Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #34: A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, desperately wants to be anywhere but Spindle Cove, overseeing the militia after his cousin, the Earl of Rycliff, got married. One rainy night a surprising opportunity presents itself in the form of bookish spinster Miss Minerva Highwood, knocking on his door with an unusual proposition. Minerva needs to get to Edinburgh to attend a geologists’ symposium, and she’s willing to pay Colin to pretend that they’ve eloped together. Colin tries to dissuade her by naming a number of conditions to secure his agreement (such as Minerva having to share his bed every night), but Minerva is determined to go, with or without him.

Having paid her membership dues and corresponded with a number of members of the Geological Society (none of the other members know she’s female, of course), Minerva wants to go to the symposium to present a large fossilised footprint she’s found in a cave in Spindle Cove. She’s sure that with her findings, she can win the 500 guinea prize, and she’s willing to give Colin the entire sum, if he will just escort her to Edinburgh. She has two ulterior motives to asking Colin – she wants him away from Spindle Cove to prevent him from proposing to her sister, and she (although she’s loathe to admit this, even to herself) has been infatuated with him for months (even though he doesn’t even seem able to remember her name).

Colin’s parents were killed in a horrible carriage accident when he was a boy, and he was trapped in the carriage with their dead bodies for hours, and nearly savaged by wild dogs as well. He’s still plagued with nightmares, only kept at bay with huge amounts of alcohol, or if he shares his bed with someone. Hence Colin has quite the reputation as a dissolute rake, and will not have access to his inheritance until he turns 25, or marries. Since Mrs. Highwood (Minerva’s mother) would love to have a viscount as a son-in-law, she’s been throwing her eldest daughter Diana at him at every available opportunity. No one thinks the intellectual, bespectacled Minerva will ever make a suitable match. Normally Minerva is completely tongue-tied around Colin, yet when she presents her findings and explains her plan to him, he’s stunned by her passionate interest – and rather than let her go off alone, being exposed to God knows what dangers, he reluctantly accompanies her.

The journey from the south coast of England to Edinburgh is long, and the couple are beset by a number of difficulties. Over the course of the week they pretend to be missionaries, siblings, long-lost royalty, Colin gets kidnapped by highwaymen, Minerva has to pretend to be Colin’s mistress (and possibly an assassin spy). Over the course of their adventures, they share a lot of confidences, and naturally grow more and more attracted to each other. Colin is determined that Minerva reach Edinburgh with her virtue intact, but that proves more and more difficult as the journey progresses.

While I liked A Night to Surrender a lot, I absolutely adored A Week to Be Wicked. Of course the dedication page didn’t hurt: “For all the girls who walk and read at the same time.“. I would absolutely be one of those. Minerva is a heroine who can’t help but strike a chord with geeky, nerdy romance readers. Overlooked because she’s interested in intellectual pursuits, wears glasses and is less conventionally pretty, the reader cheers her on when she finally stands up for herself. That she’s fiercely loyal to her loved ones, and while generally insecure and gawky, yet supremely confident in her findings as a geologist doesn’t make her any less awesome.

Colin is absolutely a dissolute rake, but as the reader discovers, there are reasons he drinks and gambles and prefers to share his bed with a woman every single night. As he confesses to Minerva, most of the time he’d prefer to just sleep, but with his reputation, he feels certain things are expected of him. He has a strict moral code, and tends to stick with unhappily married women or widows. He’s determined not to seduce Minerva, but is hard pressed to resist her when she pretty much throws herself at him, wanting to explore the sensual arts with scientific curiosity.

Minerva and Colin are great as individuals, and an absolute hoot as a couple. Their “road trip” to Edinburgh is full of amazing banter, laugh out loud moments, some very sizzling chemistry and a lot of genuinely touching moments. The only bits that I felt dragged a little bit were the ones where Dare took us back to Spindle Cove to show the reactions of Minerva’s family and friends to her “elopement” and the scenes obviously meant to set up the couple for the third book in the series. While I appreciate that they needed to be included, I wanted as little time as possible away from one of the cutest couples I’ve come across in romance in a long time.

Originally posted on my blog:


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7 thoughts on “Malin’s #CBR4 Review #34: A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

  1. a. You are a reading machine. Wow.
    b. I think you might need to punch your auto correct. The heroine’s name is Miranda/Minerva in the review.

    • Thank you for the correction. That’s what I get for blogging at 3am. With regards to the reading, it is VERY light reading, and I’m currently on Easter holiday, so I read more. Although it would please me beyond words if I managed to “win” CBR4. I’ve come second two years in a row now, I feel this should be my year. 🙂

  2. Prolixity Julien on said:

    I am insane. On your recommendation, I briefly tried some Tessa Dare before and was put off by a scene which struck me as too much for my delicate floweritude. I decided to give her another try this weekend with Twice Tempted by a Rogue, One Night to Surrender and A Week to Be Wicked. I was so completely wrong. Her tone was the opposite of what I had imagined. She is delightful and getting better with each book. I am now eagerly anticipating the next Spindle Cove novel (due out in a month conveniently enough) , and will be reading the two Stud Club books I haven’t gotten to yet. Next up is another shot at Meredith Duran, who I think you also recommended. At this rate, I’ll be knee deep in Sherry Thomas soon too. Have you read any Jennifer Ashley?

    • Yes, but I didn’t find her books to my taste. They are raved about all over the internet, though, so you may want to give one a try to make up your own mind.

      • I tried The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie based on its inclusion on the top 100 romances of all time. I was baffled and spent the first 100 pages asking if he had Aspergers. It was like every messed up teenaged girls idea of a true and romantic love when the guy is inarticulate, nuts, and violent but would never ever turn it on them because he just loves them SO MUCH!

        I didn’t have luck with the Meredith Duran (A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal) it was well-written but too serious.

      • To be fair, the “twist” IS that Ian Mackenzie has Aspergers. I admire the author for trying somehting different, but didn’t enjoy the book.

        Duran is angsty, but I like her books. With the exception of her most recent one, which I almost hated. You’ll want to avoid that one.

      • Well, don’t I feel clever for figuring that out. I find it interesting just how tortured the “tortured hero” trope has become.

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