A review by overflowingshelf
The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright by Tessa Dare

emotional funny lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


CW: death; grief

I adore Tessa Dare, and seeing as I’ve read all her full-length novels, all that’s left for me to read are the novellas she’s written! I’m a bit hit or miss with her novellas (it’s more of a me problem as I struggle with historical romance novellas), but this one was a short and super cute historical romance story that managed to pack quite a bit into it. Also, I highly recommend listening to it as an audiobook if you’re in the mood for something you can quickly get through – it’s very listenable and quick if you listen to things at 2.5x speed. 

Because of a foolish mistake in her youth, Miss Eliza Cade is not allowed “out” in Society until her three older sisters are wed. She’s trying to be good while waiting to be out but keeps bumping elbows and more with the notorious rake Harry Wright. After starting out on the wrong foot, the more time she spends with him, the more she risks complete ruin as she just cannot resist Mr. Wright. 

This novella spans many years, which I liked as we saw Eliza and Harry’s relationship start on the wrong foot, and how it evolved and grew over time. The time jumps worked really well to keep the momentum moving forward. Dare also used it in fun ways, particularly in the end, to keep you on your toes about what was happening and how Eliza and Harry would get their happily ever after. 

This novella also gave me some major Pride & Prejudice vibes. Eliza and Harry have a very antagonistic relationship at first. He’s truly a bit of an ass in their first meeting, which colors her perspective of him for the years to come. And as much as she wishes never to see him again, fate has other plans, as he always seems to be there when she doesn’t want him to be. Through their interactions over the years, some of the prejudice from that first meeting falls away as she sees the man behind the scoundrel’s reputation, leading to a delicious slow-burn romance with just the right amount of sexual tension and chemistry to have me invested in them getting together. 

I will say, I found Harry a tad creepy initially, though that might be due to the audiobook’s delivery of his lines. He comes on very strong, and Eliza is still so young (she’s only 18), so it took me some time to warm up to him. But warm to him, I did. He’s got a good heart, and despite being scandalous, he’ll do what he can to help those he cares about. I also loved that he views Eliza as an equal since everyone else looks down upon her for a foolish mistake in her youth. 

Eliza initially came off as very young and naive, but I liked watching her grow and mature. She cares deeply for her sisters and also has a good heart. I hated that she was being punished for something that happened when she was 14 (A CHILD), especially as she was trying to be a good friend more than anything. I loved her confidence and how she’s willing to take fate into her own hands at times.

The ending of this novella did not go in the direction I expected at all, yet it worked perfectly, mainly thanks to some of the time jumps and tight plotting from Dare. This novella did seem to miss some of Dare’s signature wit and humor, but I didn’t find the story lacking. 

Overall, this was a super cute, short, yet delightful novella! This novella is not connected to any of Dare’s series, and I was impressed at how easy it was to connect to these characters and get invested in this self-contained story. I think fans of Pride & Prejudice will love this one, and if you’re looking for a short story to help hit your reading goal at the end of the year, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright.

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