Karen's Reviews > A Week to Be Wicked

A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
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May 09, 12

Read in February, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Perfect, perfect, perfect! The perfect zany plot, the perfect (seemingly) mismatched couple, and *absolutely* the perfect ending. (And never, ever will I think of the word "annulus" again without a mental blush.)

Although the three Highwood girls and their mother came to Spindle Cove for beautiful Diana's health, it's geologist bluestocking Minerva (SO well-named!) who truly feels as though she belongs there. Of course, if Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne (or P-A-I-N, as she spells it in her diary) proposes to Diana (as Mrs. Highwood is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN he'll do ANY DAY NOW), Minerva's haven will be lost to her. Surely, talking him out of marriage is the *only* reason she's banging on his door at midnight, demanding to speak with him... right? It has nothing to do with the handsomeness that makes her brilliant brain fizz and melt out her ears... or the way he smells when they (accidentally) get too close... or those eyes, like Bristol diamonds (Americans would say geodes).... no, of course not. After all, the idiot takes every opportunity to humiliate her and can't even recall her name properly. ("Vile, teasing man.") She'd be delusional to think he could possibly have any *true* interest in her-- even her own mother deems her "hopeless."

Rakehell Colin has GOT to find a way out of the pleasure-forsaken backwater of Spindle Cove and back to London, where he belongs. Where, if he can't exactly *forget* his past, he can drown it in brandy, and where there is at least no shortage of willing arms for him to sleep in. Because Colin has a secret... he's not entirely a rake by choice. Thanks to a nightmare-inducing horror in his past, if Colin doesn't sleep with *someone*, he doesn't sleep. At all. If this keeps up, Spindle Cove is going to literally destroy him. Unfortunately, his well-meaning cousin (who controls his purse, at least until his next birthday) believes that staying in Spindle Cove will be good for him, and so that's where Colin must stay. Of course, he *could* gain access to his funds quite quickly by marrying some chit (Minerva's beautiful sister Diana, perhaps?)... but even his conscience falters at the idea of tying some poor, innocent woman to HIM 'til the end of their days. He's shallow, his best skill is being charming, and his middle name is Trouble. Faking an elopement with Minerva is completely out of the question. He's done a lot of vile things, but he's never ruined an innocent miss. Besides, who would believe the devil-may-care rake could fall for the serious bluestocking spinster? No one has actually *noticed* him staring at her when she wasn't looking. At those kissable lips, that raven's-wing hair... the passion in her eyes, when she talks about things that she loves, her fierce loyalty... nonono. NOT going to happen. Besides, what would such a stunningly intelligent woman ever want with a wastrel like *him*?

What Minerva wants is an escort to a scientific symposium in Scotland to present her findings on a curious geological discovery in Spindle Cove... and if she can't get an escort, she's determined to go alone. And so, the two of them find themselves on the road to Scotland together. While their families and friends back in Spindle Cove doubt and question and worry and hope, Colin and Minerva face every piece of bad luck imaginable (and some beyond imagination) trying to make it to Edinburgh on time. Minerva just wants to get to Edinburgh, reveal the greatest scientific find of the century, and make her mark on the world (which, as a woman of her time, is nearly impossible outside of marriage). Colin just wants to keep his word and get the girl safely to Scotland (as a rake and a living trouble magnet, keeping his word AND a schedule is a challenge he's never quite surmounted). In their heart of hearts, both secretly wish for someone who could just love them for who they really are... but fear that who they *really* are is unlovable.

This journey will prove the ultimate test for both of them. Every challenge chips away at their protective shells, stripping them of their believed strengths and revealing a little more of their inner selves to each other. But (because this is, after all, a Tessa Dare book!) the road is ALSO fraught with a great deal of laugh-out-loud humor and witty verbal sparring (as well as guns and piglets and lost princes and fossils and sexy mathematical terms and cobras and far too much rain). (Cobras, you say? But aren't they headed to Scotland? READ THE BOOK.)

And if none of this has convinced you, read the dedication: "For all the girls who walk and read at the same time." Didn't I say this book was perfect?

Full disclosure: I read this as a digital ARC, provided by the author, with no compensation but a request for review. (And I've reread it twice since.)
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