Tessa Dare – The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr Wright

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Tessa Dare - The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr Wright Well. I hardly know what to say. I didn’t really know what to expect upon reading Tessa Dare’s The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr Wright, having never read one of her books before.

I didn’t expect to be so blown away.

In a good way, I mean.

Miss Eliza Cade longs for her debut. Despite being of age, her father forbids her from having her come-out in society—her troublesome nature would no doubt ruin her sisters’ chances at making successful matches. Only once her sisters have married can she debut. And so one night, Eliza hides in a small room off her parents’ ballroom, spying on her eldest sister’s engagement ball. The last thing she expects is to be caught by the scandalous, dissolute, no-good Mr Wright!

Ms Dare has this way of cramming many years into a story—a novella, in fact—and making it seem as if no time has passed. I’ve never read a book where the story is spread across so many years, and I absolutely loved it. The passing of time is essential to the plot, and as Ms Dare only captures the vital scenes, you don’t feel like you’re being dragged along for this whole time period.

To me, this story had a sort of Pride and Prejudice vibe. We have our heroine, the spirited Miss Eliza, completely misjudging and antagonistic towards our hero, the rakish Mr Harry Wright. When Eliza’s sister Philippa and Harry’s friend Brentley seem inclined towards each other, Eliza is all for the match, while Harry does his utmost to keep them apart. Then we have one annoying, uppity lady, Caroline (name seem familiar?), and Peter Everhart, a military man, marrying into the family in an unexpected way.

It doesn’t wholly match Ms Austen’s story, but there are definitely some general plot points and characters that fit the mark. And who doesn’t enjoy Pride and Prejudice?

I absolutely love the way Eliza and Harry interact. There is the distinct sexual tension in the air, but their exchanges also sizzle with fun and wit. They grow as characters, not just of their own accord, but as a result of their interactions with one another.

Harry is deliciously naughty, and quite frankly, he stole my heart. Ms Dare sums him up quite nicely, I believe: ‘The devil didn’t entice with perfection. He seduced with flaws’.

Let me tell you, this ending had me in stitches from laughing, but also my heart swelling with emotion. It was simply so…so beautiful. And sweet. And…you get the idea.

There was something about this story that seemed so fresh, so original. It doesn’t hurt that the cover really pops!

Now excuse me while I go purchase a good chunk of Ms Dare’s works…

The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr Wright
Tessa Dare
Avon, 2011