Review: Do You Want To Start A Scandal

Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Avon
Source: Reviewer Purchase

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?

Ronnie’s Review

I have a complicated relationship with Tessa Dare novels. Sometimes I absolutely love them, and sometimes I do not. The anachronistic names and plots don’t trouble me, but when I have issues with either the heroine or the hero, the book usually ends up failing me on pretty much every level. I’m happy to say that I very much enjoyed Do You Want To Start A Scandal. Like the majority of Dare’s books, while this is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone without any problems.

From the start of the book, Charlotte struck me as a self-aware, intelligent heroine, and that’s pretty much my jam. Pierce is a lot harder to warm up to as he comes across somewhat condescending and cold, but he’s not a jerk and he recognizes how lovely Charlotte is pretty quickly. Setting aside how the blurb of the book is set up to resemble the game, “Clue,” Charlotte and Piers have to discover who else was in the room with them, lest they be forced to marry. As plots go, for me it was rather ho-hum and the situations that they come across in order to solve this mystery feel a bit contrived.

That being said, I found myself charmed by Charlotte and started to root for her. That she could find the couple and achieve her aim to marry for love and not just because circumstance demands it.

So it’s a marriage of convenience you’re proposing,” she said. “A simple transaction. Your wealth for my womb.”

I like clear-sighted heroines, and Charlotte certainly is one. She knows what she’ll bring to the table and she doesn’t try to shy away or hide the fact that it’s not the life she wants or desires. At the same time, the hero keeps underestimating Charlotte and how much she wants to figure out the identities of the mystery lovers. Much of the book is spent with Piers figuring out how much he wants her for his wife in every sense of the word. The mystery is woven throughout the plot, but kind of ends with a whimper when all is said and done. The banter and the developing relationship between Piers and Charlotte is what really sold me on the book overall.

Rating: 3.5 Stars = B-

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