My Goodreads Rating: 4 of 5 stars
My Actual Rating: 3.5 stars
Do You Want to Start a Scandal is a mashup of the Castles Ever After and Spindle Cove series. Piers Brandon, the jilted marquess from Say Yes to the Marquess and Charlotte Highwood, youngest sister to Minerva (A Week to Be Wicked) and Diana (Beauty and the Blacksmith) are quickly thrown together when they’re accused of ‘MURRRDDDEEERRRR!!!’ in the library during a house party.
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.
Admittedly, this isn’t the best Tessa Dare book out there, but it’s a fast, enjoyable read. Charlotte wants to find her niche in life and so she investigates the various clues to piece together the library mystery. She reads as a bit -too- youthful at times, but perhaps her upbringing in Spindle Cove has something to do with it. Piers is harboring secrets that he’s intent on Charlotte not discovering, but her quick wit divests him of his cover story. He’s a gentleman who wants the best for Charlotte, but must reconcile how that desire can fit into his life.
The actual plot isn’t as solid as Dare’s previous books. The library mystery is a mainstay due to Charlotte, but reads as a minor diversion tactic to fling the two together. Mrs. Highwood is up to her usual antics–the birds and the bees scene with her is this book’s crowning gem. Charlotte seems to neglect her BFF far too much, and Piers’s investigation is thrown to the wayside, so we barely get a chance to see how he is in action.
There are plenty of steamy moments and humor to make up for the wobbly plot. In true Tessa Dare fashion, those scenes do not disappoint one bit.
When she saw the wild gleam in his eye, her body thrummed in response and she understood why. He wanted the chase. She wanted to be pursued.
“So I have to ignore you, you see,” he continued in that low, devastating tone of aristocratic command. “If I were to look at you, I would want to strip you naked. If we conversed, I would need to hear you sigh and moan. That’s not proper drawing room behavior.”