Early in 2012 I discovered a wonderful author by the name of Tessa Dare. I began reading her Spindle Cove series and instantly fell in love with her unique heroines and swoon-worthy heroes. Once I had exhausted all of the available Spindle Cove novels I moved on to her Wanton Dairymaid trilogy. At first I didn’t realize that these books were part of a trilogy, and I ended up reading book one last. Fortunately, I don’t think it took anything away from the overall story when I had read them out-of-order, but to save you the confusion I’ve reviewed them in the correct order!
From Goodreads: Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion–one that could send all her plans up in smoke.
Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?
We’ve all been there: having a crush on someone who does not reciprocate the feeling. It’s devastating and painful to think that the person you love may never love you back. This is but a glimpse into Lucy’s mind as she contemplates a future without Toby. She’s at her wit’s end on how to gain his attention and affections and the only person she can talk to about her situation is cold, frigid Jeremy. The old saying “opposites attract” has never been truer than in the case of Jeremy and Lucy. Initially they get along about as well as oil and water, Jeremy acts more like a father figure at times than a man figuring out that the love of his life has been in front of him the whole time. Lucy, on the other hand, acts out to garner attention, whether it be good or bad. Reading the fireworks that consistently went off between the two of them was so exciting and definitely had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t wait for that moment when they would realize how perfect they were for each other. It definitely made me sad that I read this trilogy out-of-order, as I ended with this and was disappointed that I had no more books to read! Regardless, Goddess of the Hunt was a solid beginning (or end in my case) to this trilogy.
4 out of 5 Stars
Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
Random House (2009)
eBook: 352 pages
From Goodreads: Desperate to escape a loveless marriage and society’s constraints, pampered heiress Sophia Hathaway jilts her groom, packs up her paints and sketchbook, and assumes a new identity, posing as a governess to secure passage on the Aphrodite. She wants a life of her own: unsheltered, unconventional, uninhibited. But it’s one thing to sketch her most wanton fantasies, and quite another to face the dangerously handsome libertine who would steal both her virtue and her gold.
To any well-bred lady, Benedict “Gray” Grayson is trouble in snug-fitting boots. A conscienceless scoundrel who sails the seas for pleasure and profit, Gray lives for conquest–until Sophia’s perception and artistry stir his heart. Suddenly he’ll brave sharks, fire, storm, and sea just to keep her at his side. She’s beautiful, refined, and ripe for seduction. Could this counterfeit governess be a rogue’s redemption? Or will the runaway heiress’s secrets destroy their only chance at love?
WOW. Surrender of a Siren was definitely my favorite of the entire trilogy. Of all the heroes in the trilogy, Gray was hands-down my favorite. At first he seems a bit barbaric, and he is. He’s been accustomed to getting what he wants when he wants it. Nobody questions his authority. Sophia, however, sees through all of this. She sees the lonely man inside who deserves love, dreams, and partnership. She sees a bit of a kindred spirit in him, in that they have both have become creatures of expectations. Gray does what he thinks is best for his family and crew and puts them first and foremost, while Sophia has a duty to become the darling of society, which she has fulfilled. In essence, Gray learns from Sophia what it is to buck those expectations and finally live for yourself and for your heart.
Back to Gray’s barbarism for a second. At first it’s very caveman-like. ”I am man, hear me roar” and all that jazz. By the end of the novel though, his barbaric tendencies are, well….hot. He’s a big giant of a man – filled with muscles and manliness. There really is no other way to put it. Gray is a hottie and damn do I love him.
5 out of 5 Stars
Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare
Random House (2009)
eBook: 288 pages
From Goodreads: Only one thing could convince Sir Tobias Aldridge, an incorrigible libertine, to profess undying fidelity to a woman he’s just met. Revenge. What better way to get back at an enemy than by stealing the scoundrel’s sister? Not that Toby finds it a chore, seducing a beguiling, sultry beauty freshly arrived from the West Indies. When the prize is Isabel Grayson, vengeance is doubly rewarding.
Isabel is determined to marry a wealthy, powerful lord and become a lady of influence, using her rank and fortune to fight social injustice. Sir Toby, with his paltry title and infamous reputation, is unsuitable husband material–but he makes her blood race, her heart pound, and her long-buried passions come to the surface. If she can reform the charming devil, she’ll get exactly what she craves: society’s respect. But it’s a dangerous gamble. For if Toby wins this battle of persuasion, Isabel could lose her heart.
This was my least favorite in the trilogy, and I think it probably had to do with the fact that I didn’t connect with Isabel and Toby’s love story. Isabel’s motives for wanting to marry a man of influence are commendable. Her desire to help every charity and have a husband that can make political changes wasn’t what bothered me about her. In fact, I want to hug her for all of her charitable notions, it shows that she has a good heart and deep down is a good person. It was her need to reach an unattainable level of perfection that at times made her character read as very cold and unemotional. These moments of coldness didn’t allow me to connect with her as a character. thus leaving me unable to ever really root for her love connection with Toby. Toby, on the other hand, was a different story. I really wanted to smack some sense into him at times for his inability to stand up to Isabel and tell her the truth. Other than this disconnect with the main characters, I enjoyed the opportunities this novel afforded in revisiting the characters of the first two in the trilogy.
3 out of 5 Stars
A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare
Random House (2009)
eBook: 288 pages