Novella Review: Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare


Title: Beauty and The Blacksmith

Author: Tessa Dare


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


Take a trip to Spindle Cove in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare’s gorgeous and sexy Regency romance.

Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman. At least that’s what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana’s not excited by dukes and lords. The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes. By birth and fortune, they couldn’t be more wrong for each other … but during stolen, steamy moments in the smithy, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?


This is the second Spindle Cove novella that I’ve read, and I’ve enjoyed both of them.  I think it’s time for me to graduate to one of the full length novels; I don’t know if I should wait for Any Duchess Will Do, which releases at the end of May, or if I should start at the beginning with A Night To Surrender.  I’ll solve that puzzle on another day, but please note that the first three books in the series are all priced until 4 bucks for the Kindle.

Diana Highwood is infatuated with Aaron Dawes, who is  strong, powerful, and impossibly manly. He is also Spindle Cove’s blacksmith.  Diana has been pining for him, most discreetly, since she moved to the village with her family in hopes of easing the severity of her asthma.  She might call it discreet; I would call it stalking.  In order to gain more time with the man of her fantasies, Diana even stooped to breaking anything that she could find just so she could go to the smithy and ask him to repair all of her broken bits and bobs.  Sometimes more than once.  This made me laugh, because I could just picture the burly Aaron raising a quizzical eyebrow upon seeing Diana’s necklaces or bracelets on several occasions.  He either must have thought she was the clumsiest woman alive, or that she had some serious destructive tendencies, and therefore needed a wary eye kept on her.

Their courtship is hot, hot, hot.  I never stopped to think that having soot rubbed into my clothes might be sexy and stimulating.  Silly me!  I did love how their relationship progressed.  Because of their class differences, and because Diana’s mother had heart set on her daughter “saving” the family by marrying a duke or an earl, they keep things on the down-low.  Since Diana made no outward indication that she was attracted to him, and in fact cast her eyes away when they chanced to meet in the village, nobody has the slightest idea that they were sharing steamy moments together by Aaron’s forge.

What I liked best about this novella was that Aaron allowed Diana to think and act for herself.  He taught her how to drive a team of horses, because he thought it was an important skill to every woman to learn, just in case something happened and they needed to get somewhere, or away from something, quickly.  All through the narrative, Aaron is kind and encouraging of Diana’s attempts to be helpful.  She offers to prepare a meal for him, with hilarious results, and instead of mocking her, he patiently teaches her the finer points of starting a fire and making an omelet.  Not quite the gourmet meal Diana had in mind, but tasty nevertheless.  These are things that women from Aaron’s social class would know how to do from childhood.  These are things that servants take care of for women in Diana’s social class, so she is  hopelessly out of her depth when challenged with these tasks.

In addition to the steamy, yet tender romance,  there’s a mystery to be solved as well.  I honestly would never have guessed the culprit, and I found the entire scene in the tavern hysterical.  I would  like to say that I am too dignified to have been laughing out loud, but that would be a lie. 

So, to sum up Beauty and The Blacksmith, this quick, humorous and sexy read has a feisty heroine who knows what she wants and actively pursues it, a handsome, charming, and ripped hero, and a dash of action and mystery to keep the pages turning.  One caution, though – the story ended at 71% on my Kindle.  The rest of the file contained an excerpt from the forthcoming Any Duchess Will Do, the next full length novel in the Spindle Cove series.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher