Tag: Spindle Cove Series

Sunday Spotlight: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

Posted September 11, 2016 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 18 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I love Tessa Dare’s books and I adore her Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After series. I absolutely adore Charlotte Highwood so when I found out that this new book was Charlotte’s book and that it blends both the Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After series, I was over the moon! I’m so in for this one.

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Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #5, Castles Ever After #4
Releases on September 27, 2016 by Avon

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

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?

During a ball, Charlotte Highwood has discreetly followed Piers Brandon, Marquess of Granville into a room while everyone else dances the quadrille…and then shenanigans.

Excerpt

“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.”

He pushed a desk drawer closed. “Have we been introduced?”

“No, my lord.” She belatedly remembered to curtsy. “That is, I know who you are. Everyone knows who you are. You’re Piers Brandon, the Marquess of Granville.”

“When last I checked, yes.”

“And I’m Charlotte Highwood, of the Highwoods you’ve no reason to know. Unless you read the Prattler, which you probably don’t.”

Lord, I hope you don’t.

“One of my sisters is the Viscountess Payne,” she went on. “You might have heard of her; she’s fond of rocks. My mother is impossible.”

After a pause, he inclined his head. “Charmed.”

She almost laughed. No reply could have sounded less sincere. “Charmed,” indeed. No doubt “appalled” would have been the more truthful answer, but he was too well-bred to say it.

In another example of refined manners, he gestured toward the settee, inviting her to sit.

“Thank you, no. I must return to the ball before my absence is noted, and I don’t dare wrinkle.” She smoothed her palms over the skirts of her blush-pink gown. “I don’t wish to impose. There’s only one thing I came to say.” She swallowed hard. “I’m not the least bit interested in marrying you.”

His cool, unhurried gaze swept her from head to toe. “You seem to be expecting me to convey a sense of relief.”

“Well . . . yes. As would any gentleman in your place. You see, my mother is infamous for her attempts to throw me into the paths of titled gentlemen. It’s rather a topic of public ridicule. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase ‘The Desperate Debutante’?”

Oh, how she hated even pronouncing those words. They’d followed her all season like a bitter, choking cloud.

During their first week in London last spring, she and Mama had been strolling through Hyde Park, enjoying the fine afternoon. Then her mother had spied the Earl of Astin riding down Rotten Row. Eager to make certain the eligible gentleman noticed her daughter, Mrs. Highwood had thrust her into his path—sending an unsuspecting Charlotte sprawling into the dirt, making the earl’s gelding rear, and causing no fewer than three carriages to collide.

The next issue of the Prattler had featured a cartoon depicting a young woman with a remarkable resemblance to Charlotte, spilling her bosoms and baring her legs as she dove into traffic. It was labeled “London’s Springtime Plague: The Desperate Debutante.”

And that was that. She’d been declared a scandal.

Worse than a scandal: a public health hazard. For the rest of the season, no gentlemen dared come near her.

“Ah,” he said, seeming to piece it together. “So you’re the reason Astin’s been walking with a limp.”

“It was an accident.” She cringed. “But much as it pains me to admit it, there’s every likelihood my mother will push me at you. I wanted to tell you, don’t worry. No one’s expecting her machinations to work. Least of all me. I mean, it would be absurd. You’re a marquess. A wealthy, important, handsome one.”

Handsome, Charlotte? Really?

Why, why, why had she said that aloud?

“And I’m not setting my sights any higher than a black-sheep third son,” she rushed on. “Not to mention, there’s the age difference. I don’t suppose you’re seeking a May-December match.”
Lord Granville’s eyes narrowed.

“Not that you’re old,” she hastened to add. “And not that I’m unthinkably young. It wouldn’t be a May-December match. More like . . . June-October. No, not even October. June-late September at the very outside. Not a day past Michaelmas.” She briefly buried her face in her hands. “I’m making a hash of this, aren’t I?”

“Rather.”

Charlotte walked to the settee and sank onto it. She supposed she would be seated after all.
He came out from behind the desk and sat on the corner, keeping one boot planted firmly on the floor.
Have out with it, she told herself.

“I’m a close friend of Delia Parkhurst. You’re an acquaintance of Sir Vernon’s. We’re both here in this house as guests for the next fortnight. My mother will do everything she can to encourage a connection. That means you and I must plan to avoid each other.” She smiled, attempting levity. “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a titled man in possession of a fortune should steer far clear of me.”

He didn’t laugh. Or even smile.

“That last bit . . . It was a joke, my lord. There’s a line from a novel—”

“Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I’ve read it.”

Of course. Of course he had. He’d served for years in diplomatic appointments overseas. After Napoleon’s surrender, he helped negotiate the Treaty of Vienna. He was worldly and educated and probably spoke a dozen languages.

Charlotte didn’t have many accomplishments, as society counted them—but she did have her good qualities. She was a good-natured, forthright person, and she could laugh at herself. In conversation, she generally put other people at ease.

Those talents, modest as they were, all failed her now. Between his poise and that piercing blue stare, talking to the Marquess of Granville was rather like conversing with an ice sculpture. She couldn’t seem to warm him up.

There must be a flesh-and-blood man in there somewhere.

She stole a sidelong look at him, trying to imagine him in a moment of repose. Lounging in that tufted leather chair with his boots propped atop the desk. His coat and waistcoat discarded; sleeves uncuffed and rolled to his elbows. Reading a newspaper, perhaps, while he took the occasional sip from a tumbler of brandy. A light growth of whiskers on that chiseled jaw, and his thick, dark hair ruffled from—
“Miss Highwood.”

She startled. “Yes?”

He leaned toward her, lowering his voice. “In my experience, quadrilles—while they may feel interminable—do, eventually, come to an end. You had better return to the ballroom. For that matter, so had I.”

“Yes, you’re right. I’ll go first. If you will, wait ten minutes or so before you follow. That will give me time to make some excuse for leaving the ball entirely. A headache, perhaps. Oh, but then we have a whole fortnight ahead. Breakfasts are easy. The gentlemen always eat early, and I never rise before ten. During the day, you’ll have your sport with Sir Vernon, and we ladies will no doubt have letters to write or gardens to pace. That will see us through the days well enough. Tomorrow’s dinner, however . . . I’m afraid that will have to be your turn.”

“My turn?”

“To feign indisposition. Or make other plans. I can’t be claiming a headache every evening of my stay, can I?”

He extended his hand and she took it. As he drew her to her feet, he kept her close.

“Are you quite sure you’ve no marital designs on me? Because you seem to be arranging my schedule already. Rather like a wife.”

She laughed nervously. “Nothing of the sort, believe me. No matter what my mother implies, I don’t share her hopes. We’d be a terrible match. I’m far too young for you.”

“So you’ve made clear.”

“You’re the model of propriety.”

“And you’re . . . here. Alone.”

“Exactly. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and yours is clearly—”

“Kept in the usual place.”

Charlotte was going to guess, buried somewhere in the Arctic Circle. “The point is, my lord, we have nothing in common. We’d be little more than two strangers inhabiting one house.”

“I’m a marquess. I have five houses.”

“But you know what I mean,” she said. “It would be disaster, through and through.”

“An existence marked by tedium and punctuated by misery.”

“Undoubtedly.”

“We’d be forced to base our entire relationship on sexual congress.”

“Er . . . what?”

“I’m speaking of bedsport, Miss Highwood. That much, at least, would be tolerable.”

Heat bloomed from her chest to her hairline. “I . . . You . . .”

As she desperately tried to unknot her tongue, the subtle hint of a smile played about his lips.
Could it be? A crack in the ice?

Relief overwhelmed her. “I think you are teasing me, my lord.”

He shrugged in admission. “You started it.”

“I did not.”

“You called me old and uninteresting.”

She bit back a smile. “You know I didn’t mean it that way.”

Oh, dear. This wouldn’t do. If she knew he could tease, and be teased in return, she would find him much too appealing.

“Miss Highwood, I am not a man to be forced into anything, least of all matrimony. In my years as a diplomat, I’ve dealt with kings and generals, despots and madmen. What part of that history makes you believe I could be felled by one matchmaking mama?”

She sighed. “The part where you haven’t met mine.”

How could she make him see the gravity of the situation?

Little could Lord Granville know it—he probably wouldn’t care if he did—but there was more at stake for Charlotte than gossip and scandal sheets. She and Delia Parkhurst hoped to miss the next London season entirely, in favor of traveling the Continent. They had it all planned out: six countries, four months, two best friends, one exceedingly permissive chaperone—and absolutely no stifling parents.

However, before they could start packing their valises, they needed to secure permission. This autumn house party was meant to be Charlotte’s chance to prove to Sir Vernon and Lady Parkhurst that the rumors about her weren’t true. That she wasn’t a brazen fortune hunter, but a well-behaved gentlewoman and a loyal friend who could be trusted to accompany their daughter on the Grand Tour.

Charlotte could not muck this up. Delia was counting on her. And she couldn’t bear to watch all her dreams dashed again.

“Please, my lord. If you would only agree to—”

“Hush.”

In an instant, his demeanor transformed. He went from cool and aristocratic to sharply alert, turning his head toward the door.

She heard it, too. Footsteps in the corridor. Approaching.

Whispered voices, just outside.

“Oh, no,” she said, panicked. “We can’t be found here together.”

No sooner had she uttered the words than the library became a whirlwind.

Charlotte wasn’t even certain how it happened.

Had she bolted in panic? Had he swept her into his arms somehow?

One moment, she was staring in mute horror at the scraping, turning door latch. The next, she was ensconced in the library’s window seat, concealed by heavy velvet drapes.

Pressed chest to chest with the Marquess of Granville, The man she had meant to avoid at all costs.

Oh, Lord.

Spindle Cove

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

tessa-dare

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.


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Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Posted January 11, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #4.5
Also in this series: Do You Want to Start a Scandal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Pages: 144
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A snowstorm hath no fury like a spinster scorned!

Miss Elinora Browning grew up yearning for the handsome, intelligent lord-next-door…but he left England without a word of farewell. One night, inspired by a bit too much sherry, Nora poured out her heartbreak on paper. Lord Dashwood Missed Out was a love letter to every young lady who’d been overlooked by gentlemen—and an instant bestseller. Now she’s on her way to speak in Spindle Cove when snowy weather delays her coach. She’s forced to wait out the storm with the worst possible companion: Lord Dashwood himself.

And he finally seems to have noticed her.

George Travers, Lord Dashwood, has traveled the globe as a cartographer. He returned to England with the goal of marrying and creating an heir--only to find his reputation shredded by an audacious, vexingly attractive bluestocking and her poison pen. Lord Dashwood Missed Out, his arse. Since Nora Browning seems to believe he overlooked the passion of a lifetime, Dash challenges her to prove it.

She has one night.

I heart Tessa Dare. I also heart her Spindle Cove series and I didn’t know much I missed her characters from that series until I read this novella.

The women of Spindle Cove are preparing for an author’s reading at the library and they’re all excited. You see, the author is a young woman named Miss Elinora Browning who wrote a book called Lord Ashwood Missed Out. It’s a story about a young lady who fell in love with the dashing Lord Ashwood and he left without farewell and broke her heart. Her story became quite popular and now she’s got speaking engagements and is traveling around, making quite a living as a young authoress.

She’s on her way to Spindle Cove when the weather takes a turn for the worse and the only coach available is a private coach with someone already on board…and that person is none other than Lord Ashwood, I mean Lord Dashwood. The villain in her story. Haha. It’s like karma is out for blood because not only is she stuck on a coach with a very pissed of man, they fall into a ditch and the wheel breaks and so they have to find some place to hide out TOGETHER until the morning and the weather clears, so they can fix the wheel and continue on to Spindle Cove. To say that things got real interesting, real fast is an understatement.

As entertaining as the main romance was, I’ve got to be honest and say that I was much more interested in what the old characters were doing, namely – the men. Holy cow, I didn’t realize how much I missed Colin Sandhurst until he started talking in this book. I laughed like a crazy person every time the men came onto the scene. When they go out in the bad weather to track down the author and escort her to Spindle Cove, I could not stop laughing. The name they came up with for themselves? Holy cow, I laughed so much.

I’d definitely recommend this book to fans of the series and to fans of Tessa Dare in general. She’s a fantastic writer and though this isn’t my favorite book by her, it’s still a treat. Colin’s book is on my to be re-read this year list. I can’t wait!

4 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

Posted May 21, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

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Judith’s review of Any Duchess Will Do  (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare.

What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

Readers of historical romance fiction know that a Tessa Dare story will be a really great read.  How these stories keep cropping up is, of course, the wonder of the creative process.  In this series about women who find themselves outside the acceptable boundaries of polite society, who are by nature square pegs in round holes, or for some reason find themselves in Spindle Cove, readers are presented with stories that pique the interest from start to finish, that push the boundaries of the imagination and take the historical romance in unexpected directions.  How wonderful that a duke who is in a “marriage war” with his mom would choose the serving girl to be his prospective duchess.  And the bargain that Griff and Pauline make–one where he will pay her a king’s ransom on order to “fail” her duchess lessons–are the context of some of the wit and humor Tessa Dare is famous for.

I am delighted to have had the opportunity to read and review this novel.  It’s a very fun read, one that is satisfying from the standpoint of reading a novel that is well written, well-edited, and which tells a story full of color and humor and romance.  It isn’t overly long but of sufficient length to allow full character development, teasing out the story line so that the reader really wonders how these to very different people will be able to resolve the differences and close the social gap that lies between them.  All in all, it’s a novel that shouldn’t be missed and will please and delight Tessa Dare fans–well, just about anyone who reads it.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

The Series:

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Avon Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Review: Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare.

Posted May 15, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Rowena’s review of Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare.

Hero: Lord Griffin York
Heroine: Miss Pauline Simms

What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

I am really loving the Spindle Cove series.  The characters, the stories, the romance, it’s all been such a fantastic reading experience that I kind of don’t want it to end.  Tessa Dare has done an incredible job of bringing these characters to life that every time I see a new book coming out, I do a little happy dance.

This story follows Pauline Simms, the barmaid from the Bull and Blossom.  Pauline is a hardworking young woman who dreams of opening up her own rotating library for the women that come to Spindle Cove on vacation.  She wants to be able to provide for her sister and when an offer comes in the form of a handsome Duke, she’s hard pressed to not accept.

The Duke of Halford’s mother is in the business of matchmaking.  She wants grandchildren and since he’s not showing any kind of interest in finding himself a wife to give her those grandchildren, she takes things into her own hands.  She kidnaps him and takes him to Spindle Cove where there are many women who will take him.  All he has to do is pick one.  Well, Griff chooses Pauline.  The barmaid.  If his mother can turn the sugar speckled woman into a Duchess in one weeks time then he’ll marry her.  Not even a little bit disgusted at his choice, the Duchess knows that she’s got her work cut out for her.

Pauline goes along with the whole scheme because the Duke of Halford has promised her 1,000 pounds to do everything she can to put a wrench in his mother’s plans.  The duke tells his mother that she has one week to turn Pauline into a raving success and if she’s acceptable, he’ll marry her.

I thought this was a great addition to an already fantastic series of books.  I really enjoyed getting to know Pauline and I thought that Griff was a great match for her. I loved seeing him fall in love with Pauline and seeing the two of them battle their separate issues and come together in the end.  I kept wondering how the heck Dare was going to bring these two together since he’s a Duke and she’s a freaking barmaid but the way that she wrote it made sense to me and I enjoyed it.  The majority of this book took place in London, away from Spindle Cove so I missed a lot of the charm that can only be found in Spindle Cove but still, this was a great story.

I enjoyed getting to know Pauline outside of the Bull and Blossom and I really came to love Griff.  He was pictured as cold and unfeeling when he was anything but.  Both of their stories made my heart hurt.  Hurt for Griff with his Mary and hurt for Pauline because of her home life.  I’m already looking forward to the next Spindle Cove book, I so love these characters.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Review: Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare.

Posted April 25, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

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Rowena’s review of Beauty and the Blacksmith (Spindle Cove #3.5) by Tessa Dare.

Hero: Mr. Aaron Dawes
Heroine: Lady Diana Haywood

At last, Diana gets a romance of her own! But with the last man anyone in Spindle Cove expects…

Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman. At least, that’s what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana’s not excited by dukes and lords. The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes. By birth and fortune, they couldn’t be more wrong for each other…but during stolen, steamy moments in his forge, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?

This was a really quick read but one that I enjoyed.  Tessa Dare is one of those historical authors that never fails to bring a smile to your face while you’re reading one of her stories.  Her stories are always packed with so much goodness that whenever a new one comes out, you’ve got to get it.

This story follows Diana Haywood and Aaron Dawes to their happy ending.  Diana is the beauty in her family and if you’ve read the other books then you’ll remember Diana from being the girl that her daughter likes to pimp out at every turn.  Diana is the looks in the family and is expected to marry the highest title of anyone in their family.  But in this book, we learn that Diana doesn’t want a Duke or an Earl.  She wants a blacksmith.

And he wants her right back.

This book doesn’t have a complicated background.  There’s no confusing emotional roller coaster.  It’s just a straight up romance about two unlikely people falling in love and I enjoyed their story.

Aaron is an uncomplicated man.  He took over the family business when his father died, provided for his mother and two sisters and now that they’re all married off and gone, he lives alone and continues to work, day in and day out.  He’s got a thing for Diana Haywood but knows that it probably won’t go anywhere because he’s not a Lord and they’re from different worlds.  But when Diana starts coming around his shop, with something new for him to fix, he starts to wonder…if she’s doing all of this on purpose, to see him.

And he’s totally right.  Diana’s got it bad for him.  She’s lusting good after the good ol’ town blacksmith and to see someone as beautiful as  Diana be so insecure about everything from her looks, to the way that Aaron sees her to not knowing what to do about wanting to be with him was a nice change from the norm.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Aaron and Diana.  Their story was short but still a great addition to this series.  The romance between these two made for some great reading and Tessa Dare continues to keep me happy with this Spindle cove series.  This wasn’t my favorite story in the series but it’s still good.  It’s a solid, historical romance and I’m glad that I read it.  I recommend this book to fans of historical romance and to fans of the Spindle Cove series.

Now, I’m curious to see if Charlotte Haywood is going to get her own story because I want to read that.  She was great in this story.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon Impulse. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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