>> Sunday, May 13, 2012
When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin... time is not on their side.I sometimes wonder at myself. I read Tessa Dare's first few and liked them, but then just kind of stopped for no reason. I haven't read the last 3 or 4 books of hers, and given how much I absolutely loved this one, that probably wasn't a great idea.
Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove's confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland. Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be . . . anywhere but Spindle Cove. These unlikely partners have one week: to fake an elopement, to convince family and friends they're "in love", to outrun armed robbers, to survive their worst nightmares, to travel four hundred miles without killing each other... All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.
What they don't have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls. Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe... just maybe... everlasting love.
The book opens with bluestocking Minerva Highwood very improperly knocking on Colin Sandhurst's door one night. Minerva is concerned that Colin might be seriously considering proposing to her sister, and she knows that though her sister would never be happy with a useless rake such as him, she'll be pressured by their mother into accepting.
Minerva offers Colin an alternative, since she assumes that the only reason he's planning on proposing is to access his inheritance (one of those will things so common in romance): if he escorts her to Edinburgh, where she will present an exciting new finding to the Royal Geological Society, she'll give him the prize money when (not if!) she wins it. That will set him up until his next birthday, when he'll come into his inheritance anyway.
Colin is not inclined to play, especially since he's not that desperate for the money, anyway, and he wasn't planning to propose to Miranda's sister, either. However, this new facet of Miranda intrigues him, and before he knows it, they're off on their roadtrip. And believe me, it's one exciting roadtrip!
I loved, loved, loved it. The plot itself is a bit improbable and the characters' behaviour struck me as just as improbable and modern in a few instances, but for me, it was a case of a good author being able to make me suspend disbelief without any trouble.
Because the romance, it's just fantastic. As they live through their often-laugh-out-loud adventures, Colin and Minerva begin to see below each other's surfaces, and start to appreciate each other for who they really are. Minerva discovers that Colin is not a useless rake at all, but a genuinely good, caring man, who just happens to enjoy teasing her by being outrageous. Colin's been dismissed by everyone all his life, and he's kind of taken it all in, but with Minerva, there's finally something he can feel strongly about, and she helps him realise his worth. Just as he helps her realise her own, because she's been just as dismissed all her life by her own mother. With Colin, she discovers that relaxing and being herself doesn't mean she has to be alone for the rest of his life, because he's crazy about her just as she is. I closed this with a happy sigh.
By the way, I'm trying to break myself out of the habit of having to read series in order, when I'm particularly interested in a later book. I started this series with book 2, and it was fine. It appears there was some stuff going on between Colin and Minerva in book 1 already, just as we see a few things between the protagonists of the next book in this one, but it didn't really make a difference, I loved this anyway.
MY GRADE: An A-.