I was planning to review Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, but I didn’t really have any feelings about it. Instead, let me tell you how much I enjoyed A Week to be Wicked, one of a series of romance novels Tessa Dare has written based on the characters of Spindle Cove. Spindle Cove is a seaside village which acts as a haven for young ladies who don’t quite fit into typical 1810s society, due to ill health, scandal attached to their name, or unusual hobbies. Minerva Highwood, the protagonist of this book, is a bluestocking: more precisely, a geologist. The book opens when she turns up at Lord Payne’s door in the middle of the night to ask him not to marry her sister, and instead conduct her to the Royal Scottish Geological Society symposium, where she believes her new paper will win them a prize of five hundred pounds.
Thus commences their ‘elopement’, which sees them disappear from Spindle Cove and spend a week travelling to Scotland. This book was absolutely charming fluff. There is something indefinable that makes Tessa Dare’s romances my favourites. The hero had a dark past (seemingly inevitable) but managed to spend far more time being charming and madcap than brooding, and the heroine had low self esteem (another typical romance trait and one which I’m not usually fond of) but made up for it by being insightful, determined, and passionate about geology. The couple were charming in all their interactions, be they fighting, flirting or helping each other to overcome their fears, the roadtrip adventures were ridiculous in a delightful way (highwaymen, houses of ill repute, and a country fair all feature), and the sex was sexy. What more could you ask for?