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Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Castles Ever After Series #4 & Spindle Cove Series #5)

Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Castles Ever After Series #4 & Spindle Cove Series #5)

4.8 31
by Tessa Dare

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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


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?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/29/2016
Dare’s latest novel, which links her popular Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After series, opens in 1819 with a sizzling, scandalous encounter in a velvet-draped alcove at an English country estate. Charlotte Highwood and Piers Brandon, who have only just been introduced, hear—but don’t see—a pair of passionate lovers and inadvertently duck into the same niche in order to avoid them. Charlotte is shocked to find herself chest to chest with Piers, but her mortification truly sets in after the mysterious lovers leave and others who overheard them insinuate that Charlotte and Piers were the ones enjoying intimate pursuits. Piers and Charlotte hastily arrange a private engagement to salvage Charlotte’s reputation before word gets around, but Dare’s unconventional heroine is reluctant: she wants to marry for love, not honor. Charlotte tries to identify the mysterious lovers to clear her own name of scandal so she can get out of her engagement to Piers, a dashing yet cold marquess who’s also a spy for the Crown. But her intrepid sleuthing alarms Piers, who has his own secrets to hide. Artful diversions, a clever heroine, and intense passion are all brought together by Dare’s smart writing and spot-on matchmaking. There’s just the right amount of intrigue, and even the minor characters have layered personalities. The irresistibly provocative, classy love scenes set the bar high for other historical romance novels. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (Oct.)
RT Book Reviews (top pick)
“With its free-spirited heroine and honorable hero, Dare’s latest is a riotous romance. Her signature humor sparkles (I’ll never look at a peach and cucumber the same way again) and when combined with a mystery that turns into a Regency game of Clue, readers are captivated.”
Smart Bitches
“Do You Want to Start a Scandal is good. It’s so, so good. [...] It worked perfectly for me. [...] This book is funny, it’s charming, and the romance works so beautifully.”
Library Journal
★ 10/15/2016
Scandal-prone Charlotte Highwood has no intention of marrying Piers Brandon, Marquess of Granville—she's not at all the wife he needs, and, in any case, she has more adventurous plans in mind. When they are caught in a compromising situation at a country house party, they are forced to agree to an "understanding"—one that Charlotte intends to get out of as soon as she can. But Piers has other ideas. He not only needs an heir, he's intrigued by the unconventional, exceptionally perceptive Charlotte. Clever badinage, an intricate plot, breathtaking sensuality, and carefully realized secondary characters make this another delightful page-turner from one of the genre's best. VERDICT An irrepressible, independent-minded heroine and a responsible hero who's leading two lives fall for each other in a rollicking and passionate romp that is just what Spindle Cove fans will relish. Dare (When a Scot Ties the Knot) lives in Southern California. [See "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 9/1/16, ow.ly/wkvx304GnLc.]
Kirkus Reviews
When she tries to warn a marquess to stay away from her at a house party where they'll be guests for the next two weeks—because she knows her mother will try to set them up in some embarrassing way—Charlotte Highwood winds up compromised. In trying to prove her innocence, she falls in love with the man, who's sworn he'll never love anyone.When Charlotte follows Piers Brandon, Lord Granville, into the Parkhurst library to warn him about her mother's schemes, the conversation is interrupted by another couple meeting for a tryst. Thinking quickly, Piers hides them behind a long curtain, where they endure listening to the assignation. They're discovered leaving their hiding place, leading people to think it was she and Piers making love. Piers quietly offers to marry Charlotte, who resists. She wants a marriage based on love and trust, not convenience. Convinced she can evade an engagement if she finds the "tuppers," Charlotte embarks on an investigation even as she gives her heart and body to Piers, who finds himself incredibly willing to share long-held secrets with his would-be fiancee—considering he's a spy who's spent a lifetime learning how to hide them—without realizing he's falling in love, too. Dare delivers another winning historical romance, with sparkling dialogue, an effervescent heroine, and an emotionally inhibited hero who falls for her even if he can't admit it to himself. There is much to love in this title—which entwines the author's popular Castles and Spindle Cove series—and Dare brings her typical combination of humor (with an extra dose of lightheartedness thanks to Charlotte's irrepressible spirit), unexpected yet spot-on matchmaking, and soul-satisfying romance. However, a few anachronisms and missteps mar the story. For example, wouldn't Charlotte still be compromised if she uncovered the trysting couple? A gratifying romance despite some flaws.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Castles Ever After Series , #4
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kittens.

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Do You Want to Start a Scandal 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tessa Dare has wonderful characters. I find myself pulled into their world and am sad when the story comes to an end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of your books so much! I never thought I could have an absolute favorite, until now. Thank you so much for sharing your world with us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super cute and light read. Easy to like the characters and the little mystery is a fun plot device.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting hero, different plot, and excellent writing make this one not-to-miss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it.... Best in the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Dare's books and this one didn't disappoint. Great characters. No drawn out huge misunderstandings you want to strangle the hero and heroine over. Fun dialogue. Everything I look for it good romp.
gaele More than 1 year ago
So – it took me a bit to get TO this book (apologies) but I just couldn’t put it down. I want to BE Charlotte Highwood when I grow up. Completely her own person, smart, mouthy, innocent and completely hilarious simply because she is so blunt and spot on with her observations. But, when she’s feeling cornered by rumors that will require her to marry a man she doesn’t know (and doesn’t think a good match) her determination to lead her own life by her own terms is marvelous. Piers Brandon, Lord Granville, starts out as a very typical man of his station, reserved, a bit proper and stuffy, what isn’t known is that he is a spy for the crown. And, he can’t believe that this chit of a girl is ‘warning him’ of her mother’s intentions for them to marry. But, there’s something about Charlotte: her beauty, her obvious wit and the fact that she isn’t cowed by his title or presence is completely foreign territory, and one his career as spy and diplomat have not prepared him for. Oh the plot is thick and full of twists in this one: as Piers, egged on by Charlotte’s determination, decides to find out just who missed being caught en flagrante in the library during the ball by the hosts’ young son. The combination of Charlotte’s innocence combined with her honest desire to see the real Piers gives him the strength and courage to face his own demons and heal. Pretty heady stuff for a story that kept me smiling, had me loving both characters together and apart, and finishing this book in a single sitting. Now to get to the earlier titles in this series. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous 14 days ago
Another intriguing romance by Tessa Dare. Great characters , storyline and of course humor.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I don't usually go for books that are not contemporary but this one was fun, intriguing, and very sexy. I loved it.
Anonymous 4 months ago
It was funny, romantic and it had mystery just a perfect book all around
Anonymous 4 months ago
This book had me laughing my head off. Great mix of humor and sensuality. This book is on my will reread list.
Anonymous 6 months ago
LOVED IT SO MUCH! Anyone who is a fan of Dare will find this novel charming and delightful. It is full of wit and intrigue and such a lovely story.
judiOH 9 months ago
a wonderful historical romance. i couldn't put this story down!!
Anonymous 9 months ago
Always a great and humorous story....enjoy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters and interesting plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it in two Days! It's a great suspense that ends perfectly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved Charlotte & Piers together! This book was a fun read, leaving you to wonder what else could go wrong! Great dialogue & steamy love scenes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how the characters come together from Spindle Cove and the Castles Ever After!!! Its great to see Charlotte all grown up and, like her sisters, find her HEA. I love banter between her and Piers. But I also lovethe banter between charlotte and her mother, who may be worse than Austen's Mrs. Bennett. Tessa Dare is such a master in wit and humor in her books!!! I'm always laughing out loud and swooning at the same time over the couple's story. I have to be patient for Tessa Dare's next book and series.
LEH0644 More than 1 year ago
Great book deserving more than 5 stars! A young lady plans to tour the continent with her best friend and doesn’t want to get married but her mother is determined to find her a husband. Charlotte Highwood knows her mother has selected Lord Granville and she confronts him in the library to warn him about her mother's plan. She thinks he is a cold, unfeeling man and tells him she will marry only for love. He tells her he can never love anyone. Thus, their relationship begins. Lots of funny situations where you find yourself laughing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always loved Tessa Dare's writing style. This book had me falling in love with Piers. And Charlotte was such a fun character. One of my favorite reads ever! Patiently (?)waiting for her next book. Looks like it's time to start rereading each of her series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tessa Dare once again shows an adorable romance that leaves my heart all melted. I loved it.
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
This is a fun story that brings together characters from both the Spindle Cove series and the Castles Ever After series. Charlotte Highwood is the youngest of the Highwood sisters and the only one still unmarried. Her mother is driving her crazy trying to match her up with eligible gentlemen. The embarrassment has already made her an outcast among the ton. She only wants to warn Lord Granville that she has no intention of letting her mother force them together. However, her plan immediately goes awry when a most embarrassing incident occurs and Charlotte and Piers are blamed. As previously established in the Spindle Cove books, Charlotte loves to investigate a good mystery, so she sets out to find who is really responsible, clear her name, and get back to her plan to make a Grand Tour of Europe with her best friend. While Charlotte's methods are sound, bumblings and misunderstandings abound, providing many humorous episodes. Piers goes along with the investigation at first, although he's already decided that Charlotte will be a part of his life. He just doesn't think he can ever give her his heart. However, this man of action with a mysterious past may have just met his match!