In A Week to Be Wicked, a regency romance by Tessa Dare, aspiring geologist Minerva Highwood needs to get to Edinburgh so she can present her discovery of a dinosaur foot to the Royal Society of Geologists. Because it’s 1814 and ladies can’t travel alone, she enlists local rake Colin Sandhurst, Viscount Payne to fake an elopement. Erin picked this book out for Boozy Book Club mainly because the heroine’s name is Minerva and she’s a major nerd, but also because she thought it would be fun to make the team talk about a straight up romance novel. She was right!
A Week to be Wicked is the second book in Dare’s Spindle Cove series. While we reference some of the goings-on of the other books, each book can be read as a standalone without a problem.
For this installment of Boozy Book Club, recording posed a challenge, so instead we’ve included snippets of the team’s thoughts.
Gabs: I was surprised how much I liked it. I listened to the first three books in the series, and this one was my favorite of the three. Minerva was my favorite protagonist so far. Even though it was a little predictable, it did have a dose of realism. Like when Colin has trouble sleeping, it’s obvious that Minerva’s going to help him through it, but he’s not just magically cured. I thought it was a good way to have the “experienced guy” and the “virginal woman” without having it be the same old thing.
Rosie: Tessa Dare is a really engaging writer. It was one of the better Regency romances I’ve read. It kept me interested the whole time. I don’t know how I didn’t know of her before Erin recommended her! She’s really good at writing the characters each with a different voice. Sometimes in romance all the characters can bleed together. Tessa Dare didn’t repeat personalities.
Erin: I had never read a romance novel before and Tessa Dare was my first. I like her because she’s a little bit silly. Her other series is crazy silly, everyone gets gifted a castle and there are so many hijinks. It balances out the melodrama that always seems to be present in romance novels. But I started with Tessa Dare and then a lot of the other romance novels I read paled in comparison. I’m dying for her to write more books so I can read them.
Olivia: I read this book first and now I’m reading the first and the third one. I like that there are some disappointing turns in the series. There’s happily ever after obviously, but when she shot Francine (her dinosaur), we felt for her! I like that it was “realistic” and not just sentimental.
On whether Minerva the character did justice to Minerva the magazine:
Rosie: She’s definitely one of us.
Erin: I feel like Minerva is genuinely weird, and that can be so rare. Often times you get characters that say, “I’m so odd,” but the only reason they are odd is because they keep saying it. That’s not the case with Minerva. She’s actually a really strange person.
Gabs: If she was around, I’d want her to write for us. Someone was comparing Lady by Midnight to Pride and Prejudice, and if you’re making that comparison, Minerva is definitely the Mary. This is Mary getting her book.
Olivia: That’s exactly what she reminds me of.
Jessica: Because this is the only romance I’ve ever read, I found it interesting with Minerva because it seemed weird that she would be so interested in geology, it didn’t seem like something that a girl of that time would be really into.
On romantic interest Colin Sandhurst:
Rosie: I liked Colin, and I liked that they got together, but in real life I would have a hard time buying his reform. It’s great that he turned around so quickly for Minerva, but it’s kind of hard he went from sleeping around London every night to the perfect partner.
Erin: I’ve come to terms with the fact that my romance novel type is not my IRL type, and Colin is basically exactly my romance novel type. I love a reformed rake. Colin is also sufficiently weird to be with Minerva, and if he was a stiff guy, he wouldn’t be compatible with her. But I like that they can be weird together. It works.
Jessica: I’m with you, Erin, I really liked him. I thought he was fun, and no, it’s not realistic, but he’s entertaining! He was better than some of the other series protagonists because he had a sense of humor. The other heroes were fine if you like brooding, but I personally don’t.
Olivia: He was a little bit derpy and vaguely slapstick. It was a great roller coaster, shifting in and out of all of his crazy stories and personas and seeing where he took them. The fact that he purposefully made a list of names that started with ‘M’ just to barb her was kind of delightful.
Gabs: I appreciated his wit. I love banter, and in real life I’d think he was a dick, but because of his willingness to be playful he made for a compelling love interest. I think why I liked him so much was that he was attracted to a smart woman. They have the insta-love, but a huge part of his attraction to Minerva is that she’s smart and capable.
On sex scenes:
Gabs: I liked that in the series, the sex scenes felt specific to the couple. It didn’t seem like she was repeating the same sex from the first book. It wasn’t the same scene you’ve read a thousand times. One of the things I got tired of was nipples drawing into tight peaks. Maybe I just haven’t seen enough nipples, but that one got me. Before I picked up this book, I’d picked up a Beverly Jenkins novel recommended by NPR, and the plot was really interesting and there was like, one sex scene. That’s not what I came here for.
Erin: I’ve noticed that often times I’ll find a romance author that I like and then the sex scenes are really boring, which is not why you read romance novels! I also appreciate Tessa Dare because she doesn’t let the characters play too coy. They usually get together in some capacity right away so you’re not waiting until 70 percent of the way through for there to finally be a steamy scene. Tessa Dare is also one of the raunchiest romance authors I’ve ever read. She’s the author I’m most embarrassed to listen to while I’m at work.
Olivia: Tessa Dare knows why we’re here. But I like the way she writes, and the turn of phrase is really pretty and poetic and the writing really shines, and I don’t know if that’s the case for a lot of other romance novels.
Jessica: The thing I was worried about is if you read like, fan fiction, they seem to resort to terrible vocabulary that’s really cringeworthy. Stop making up nicknames for all these different body parts, stop describing things in a weird, gross way, and that was avoided for the most part. It felt more realistic instead of trying to be sexy.
Rosie: I did get tired of the word “pearl” by the end. But really, how can you say that in a pretty way?
What we would rate the book:
Jessica: 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoy how quick of reads these are. They’re really going to help me reach my Goodreads goal. Once again, this was a fun read…It was a goofier read than the first one, so I think I would rate this one a bit higher, but so far, this has been an enjoyable series to read.
Gabs: 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed this one! It had a little more adventure and witty banter that were more my style than the last. Minerva was pretty dang rad.
Rosie: 4 out of 5 stars. Loved it! Another A+ regency romance. I’m becoming obsessed with this series, and I’m thrilled I have three more to go.
Olivia: 5 out of 5 stars. I unabashedly, unequivocally loved this. I just have to say I loved this and will be reading more about the goings on in Spindle Cove.
Erin: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Probably one of my favorite historical romances that I’ve read so far. Minerva is a genuine weirdo I really enjoyed her adventure.