Rating: I Liked It!
Description: 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?
Genre: Romance - Historical
Why I Picked This Book: It was described as Regency Clue. How could I resist that?
My Impression: I've finally read a Tessa Dare book! I think I did read one years and years ago but I don't remember anything about it and am not entirely sure if it happened so it doesn't really count. But this one I most certainly remember and it was a delight! I was pulled in right from the beginning and was immediately in love with Charlotte and Piers. Their initial meeting is hilarious and mortifying and leads to quite a sticky spot for both of them.
Charlotte is an interesting main character. Her match-making mama has made Charlotte a laughing stock in society and she's desperately trying to prove that she isn't a fortune hunter out to catch a titled husband but really only so that she can go on a grand tour with her friend Delia. A house party seems like a perfect opportunity until things go spiraling out of control. Piers is at the house party on official business for the Crown trying to determine if the master of the house has a secret that would prevent him from taking an important government post. They're both intelligent characters who respect each other's intelligence and their conversations are funny and maddening. I really enjoyed their interactions with their families. Charlotte with her sisters was very sweet and I loved that her mother hasn't deeper and more bittersweet motives for making sure her daughters secure advantageous matches.
There were a few things I wanted more of. The mystery felt forgotten for the last third of the book and then was solved very quickly. There was some explanation for why things happened the way they did but I would have liked a little more. As well, I would have liked more resolution between Charlotte and Delia and Delia's horrible sister Frances. I've been left to my own devices to find a fitting end for Frances and they haven't been nice!
Overall, this was an entertaining delight of a read that I flew through. I'm looking forward to reading more Tessa Dare in the future! I think I'll start with Charlotte's sisters' stories.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would! While it wasn't an instant favorite I did enjoy it and am looking forward to reading more from Dare.
Would I Recommend this Book? If you like historical romances that you definitely need to try Dare!