Series Review – Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove/ posted in: Book Review, Reading
After innumerable suggestions, I read my first Tessa Dare book in March. Immediately after the first one I binged on her Spindle Cove series.
I loved the premise of this series. Spindle Cove is a small community that has become known as a place to send unusual women to get them out of society. As the series starts, an injured soldier has been given the title to the area. He is expected to set up a militia to defend this part of the coast. The last thing the women of Spindle Cove want is a bunch of soldiers messing up their happy settlement.
In the first book, A Night to Surrender, Susanna is the woman who has nurtured Spindle Cove to the haven it is now. She is the daughter of an eccentric inventor of firearms. She is furious that her father has handed over a ruined castle above the village and the earldom to this soldier who needs to retire due to his injuries. The male lead character in this book was just on the brink of being too alpha-male bossy for my tastes. Dare does a good job of having Susanna stand up for herself and her ladies. That’s not an easy job because it can be seen as falling back into the patriarchal society that they are trying to avoid or being forced against their will into relationships with these men. That could easily have been very off putting.
The second book, A Week to Be Wicked, is probably my favorite. It is the first to feature one of the Highwood family. Mrs. Highwood and her three daughters came to Spindle Cove in book one. Mrs. Highwood plans for her daughters to marry very well, especially her oldest, Diana. The pressure was getting to her and they came to Spindle Cove to rest. The second daughter, Minerva, is a scientist. She’s been submitting papers under her initials and now has been invited to speak in Scotland. She needs to find a way to get there. She decides to fake an elopement with one of the less scrupulous friends of the Earl as a way to travel to Scotland.
Kate Taylor is the music teacher in Spindle Cove. She has no plans to marry because she was raised in an orphanage with no idea where she came from and she has a large port wine birthmark on her face. In book three, A Lady by Midnight, an eccentric noble family shows up in Spindle Cove looking for her. They claim to have found out that she is related to them. At the same time the very grumpy Corporal Thorne of the local militia starts to pay attention to her. He seems suspicious of her new family. Is it possible that he knows something about her past that he isn’t sharing?
Any Dutchess Will Do is book four. A duke’s mother tricks him into accompanying her to Spindle Cove. She tells him to pick a woman, any woman sitting in the tea room, and marry her. To spite her he chooses the serving girl. Pauline has no time for this nonsense. She is trying to save up money to get herself and her developmentally disabled sister out of their abusive father’s house. Her goal is to open a small store and lending library. The duke’s mother says she can pass her off as a lady in one week. The duke promises to pay her enough money to start her store if she goes along with his mother’s plan and fails miserably.
One of the things that annoys me most about historical romances is the concept of women being ruined by being alone with a man. I know the books didn’t invent that but I hate the idea. People were so worried about what other people thought about a woman’s sexual experience that if there was even the possibility that she had had time and opportunity to have a sexual experience then she was “ruined”. It also presumes that no one has any self control at all and will fall all over a person of the opposite sex if given a chance. It makes me mad on behalf all humankind every time it is brought up. Do You Want to Start a Scandal‘s story is all about this. The youngest Highwood daughter, Charlotte, explains to the latest noble dude to show up in Spindle Cove that her mother will be trying to marry her off to him. She wants him to know that it isn’t coming from her and she is just as embarrassed about it as he will be. They are found alone in a room as a result of this discussion. To make it worse, they had been hiding from an unknown amorous couple whose sounds where overheard and commented upon loudly by a child. Now it is “known” that they had sex and have to get married. Now Charlotte is determined to get the real couple to confess and save her from this marriage.
I did enjoy all four novels. There was enough humor and sweetness for me to be able to not be totally annoyed by the sex.
There are three novellas that go along with this series.
I didn’t really care for these as much. I didn’t think the shorter format gave her enough time to develop the characters and their relationships before the story was over and they were married. The events of the novellas are referred to in the novels but you can get an idea what happened without reading them all in order.