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Lord Dashwood Missed Out: A Spindle Cove Novella Mass Market Paperback – January 19, 2016
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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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This is a road trip, childhood friends, unrequited love story. Basically all my favorite tropes stuffed inside one delightful package. Like all Tessa Dare books, it is well written and full of humor and romance not to mention the hot love scenes. I'm also happy to report that for a novella the characters and plot are well developed. There are appearances by previous characters in the series but this book can definitely stand alone. My only quibble is that I didn't understand fully why Lord Dashwood left Nora. Seemed that that part of the plot could have used a little more clarification. Quick excellent read and I highly recommend it. 4 1/2 stars
And those criticisms matter very little when compared to just how much I love Tessa Dare's breezy, eminently readable and eloquent-in-ways-you-don't-expect prose, her sharp and clever dialogue, and the way her work is often bursting with joy, wit, warmth, insight, and just the right amount of emotional poignancy without being too melodramatic. I also love her heroes and heroines, nearly all of whom immediately emerge as vivid, distinct, and that perfect combination of admirable strengths and relatable, amusing flaws.
Novellas usually provide ample opportunity for Tessa Dare to put these gifts on display. In fact, when it comes to historical romances I tend to PREFER novellas, because the 370-410 page romances we get these days nearly always feel too repetitive and tedious for someone of my dwindling attention span, and novellas force authors to cut some of those superfluous, contrived conflicts, some of the circular and reptitive arguments between the H/h, and even some of those can't-tell-one-from-the-other-anymore sex scenes :)
So it's not the length and format that fell short for me here, but just that it seemed to be missing some of what I've mentioned generally loving about Tessa Dare. There was a little less of that energy and effervescence, the humor wasn't quite as sharp, and while Nora was fine as a heroine (likable enough but not especially memorable to me), Dash just didn't connect with me at all. Tessa Dare is among the few authors who can generally make me like the type of heroes who come off as arrogant, entitled and unfeeling but turn out to be good men underneath. (This is an increasingly rare feat; most other authors these days write most of their heroes as men I consider close to villains!) In this case, though, we know that Dash was a jerk to the heroine in the past, he starts out being a jerk in the present, and then suddenly he...isn't. Okay, so a near life-and-death situation is bound to bring out different sides of a man, but it just felt like he abruptly went from being a guy who felt something between indifference and dislike for our heroine, mingled with a little inconvenient but fairly mild lust, to suddenly LOVING her and announcing he's actually loved her this entire time. It just didn't feel believable to me.
And, without giving anything specific away, he does this thing that a few other Tessa Dare heroes have done in recent books: deliberately lying to and deceiving the heroine just to keep her with him longer. And not just a harmless white lie, either, or a cute little evasion in the name of surprising her later, but lies related to serious danger they're in at the time. I get the appeal of 'the guy who will do ANYTHING to make her his!' in romance novels, but lying, manipulating, and staging certain situations just to keep the heroine with you reads a little more as 'creepy Lifetime-movie-of-the-week-stalker' to me than true hero. Beyond that, Dash just wasn't very compelling or interesting. I can deal with very flawed heroes if they're balanced out by a lot of clear attributes, but other than being good in bed and brave in a super macho sort of way, Dash just didn't seem that interesting or great a guy, and he and Nora clashed so much more often than they connected that even the inevitable marriage proposal at the end was to the effect of "hey, won't it be fun to keep arguing and annoying each other for the rest of our lives?!"
All that said, the novella did have some strengths. We got to check in with a lot of the Spindle Cove characters, a couple of whom I'd still name as among my favorite historical romance characters/couples of all time. (Only Colin, Griff and Pauline leave much of an impression in this one, but catching up with them was probably worth the $2.99 alone if you loved any of the other Spindle Cove books as much as I did!) We do get some of Tessa's sparkly prose and trademark witty dialogue, albeit not quite as much as usual. And there were a handful of moments that definitely made me smile...though the fact that I've already forgotten what most of those moments are is further proof that this one just didn't hook me nearly as much as most of Tessa Dare's other work :)
So if you're as powerless as I am to resist any and all visits back to Spindle Cove and are looking for a quick read, I'd pick this one up. Just don't expect it to delight and resonate as the majority of this author's other novellas and novels!
Nora knew she love Lord Dashwood since they were children. She had grand plans of marrying him and having all his children. But when he decided that he wanted to see the world and have some accomplishments of his own she was heartbroken and then she was angry and then she decided she didn’t need a man to have accomplishments.
She wrote a little pamphlet about why he missed out. But now he is back and maybe just maybe he has other ideas on what really happened and why they were better off that he left in the first place. Unless she can convince him otherwise.
“I don’t care how many lovers you’ve taken, nor how experienced they were.” She held up her index finger. “I have more passion in one fingertip than they have in their whole bodies.”
He propped an elbow on the table. A smile played at the corners of his lips. “Why, Elinora Jane Browning. What on earth have you been doing with that fingertip?”
This was adorably cute with a very satisfying conclusion. There is also the added benefit of seeing most of the other Spindle Cove couples be cutesy with each other and an manly expedition between the husbands to escort Nora through the storm to her speaking engagement.
If you’ve read the rest of the Spindle Cove series then it is great fun to see them all again. If not then it is just a short romantic tale that will be missing a little magic as you don’t care about the plethora of side characters in it.
This does have all of Tessa Dare’s charming whit and lovable banter just pocket sized.
Most recent customer reviews
Nora and Lord Dashwood were just wonderfully written.Read more