Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Castles Ever After) Hardcover – Import, 27 September 2016
“Artful diversions, a clever heroine, and intense passion are all brought together by Dare’s smart writing and spot-on matchmaking….The irresistibly provocative, classy love scenes set the bar high for other historical romance novels.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Do You Want to Start a Scandal is good. It’s so, so good. [...] It worked perfectly for me. [...] This book is funny, it’s charming, and the romance works so beautifully.” -- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (A Grade)
“An irrepressible, independent-minded heroine and a responsible hero who’s leading two lives fall for each other in a rollicking and passionate romp that is just what Spindle Cove fans will relish.” -- Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kittens.
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- Publisher : Avon (27 September 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062465856
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062465856
- Item Weight : 420 g
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 2.36 x 22.86 cm
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from India
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Piers Brandon had hoped to keep a low profile at the house party. A well-traveled diplomat (read: spy, obviously), he did not expect to be distracted from his mission by an outspoken chit. Having spent his life controlling his surroundings to forget his family’s troubled past, the last thing he wanted was any emotional entanglement. And that is exactly what Miss Highwood will be. However, Piers cannot seem to stop himself from continually seeking out Charlotte or putting them in situations that could further ruin her reputation. The easiest thing to do would be to find out who started the whole fiasco and make them fess up. But Piers isn’t so sure he can walk away from the golden-haired beauty or imagine a life without her laughter and charming ways.
Since the hero’s a spy, the story has the requisite lock-picking, dangling from windows, mysterious fires being set, poison, and even more mystery solving. Actually, most of that is done by Charlotte, not Piers, which drives him up a wall. Piers may be the worldly one, but Charlotte has so much more emotional maturity. She knows what she wants for her future. She doesn’t want to settle; not for a loveless marriage, even if it is with a man above her station. And as she grows to care for Piers, she wants more for him as well.
Their romance is so lovely and sensual. I loved every single thing about it. It builds slowly and believably while they are embroiled in the search for the couple actually in the library having sex. The more time they spend together the more they want each other. The more they want each other, the deeper they fall in love. Piers is sigh-worthy, Charlotte is so fierce and kind and loving. Together they are sure to have fans of this genre squealing in excitement and swooning from the love overload.
For all the fun and froth, though, there are some very well-realised moments of deeper emotion in the story. I particularly enjoyed the scene when Charlotte comes to a fuller appreciation of what her mother’s life has been, which is poignant and nicely understated.
Although the book fits into two different series, it’s not absolutely necessary to have read either of those in order to enjoy it as it works perfectly well as a standalone. Charming, sexy, and often laugh-out-loud funny – seriously, I’ll never think of perfume or look at an aubergine in quite the same way again! – Do You Want to Start a Scandal? is just the ticket if you’re looking for a well-written, feel-good read.
There were a few laughs but nothing out of the ordinary in the story line. The attraction between the protagonists keeps growing and they end up doing it several times in several places. The mystery lovers are revealed towards the end. And everything is wrapped up.
There is nothing new here that a romance addict like me hasn't read. I found the hero a little cheesy and not exactly spy material. The way he has no control over his desires (eye roll) and is all over the heroine. It feels unnatural for the character.
He hardly behaves in a distinguished manner that I would expect from a spy of 10 years service. He should be more cautious and circumspect about his doings (of head and heart both). The heroine is good. Bright and witty and pretty, like she should be.
Overall it can be skipped for this amount.
Top reviews from other countries
I love the crossover of characters from the two series. The heroine, Charlotte, is the youngest of the Highwood sisters who feature in the Spindle Cove series and the hero, Piers Brandon, Marquess of Granville, appears in the second book of the Castles Ever After series.
Clever, witty, vivacious, good-natured and forthright, Charlotte is like a breath of fresh air. Despite her mother’s ill-conceived attempts to “throw” her into the paths of eligible, titled gentleman (sometimes literally), Charlotte values her independence and has no immediate plans to marry, intending to travel with her friend before settling down. Even then, she will only marry for love.
Attending a house party being held by Sir Vernon and Lady Parkhurst, her best friend, Delia’s parents, she is aware that her mother has set her sights on Piers Brandon, Earl of Granville, as a prospective husband for her daughter. Desperate to warn him of her mother’s machinations and her own unsuitability as a prospective bride (the Prattler has dubbed her “The Desperate Debutante.”), she follows him into the library.
“Don’t be alarmed,” she said, closing the door behind her. “I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me.” His low, rich voice glided over her like fine-grain leather. “From . . . ?”
“Oh, all kinds of things. Inconvenience and mortification, chiefly. But broken bones aren’t outside the realm of possibility.”
What follows must rank as one of the most delightful and funny first meetings between a hero and heroine. Charlotte’s talk of May-December matches had me chuckling.
However, the best laid plans have a habit of going wrong and disaster strikes when they are discovered in what appears to be a compromising situation. Forced into an “understanding” with Piers, Charlotte is determined to discover the identity of the mystery couple they heard “tupping” from their hiding place in the library. That will release her from a marriage to someone who obviously doesn’t love her.
At first, Charlotte sees Piers as cold and restrained and talking to him “was rather like conversing with an ice sculpture” but his unexpected wicked charm, subtle humour and passionate kiss belie that icy exterior. He believes there is too much darkness and deception in his past and, if Charlotte knew the truth, she wouldn’t want anything to do with him. He sees himself as ruthless, deceitful, cold-blooded and heartless. I love how Charlotte refuses to give up on him, sees someone worthy of her love, and slowly breaks down the walls around his heart.
“ I know what’s inside you, behind all those walls. I’ll keep chipping away until I get at it. Even if it takes years. Decades. I know you’ll be worth the effort.” She rested against his chest, burying her face into the crook of his neck. “I’m never giving up on you.”
I also enjoyed seeing Piers losing all his vaunted control around Charlotte.
Good God. What was happening to him? He was falling apart.
In addition to a romantic, tender, poignant and deliciously sexy love story, Ms Dare’s books always contain wonderful humour. There are two scenes that I thought were hilarious. The first is where Charlotte’s mother is trying to explain to her what to expect on her wedding night using edible aids! The other is the scene where Charlotte is in the perfume shop and here’s a snippet.
“I thought you might. All the young ladies do. It’s fresh and grassy, isn’t it? Lemon verbena and gardenia blossoms. But the secret is in the fixative. A touch of castoreum is what makes the summery scents take hold, rather than fade.”
“Castoreum. That’s not from whales, is it?”
“Not at all.” He chuckled. Charlotte laughed, too. “Oh, good. What a relief.”
“It’s from beavers.”
Colin, Minerva and Diana (Spindle Cove) make a welcome appearance as does Piers’ brother, Rafe (Castles Ever After).
The mystery surrounding the identity of the lovers in the library kept me guessing and I thought the revelation was a nice twist.
If you are lover of Epilogues, like me, Ms Dare doesn’t disappoint.
MY VERDICT: If you’re looking for a story that is romantic, sexy, funny and full of wonderful characters that steal your heart, then I can most definitely recommend this book.
Our heroine is pressured by her mother - who does all kinds of crazy things - to get married, thus earning a pretty bad rep for it. So when she knows her mother will do her damnedest to get the hero to marry her, she goes in search of him, to warn him. However, things don't go as the heroine plans, because a tryst has them hiding and listening as two strangers, ahem, tup. What follows is a huge misunderstanding and the thing the heroine didn't wish to happen does happen.
And so, she starts an investigation to find out who the tuppers were, in order to get them to confess, so the hero would be off the hook. But none of them anticipate the chemistry between them and to fall in love with one another.
If you're looking for something funny but heartfelt - and hot - then give this one a try. 4 stars.
Charlotte’s mother – boy oh boy, she is certainly an experience. A matchmaking mama with no bounds, so much so that people have started to refer to Charlotte as the Desperate Debutante. The scene in which she tries to prepare Charlotte for her wedding night – it still makes me smile when I think about it, and her usage of vegetables made the scene all that more vivid and amusing.
Piers does do something that if he was real and lived today he would need to be locked up, but honestly I was having such fun with the read I paid little attention to the badness of his behaviour in that scene.
I devoured this read, and found it hard to put down, definitely going in my re-read pile and it’s going down as one of my favourite Tessa Dare books. That is not to say there aren’t issues, for example the mystery is a tad silly, but the manner in which Piers and Charlotte are depicted, as well as the chemistry between them and the humour dusted through many scenes meant that I honestly didn’t care, I was too busy enjoying myself.
Ms Dare is right up my street, with a wonderful sense of humour. Let’s hope we get many more of her books.
As an extra, I was hoping we would get a story about the lovely Phoebe from the second book, and now from this one, Ridley has piqued my interest - dare I hope?
When Charlotte finds herself a guest at the same country house party as Piers Brandon, aka the Marquess of Granville, she feels duty-bound to warn him that her mother is likely to have designs on him as a prospective son-in-law. In fact, her mother is so keen to bag an aristocrat for her youngest daughter (particularly as the elder one has just married a blacksmith), it hasn't escaped Society's notice - and Charlotte has been nicknamed the Desperate Debutante. Of course just after Charlotte has tracked Piers down to the library, and informed him of all this (much to his bemusement), they hear voices outside the door and realise they are about to be discovered alone together. And in Regency times that would mean a very speedy trip to the altar - exactly what Charlotte was trying to avoid. So they hide behind the curtains and inadvertently end up witnessing a romantic tryst between two other guests. And then, after the embarrassment of all that, Charlotte and Piers still end up being caught together - although strangely, Piers doesn't seem all that bothered ...
*mild spoilers coming up*
I enjoy reading Tessa Dare because she creates such great characters and her stories are as funny as they are romantic. I love humour in the books I read, and I also like a bit of a mystery. Part of the plot of this story was Charlotte's attempt to track down the other couple in the library, hoping to get out of her engagement to Piers, but that kind of fizzled out. There were also what appeared to be a couple of attempts on her life but again, they weren't quite what they seemed either. As I'd spent a chunk of the book trying to work out likely suspects, I found this a little disappointing.
So, recommended if you love your historical romances to be modern, funny and sexy. Not recommended if you're hoping for something more traditional, like Jane Austen. And if you've never read Tessa Dare before, I recommend you also try When a Scot Ties the Knot , which has to be one of my all-time favourite books.