thinking it was the two of them in the library!
Everything about this book was truly a comedy of errors and well supported by fun and witty banter. I’d recommend the read for the first chapter alone! The book has a “who done it” mystery vibe with Charlotte trying to figure out who was in the study so she can clear her name. However, the mystery feels pretty light at best. (No – you won’t be confusing this book with a Romantic Suspense novel anytime soon). The novel is more of a comedy-zany-mystery than anything else and the reveal at the end wasn’t overly surprising. But you will have many laughs along the way!
I had mixed feelings towards Charlotte. She comes across as very lovable (if not maybe a little flighty and naive). Charlotte is honest to a fault and absolutely no filter – which I loved. She just spoke up with it ever was on her mind, creating many of the books funny moments. However, it seemed as though Charlotte wasn’t taking her situation seriously. I felt she saw the mystery as a game versus negotiating the difficult social situation she finds herself in after being “caught” in the library. (Pierre, on the other hand, was her exact opposite. Very cold and unfriendly – he just felt like this big chunk of ice that you were waiting to melt. In a good way.)
I go in spurts with Historical Romance, often reading several in a row for my “fix” and then moving onto a different genre. Do You Want to Start a Scandal? did seem somewhat formulaic, relying heavily on stock characters: The matchmaking momma, the diplomat doubling as a spy, and the adventure-seeking heroine who may be a little too naive for her own good. However, the books charming setting and witty banter are worth the read alone.