Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare

At last, Diana gets a romance of her own! But with the last man anyone in Spindle Cove expects...

Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman. At least, that's what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana's not excited by dukes and lords. The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes. By birth and fortune, they couldn't be more wrong for each other...but during stolen, steamy moments in his forge, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?

My problem with Ms. Dare's books (and novellas) is that I read them too damn fast.  I try to wait and stretch my enjoyment as long as possible, but once I begin, I simply cannot put it down.  That, alas, is the case with Beauty and the Blacksmith, which I finished in the blink of an eye.  Damnit.   

Now that I'm finished cursing, Beauty and the Blacksmith is a wonderful addition to Ms. Dare's Spindle Cove series.  Just keep writing about Spindle Cove!  Keep writing about moments like this: 

He propped one finger under her chin, tilting her face back up.  "If I were to kiss you, once wouldn't be enough.  I'd want to kiss you many times.  In lots of places."  

What I love about Ms. Dare's writing is the effortless way she choreographs a scene.  It can be something as small as fingertips touching, but it literally will have me on the edge of my seat wondering if the characters will touch or won't they.  

But I was very surprised to find Diana Highwood paired romantically with the blacksmith, Aaron Dawes.  Diana has been set apart throughout the Spindle Cove series as the highest of high, especially to hear Mrs. Highwood tell it.  All hopes of survival for Mrs. Highwood and Diana's two sisters hang on Diana's ability to (1) overcome her asthma, which has brought the family to Spindle Cove, and (2) land a duke or higher.  The pressure has lessened since Minerva married Lord Payne, yet Diana still keeps herself in check and presumes to go along with her mother's lofty goals.  In this novella, however, Diana finally stands up for herself, and she and younger sister, Charlotte, set about preserving Diana's happiness.  

Charlote's bow-shaped mouth quirked.  "This is my mother you're dealing with.  She's a dragon.  Arm yourself.  Gird your loins.  Gather your courage and your best steel.  And yes, formulate a plan of attack."

If you love historical romance, you cannot go wrong with Ms. Dare, and Beauty and the Blacksmith is a fine example of why. 

(A very special thank you to Avon Books, Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC of Beauty and the Blacksmith.)

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