A Week to be Wicked, by Tessa Dare
YOU WERE RIGHT, I WAS WRONG. This was a lovely book A wonderful book. Funny and charming and a total blast to read. All I had to do was get past the first quarter of the book.
You see, it starts off being like EVERY OTHER ROMANCE NOVEL EVER, in which Minerva (Greek name, take a drink!), the bookish bespectacled spinster (another drink!) comes up with a preposterous plan to pretend to elope with the rakish and womanizing (take a sip) Lord Payne (PAYNE? finish your drink) so that her sister won’t be ruined and also so she can attend a … geology conference.
Yeah, I know. Like I said, I really had a hard time getting through the first quarter of the book, where Minerva was all bookish and practical and having convenient little asides with Lord Payne (UGH THE NAME), but once they hit the road it became an excellent romance novel buddy comedy adventure story.
The thing that made this book special is, to me, the very natural and sly humor in the interchanges between Min and Lord Pay—let’s just call him Colin. Minerva is an academic spinster, but she manages to loosen up enough to trade barbs with Colin, and it’s never in a “oh look how clever I am” kind of way. The dialogue between them is organically funny and sweet.
Long journeys up to Scotland are pretty common in romance novels - you have to get the hero and heroine together in a confined room SOMEHOW, and it’s easier to be bad in the midst of strangers - and I personally think it’s difficult to pull off this plot device without the story becoming overly episodic or repetitive. To be fair, it is true that Minerva and Colin find themselves running in and out of various wild scenarios, characters we meet on one leg of the journey show up later to be a punchline, etc. With a weaker writer, it wouldn’t work, but it was seamlessly comedic and entertaining to me. Min and Colin’s relationship develops naturally (I keep going back to planty adjectives, sorry) and believably.
A Week to Be Wicked was an unexpected treat for me, and totally deserving of the lavish praise that has been heaped upon it. Strongly recommended!
Note: it’s been hard for me to consistently review the books I’ve been reading lately, but I have finally caught up with every other book enthusiast in the world and joined Goodreads. I’ll keep it updated with everything I’m reading currently. I’ll keep reviewing books here, of course, but reviews might be a little slower.