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    Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
  • Author:
  • Published: Jul 29th, 2009

tessa_dareReviewed by PJ Ausdenmore
Publisher: Random House
5 Stars

One lucky poster will win The Dangerous Book of Excerpts by Tessa Dare and Courtney Milan, which contains excerpts from Tessa’s first three books and from Courtney’s debut novella (10/09) and debut single title (1/10), plus other goodies from the RWA conference.

Every year there seems to be one debut author who bursts upon the scene and absolutely knocks my socks off with her superb writing skill.  This year, that author is Tessa Dare.  In her debut book, Goddess of the Hunt, Dare showcases her command of the English language with exquisite prose that sings across the pages with a lyrical quality that is a joy to read.  Her characters are so vividly drawn that they practically leap from the pages and her story unerringly hits all the right notes.

Irrepressible Lucy Waltham has fancied herself in love with Sir Toby since the tender age of eleven, when her older brother’s friend dubbed her his “Diana, Goddess of the Hunt”.    She has bided her time, knowing in her heart that one day Toby would awaken to his real feelings for her, but now, eight years later, her brother’s friends have arrived for their annual gathering and, for the first time, Toby is exhibiting a serious interest in someone.  Lucy has no choice but to seduce him and show him that she is the woman of his dreams and the one he is meant to marry, not Miss Sophia Hathaway.  Unfortunately for Lucy, she has never even been kissed but she has a book that explains everything.  All she needs now is someone with whom to practice.

“Lucy! What the devil do you think you’re doing?”  “Shhhh.”  Her eyes darted to either side, scanning the darkened corridor.  Then her gaze tilted back up to his, narrowing with a disturbing intensity, and Jeremy fancied briefly – absurdly – that someone had painted a target on his face.

Jeremy Trescott has always treasured his visits to Waltham Manor, the home of his good friend, Henry Waltham.  It’s the only place where he has ever been able to relax and be himself.  Growing up with parents who showed neither love nor appreciation for their son, Jeremy learned to close off his emotions years ago.  In truth, the only person who has ever been able to get a rise out of him is Lucy, his friend’s exasperating younger sister and in Jeremy’s own words, his “personal version of a biblical plague.”   Now she shows up at his bedroom door in the middle of the night with the crazy idea that she is going to seduce Toby…after honing her skills with him!  If only she wasn’t proving to be such a fast learner.

Jeremy swore inwardly.  What had he done?  He’d opened the door to an awkward virgin, and not a half-hour later, he was sending away a temptress.  It was as though he’d been handed an unloaded gun, only to pack it with powder and buckshot and – dear God – damn near pull the trigger.  Scant minutes ago, she’d been harmless.  Now…

I have always enjoyed the “brother’s best friend” storyline and I was intrigued by Dare’s unique spin on the concept.  Lucy does indeed fall for her brother’s friend, just not the one that she, and everyone else, expected.  But the self admission of her feelings isn’t the end of this story but, rather, the beginning of the second half of the book for her greatest challenge, winning Jeremy’s love, is still to be achieved and this is one hero who doesn’t make it easy.

His hands balled into fists.  How dare she?  How dare she burst into his room and kiss him and dive into a river and invade his dreams and make him go shopping and throw herself headlong into danger and lean back against a pear tree in a dress the exact color of her hair kissed by fading sunlight?  How dare she make him forget?  Damn it all.  Damn her for making him care.

That perhaps is Dare’s greatest talent as a writer.  Aside from the scintillating banter, the lovely, lyrical prose, the humor and angst of young and unrequited love, this is an author who made me care about her characters – all of her characters.  Goddess of the Hunt is the first in a back-to-back trilogy that will be released in August, September and October.  I’ll be counting the days!


29 Responses to “Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare”

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  1. cyclops8
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 4:31 am

    Great review, PJ. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Tessa and GOTH. I’ve also read that friendship is an important theme in her books.


  2. Stacy ~
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 6:38 am

    I’ve been wanting to read this since I first heard about it months ago. Thanx for the lovely review. It’s been ordered, and I cannot wait to read it! The other 2 books look equally as charming, and the covers are gorgeous.


  3. Andrea
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 7:38 am

    Wonderful review, PJ! Can’t wait to read this one!


  4. Buffie
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 7:42 am

    Sounds like another winner. Fabulous review PJ!


  5. KatiDancy
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 8:40 am

    Ok, honestly? I didn’t read the review because I want to be completely unspoiled for this book. It’s getting tremendously positive buzz around the interwebs!


  6. PJ
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 8:52 am

    That’s okay, Kati. I’ve done the same with reviews of many books that I’ve been anticipating, like your review of Smooth Talking Stranger. Much as I wanted to read it, I wanted to be (as you said) completely unspoiled for the book. Hope you enjoy Goddess of the Hunt!


  7. PJ
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 8:54 am

    Hope you enjoy it, Stacy! I think Tessa Dare has an incredibly bright future ahead of her.


  8. PJ
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 8:55 am

    Cyclops8, you’re right. Friendship is a very important theme in this book. I hope you enjoy it!


  9. Lisa from Temple
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 9:37 am

    Great review PJ! You definitely make me want to pick up the book right away. :)


  10. Janga
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 10:05 am

    Another terrific review, PJ! I agree with every word. :) I am confident that this debut novel is just the beginning of a long and celebrated career for Tessa Dare.


  11. FanLit
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 10:09 am

    Thanks for the review, PJ. I’ve been hearing a lot about Tessa over on the JQ/EJ Bulletin Board. It’s always great fun to discover a new author. I’ll have to read this book.


  12. FanLit
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 10:11 am

    It doesn’t look like my comment posted.

    I’ve been reading a lot about Tessa over on the JQ/EJ Bulletin Board. It’s always fun to discover a new author, so I’ll have to pick up this book.


  13. Okie
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 10:26 am

    great review PJ! i got my copy :D and i can’t wait to get started on it.


  14. Jody F.
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 12:59 pm

    Great snippets and great buzz on this book. Really looking forward to it!


  15. tigerfan
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 2:38 pm

    I read GOTH in one sitting last night (thus my baggy, sleepy eyes today) and loved it. As you noted, PJ, the charcterizations are so vivid and the dialogue so crisp and so right for the characters. The book enchanted me; even the throwaway lines were charming (e.g., the “worst kiss,” the clever feet). I’m looking forward to Sophia’s story, although it’ll be hard to top this one!


  16. Angie G
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 3:04 pm

    Thank you for this great review. I’m excited to read it. It’s also great that we won’t have to wait long for the next two books. That’s awesome! :)


  17. sheralyn
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 3:13 pm

    Great review PJ! I had intended to pick up this book all along – it is the book club selection for August, after all – but I had a busy day Tuesday didn’t dash out to look for it.

    Then I read the teaser at Tessa’s site and now your review, and it sounded so perfect for my mood that I had to make a run to the book store immediately. This is the book I’ll start reading this afternoon!


  18. Gannon
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 3:46 pm

    As you already know, PJ, I completely loved this book. I finished the last page with a happy sigh, and I cannot wait for the next two. Tessa is definitely a rising star in the romance community.


  19. Donna B
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 9:25 pm

    PJ, thanks for the great review. You made GOTH sound irresistible, so I’ll have to get a copy. I’m sure the other books will follow. Love back-to-back trilogies.


  20. Marial
    on Jul 29th, 2009
    @ 10:49 pm

    Hi, I would love to try Tessa’s book. The title sounds very parnormal.


  21. PJ
    on Jul 30th, 2009
    @ 8:29 am

    We have winners! Because I have lots of goodies from RWA and because so many of you left comments I decided to randomly draw two names for RWA prize pkgs.

    The first winner is JANGA!

    The second winner is DONNA B!

    Janga and Donna, please send your full name and snail mail address to me at pjpuppymom (at) yahoo (dot) com so I can get your prizes into the mail.


  22. Andrea
    on Jul 30th, 2009
    @ 12:12 pm

    Congrats, Janga and Donna!

    I picked GOTH up at Target this morning…tax free! :)


  23. Grace Fonseca
    on Jul 31st, 2009
    @ 12:22 am

    Really been hearing a lot of good things about her. Hope to read her soon.


  24. Dee
    on Aug 23rd, 2009
    @ 11:21 pm

    Since I kept hearing great things about this author in addition to this review, I added it to my wish list on Amazon and then actually picked it up today at the store. Can’t wait to start it!


  25. Dee
    on Aug 31st, 2009
    @ 9:59 pm

    Absolutely loved it! I started it again tonight as a reread. I can’t get enough. Hopefully, I’ll get Sophia’s book this weekend after payday comes. [I love pay day Fridays!]

    GOTH completely ruined another book for me. I started Julia Quinn’s What Happens in London. I thought the characters were quirky if harmless. After finishing Lucy and Jeremy’s story, I was finding Olivia [the JQ heroine] quite annoying and immature. Seriously, I thought I was anal about list making. I don’t think I ever made a list of things I would never want to happen again.


  26. Mary Jane
    on Sep 19th, 2009
    @ 1:48 am

    Tessa Dare’s characters in “Goddess …” live and breathe. This new writer certainly has a way with words and plot development – just enough foreshadowing to keep things exciting for the reader. “Sophia” added a surprise ending to the first book, leading beautifully into the second, which I’ll order tomorrow, because it’s not in my local bookstore, yet. Hopefully, all of Tessa Dare’s writing will be as good as her first published romance novel.


  27. almas
    on Sep 29th, 2009
    @ 2:27 am

    i want!


  28. Lauren
    on Oct 10th, 2009
    @ 9:19 pm

    I read the first two in her trilogy and am planning on buying the third tomorrow! They were sooo amazing. I loved all the of character and the language was so incredibly beautiful. I have already reread them both. I was also lucky enough to stumble across a section of Eloisa James and Julia Quinn’s bulletin board where Tessa came and discussed her novels! She was very sweet and such a great person. Can’t wait to read Lady of Persuasion!!!!


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