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When She Was Naughty by Tessa Dare cover with a red festive background

Check out Deconstructing Damsels on Instagram and see mini reviews. The first of the year is for When She Was Naughty by Tessa Dare.

Spoilers below.

I love a Tessa Dare work. Total comfort read and the only new one until The Bride Bet comes out. I rated it a solid 4 stars.

Here’s why.

It relied a bit too much on Bridget Jones’ Diary. I enjoy the film but it’s not a favorite. Of course, I don’t care for Pride and Prejudice, either.

I loved, loved the ugly sweater joke. And that Chloe Garland used the opportunity to be a little devilish without being overly cruel. What made the story fall apart a bit was the lack of real chemistry. Lord Cheverell was too Darcy. I didn’t buy that he was in love with her for the proclaimed time.

56 pages seemed way too short. Needed another 20 to really round out their interactions and make me believe in their romance. Too much tell, not enough show.

Chloe was a quintessential Dare heroine: emotionally competent, bright, curious, a little melancholic as life changes. And over 18, so bonus. Plus, I loved that she created the coat, by hand. Obviously a fan of embroidery and work.

Chloe was very family oriented. And the family seemed fun! Her mama’s eyebrow alone. I’m hoping for more novellas in the Garland family. With that many kids, bound to happen…right?

I just wish I had liked Cheverell more. He was too dry, too composed, too unflappable. I don’t think he was the right balance for Chloe. And the proposal seemed too sudden and awkwardly placed. I did like the ending with his hesitation and her openness on the matter.

Solid 4 stars. I do appreciate the fact Dare wrote this during a hard time. It’s not easy. A lovely holiday surprise.

Until Bride Bet comes out, I’ll reread Wallflower Wager the meantime.


Owner of Deconstructing Damsels.

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