By Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Series or Standalone: Spindle Cove #4.5
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
Lord Dashwood Missed Out is a weird novella for me as I liked it a lot yet didn’t like the central romance. The romance in this novella didn’t work for me for a few reasons, which we’ll get into, but I loved all the scenes with our crew from Spindle Cove. And while the romance didn’t work for me in the end, this was a tropetastic romance novella which I did really appreciate.
Lord Dashwood Missed Out takes place after Any Duchess Will Do as Pauline has invited Miss Elinora Browning, author of the bestselling pamphlet “Lord Ashwood Missed Out: A Gentleman’s Rejection, Rejected,” for a reading at Spindle Cove. Nora wrote the pamphlet after her neighbor who she’d been in love with, Lord Dashwood, left England with a word to her. However, as she heads out to the reading, she gets trapped in a coach as a winter storm delays her travels with none other than Lord Dashwood and is forced to confront the man who broke her heart.
This novella jumps back between the scenes with Nora and Dashwood as they try to make their way to Spindle Cove and the actions in Spindle Cove featuring all our favorite characters. Nora and Dashwood are new characters who appear only in this novella.
The romance didn’t entirely work between Nora and Dashwood despite loving all the tropes that Dare managed to weave into this short tale. We get forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance, virgin hero and literal bodice-ripping all within a hundred pages or so. I truly loved all the tropes that Dare wove in as every time a new one popped up I was dying since it was so fun. However, the romance between Nora and Dashwood ended up not working for me in the end, mainly because it was predicated on him lying to her about everything. I don’t mind a little bit of lying if it makes sense in a broader story, but his lying was purely to trap her in the carriage, confront her on her actions and make her fall in love with him, which rubbed me the wrong way. If this story was longer and we had more time to get to know these characters, it might have worked better, but I did not appreciate Dashwood’s deception and the fact that it comes out after having sex.
While I didn’t love the romance in the end, I did love all the scenes with the characters we know and love from Spindle Cove. Dare had me cackling at a few points with the whole “Lords of Perdition” scenes. When Colin suggested they needed a musical theme, I was entirely sold on this story. I also felt like Griff and Pauline got the most page time of the couples from Spindle Cove, which I genuinely love as they’re my favorite Tessa Dare couple, and I love how all he can about is how he messed up on getting sherry for the reading and finding a way to make it right. Honestly, the scenes with the characters from the previous Spindle Cove novels made this novella for me.
While you don’t have to read Lord Dashwood Missed Out to enjoy the rest of the Spindle Cove series, I’d recommend reading it purely for the Lords of Perdition scenes and the extra scenes you get with the ladies and lads from the previous Spindle Cove series. The romance in this one may leave you wanting more, but Dare more than makes up for it with the characters you know and love. Despite its flaws with the romance, this is a fun, fast read, so I’d recommend reading it if you haven’t!