Shelf Love

038. A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

Short Description

This episode is the lighthearted romp you need right now.

My friend Becky is the kind of person who believes every misconception about the romance genre, so I gave her one of modern romance’s most treasured works, A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare, and crossed my fingers that this book could reach Becky and at least bust some of the myths about romance.

But is witty banter, a rom com regency, and a cast of lovable characters enough to kindle the fires of love for romance in the depths of Becky’s cold, black New England soul?


romance novel discussion, historical romance

Show Notes

Shelf Love:

Sign up for the Shelf Love newsletter for bonus content!

My guest Becky is big on Instagram and first joined me on episode 6 - we read Halloween Boo.  In this episode, we read A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare, which was kindly recommended by Lara van Lelyveld in episode 6.

Books/Media Mentioned:

Modern Romance Canon Nomination by Hannah Hearts Romance: Unclaimed by Courtney Milan

If you’d like to recommend Becky’s next romance, here’s what we’re looking for:

Yes to: Contemporary, crime, murder, political intrigue, external plot, kept on toes entire time not knowing what’s coming

No to: Historical, Mystery, fantasy/magic, internal musing


038 A Week To Be Wicked

[00:00:00] Andrea Martucci: Welcome to episode 33 of shelf love. Every week we use romance novels as the text to explore identity, relationships, and the society that we live in. I'm your host, Andrea Martucci, and this week I'm joined by my BFF Becky, who is not a romance reader. I know, right? We first heard from Becky way back in episode six when we read Halloween boo.

Let's just say it's not a great book to use to introduce someone to romance. In that episode, I got advice from several other romance experts about great books to use to introduce new readers to romance and A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare topped the list. Becky and I set a calendar reminder for two months, and here we are six months later, finally talking about it.

Stick around after our conversation for Courtney Milan modern romance cannon nomination from Hannah heart's romance. So to be fair to you, Becky, you did actually read this book four months back around the time that we said we're going to read it.

Becky: Right. That's very true. I read it. I was a little late in getting started, but I did read it within a reasonable timeline set out by you.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah, and then I remember it was around new year's. And you were like, Hey, what am I going to do this? And I was like, Oh, I'm like real booked up recordings. I was like, well, we'll figure it out. I'll definitely get on reading it and we'll make it happen.

Becky: You gave me a task and then you had better things to do.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Becky: Is what actually happened.

Andrea Martucci: I'm a real bitch. Okay, so then. You know, the funny thing is, is I started reading it and I was like, Oh, I've read this before. So ironically... Let's remind the audience, say, if somebody hasn't listened to episode five (actually it was episode 6) already, let's remind the audience about your regular reading habits.

So what are you reading now? What do you tend to read? Just give us a lay of the land, if you will.

Becky: I read a lot of mostly nonfiction. Mostly nonfiction. Currently, I am completely engrossed in a book called Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. And it's  about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes, which is a topic that I have, uh, exhaustedly read and listened to podcasts on and am pretty low key obsessed with.

So I think I've listened to every podcast and watched every documentary about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. I'm obsessed. And John Carreyrou was featured quite prominently in all of those things cause he basically like exposed her. For being terrible. And his book is nothing short of incredible. So I recommend it for anyone who's low key, obsessed with failure and secrets in life like I am.

Andrea Martucci: And so you've also noted that you have an interest in books about geology, about rock formations.

Becky: Yeah. It's true. Uh, I've read a lot of books about, about geology, volcanoes, glaciers, sort of the natural history of the world. I'm pretty obsessed. So that was the tiny nugget that we latched on to, to get me to read this book was wait a minute. Geology. Okay. We're going to go with that.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Okay. So understanding what your regular reading habits are: very much based in hard cold science fact.

Becky: True. It's true. I am also reading, I am also reading the Excel Bible. The 2019 version.

Andrea Martucci: She's not lying folks. I've seen it.

Becky: Here it is.

Andrea Martucci: I'm literally looking at it.

Becky: There it is.

Andrea Martucci: It's the 2019 Bible. Aren't you worried that the 2020 version has some updates that are critical?

Becky: I was informed by my Xcel boyfriend that the 2019 version is the version that everybody who's anybody using Excel is, is using. So  --

Andrea Martucci: See, I can't even joke about it because you are, you have a factual answer about why the 2019 version is actually better.

Becky: I, I did my research and it is true. I also don't think the 2020 version is out yet.

Andrea Martucci: That's totally possible.

Becky: So this is the most up to date. It is approximately 700 pages long, and I'm on page like 60 so listen, actually jump around. There's a lot of different features that I already know how to use.

Andrea Martucci: So now to jump to your second romance novel, your first romance novel was a bit of a fail.

We basically threw you in to the deep end of romance, and then we just kind of like throttled back a bit. I don't know car metaphors, but we just, we just, uh, I dunno. Mm. See. I don't know how to explain like what a starter romance is that doesn't sound like I'm belittling the books. They're not like for children.

It's just they're...maybe like require less in depth, layered understanding of the genre to kind of appreciate them. So I [00:05:00] dunno. Anyways, we read A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare. What did you think about it? Did you think it was a book worth reading?

Becky: I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read. As you know, I had feelings about Halloween Boo

Andrea Martucci: Who doesn't?

Becky: They were very strong feelings, four pages of notes on a novella.

Strong. I was instructed to not take notes for A Week To Be Wicked, which I did not. It was very against my better judgment for pretty much everything, to not take notes, but I did not, and I was surprised at how easy it was to read and I was surprised at how quick of a read it was. It got through it really, really easily and quickly.

It was a bit flowery prose-wise for me. I'm just. I'm used to reading the Excel Bible, so -


so it was a little bit, it was a bit much as far as as reading is concerned, and I don't generally read a lot of fiction. Anyway, so any kind of overly romantic or descriptive or whatever, just seems a little bit too much for me.

But I did it. I dealt with it and I read the whole thing. I read the whole thing, I read the whole thing.

Andrea Martucci: What is, okay, just as a frame of reference, like what is the last book of fiction that you read and or enjoyed?

Becky: Um, that's a really good question. It is it, can it be a first time reader or reread

Andrea Martucci: Either?

Becky: The last, I think the last fiction book that I read it, it had to be a re-read cause I don't typically pick up fiction books at all. Oh, I read the Handmaid's Tale. That was -

(Andrea starts laughing, Becky joins her)

-- the last book that I read. That's the last fiction book that I read for the first time.  And that was probably two years ago.

Andrea Martucci: Wow. Okay. So I mean, so just to get the context of Becky as a reader, like it's not even like you're cranking through literary novels or other types of fiction. Like you don't even really find yourself going to fiction that often.

So for you to go from The Handmaid's Tale being your last read book of fiction like two years ago.

Becky: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: To, you know, Tessa, Dare, I feel like the fact that you enjoyed it and got through it is kind of, you know, high praise.

Becky: Yeah. I -- listen, it was a school assignment, so like, let's be honest about that. I was assigned, I was assigned a text to read, and I am a very ,

Andrea Martucci: diligent

Becky: diligent. And I do

Andrea Martucci: disciplined.

Becky: Yes. So I do what I'm told, and I read the book that I was assigned. That was my homework and I'm a very good student, so I did it. I would not have picked it up otherwise.

(sensual relaxing musical plays in the background)

Andrea Martucci: For anybody who has not read a week to be wicked yet. Here is the plot synopsis. So Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove's confirmed spinsters needs to be in Scotland. Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne. A rake of the first order, needs to be anywhere but Spindle Cove. These unlikely partners have one week to fake an elopement, convince family and friends they're in love,  outrun armed robbers, survive their worst nightmares, travel 400 miles without killing each other. All well, sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night. What they don't have time for is their growing attraction, much less wild passion and heaven forbid they spent precious hours bearing their hearts and souls --

(music cuts abruptly)

I want to let everybody know that Becky has been mocking my reading the entire time.

Becky: I'm just dancing.

Andrea Martucci: Yes. Uh Oh wait, hold on.

(music picks back up)

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble and maybe just maybe (music fades out)

Becky: Ahh That's the. Auditory representation of the face that I just made.

Andrea Martucci: So, so Becky, okay. So we, we got you into this novel with the fact that Minerva is a geologist.

Becky: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: And she's a blue stocking. This is a, I don't know--

Becky: I don't know what that is. I don't know what a bluestocking is.

Andrea Martucci: It's basically an academic young lady.

Becky: Okay.

Andrea Martucci: In the time where ladies, it's like, Oh, you read books. Gross. Yeah, so I think it's a Regency. I don't actually, I'm not like a stickler for the time periods. It's 1800s England. Who cares. Okay,

Becky: cool.

Andrea Martucci: So when you first read the plot synopsis, what was your initial reaction?

Becky: I rolled my eyes.

Andrea Martucci: I knew it.

Becky: It's tropey. I knew exactly what was going to happen before I even read the book. Like I, it's, it was all. Romcom tropey. Romance. Like I, [00:10:00] I knew the story before I even opened the book. With that being said, I didn't dislike it.

Andrea Martucci: So this is the interesting thing about the romance genre because the trope-iness is often what is used as a criticism of the genre and yet readers of the genre love the tropes because I think what most people really enjoy about it is it's like, okay, you've given me an understanding of like, is this the type of romance that I'm going to enjoy? But then the journey, if you will, there is a literal journey in this one --

Becky: yeah, literally -

Andrea Martucci: -- is gonna- I mean, you know, like different things are going to happen.

I'm going to see the actual characters themselves. They may be an archetype, but I'm going to see them grow and I'm going to see these people fall in love and I'm going to be along for the ride. So I always think it's interesting that non-readers of romance, like I think instantly latch onto the, like the trope-iness.

But I'm, I'm glad that, so, you know, you said you enjoyed it despite that. And so I think that that's one thing that is kind of surprising for people who are not like immersed in the genre, is that you can still enjoy it knowing what's going to happen.

Becky: Yeah. I mean, there were some moments that like not moments that were a surprise because I feel like it wasn't all predictable, but it was just very, like, it followed a very formulaic cadence.

Down to like every day they got a little bit further into each other's bodies, like, come on. That's not -- like number one. That's not going to happen. Like, you know, you're going to do it on the first night. Like, don't be stupid. Like, come on. But like, yeah, so night one was like, I looked at her tits. Night two, she brushed her hand on my boner. Night three we woke up spooning each other. Night for - like, you know, like it was just very like, okay, I know that we're not going to get to the hardcore stuff until night seven like I know it. Like I know it's going to, I know what's going to happen.

Andrea Martucci: I'm going to start a boner counter every time you say the word boner.

Becky: Andy did say, he did ask me very specifically if we were going to talk about boners. (boner bell) Andy's my husband. For those of you who don't know me. He did ask if we were going to talk about boners (boner bell) and he did specifically ask about ghost boners (boner buzzer) because he knows the happenings from last time.

Andrea Martucci: There were only corporeal boners in this book.

Becky: It's true. There were no ghosts at all in this book, which was a nice -

Andrea Martucci: so refreshing

Becky: --change of pace for me. No, it's a nice change of pace for romance novels for me.

Andrea Martucci: So, you know, I think what you said about the evolving sexual relationship between the couple is interesting cause I mean, I think it followed the course of their deepening emotional relationship, like their physical intimacy and their emotional intimacy kind of advanced along apace, let's say.

Becky: Sure. Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: So Becky, I know this is a hard question for you. How did this book make you feel?

Becky: I, I don't know that it made me feel anything (sad trombone) like, like I remember reading it and being like, Oh, this is surprisingly not terrible. And I read it, but I don't really remember feeling anything significant reading it.

Like I, I wasn't like blown away.

Andrea Martucci: So what's funny about this is, as I said, I have actually read this book before and I think that I read it in a period of time where I probably went to the library and like cleared the shelf of every Tessa Dare book and came home and read the entire Spindle Cove series all at once.

So as soon as I started reading this, I was like, Oh no, I know. I know what happens in this. Like I know the story of the couple, and I remember this clearly, and I know I enjoyed it, but like I just didn't associate it very strongly with like the title because I just considered it sort of like in the realm of like, Tessa Dare's oeuvre, you know.

Becky: Sure.

Andrea Martucci: But as soon as I started reading it again, even though I had read this actual specific book before, like maybe two or three years ago, but like I have read this book before, I know what's going to happen. I enjoyed it so much. Like I read it literally over the last, let's say 48 hours, like from start to finish.

Becky: Yeah,

Andrea Martucci: And I was in love all over again. I was like, Oh my God, I love this book. The banter, the, you know, the couple that, you know, Colin. Oh my God. Minerva she's so great. I loved it. And there was this one scene in particular. I'm curious how you felt, if you recall the scene. My heart almost fell out of my chest at the scene.

Like I felt. I felt it. Okay. And it's the scene where they are at his manor and you know, they've been in this sort of like traumatic experience where it's clear that they're not going to make it to Scotland in time and it's pouring rain and she's cold and they get back to his house. And it's kind of [00:15:00] like, it feels like they've failed, but also their emotional, their relationship is kind of starting to get really deep and they start having sex and he's basically like asking very basic questions like, okay, do you want to do this? Okay, great. Like do you, do you want to have sex?

Basically, but then he starts asking if she does love him, like, so do you love me? And then he's basically saying. Love me. So he's asking her to love him, and it's this pivotal moment because for his character, he has insisted that she'll be better off without him up until this point.

And then, he becomes like really demanding and it's like he's finally fighting for her. And there's this one quote in particular, it says, "he pumped her steadily driving into her at just the angle he knew she craved."

Becky: snorting laughter

Andrea Martucci: I knew if it was about sex, you would laugh. Okay. And then he says - Becky is literally snorting.

Becky: I'm here. Go ahead.

Andrea Martucci: He says, "love me. Don't ever stop. You hear me? It won't be this good with anyone else. Only me, Min, only me." And I think that line in particular, just this, the "it won't be good with anyone else," which from an abusive partner is not good.

Becky: No.

Andrea Martucci: Like nobody else will ever love you. He didn't say

Becky: Right, no one will ever love you like I do. No, I know. I know, but it, it, it echoes of,

Andrea Martucci: but I think in the context of his character,

Becky: I don't remember reading it like that.

Andrea Martucci: Oh, interesting.

Becky: I didn't take it like that. No, I didn't take it as,

Andrea Martucci: Oh as like the abusive,

Becky: no, no, no, not, not for a second. Cause I'd been, I'd been along for the ride with these two the whole time and there was no part of him that was like that. So I didn't read it like that.

Andrea Martucci: Right. And it's, but it's just like such a reversal of his emotional pain where he like doesn't expect anything. And for him to actually be like. No, I am actually so good for you. I want to make you happy. He's literally just saying like, I will give you more orgasms than anybody else ever can.

I mean,

Becky: basically,

Andrea Martucci: is that such a bad thing?

Becky: Oh, I never thought it was a bad thing. I don't think she has any other frame of reference.

Andrea Martucci: I mean, she literally has no other frame of reference.

Becky: He's, he's winning the war at this point. Like. She's like, yeah, you, you're right. That's, that's statistically accurate.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. But I think that just like punched into my stomach like, do you know what I mean? Like that, reading that.

Becky: I can, I can see that. Yeah. I think, I think I failed to become emotionally invested in the story, and I don't know if it's because I don't read fiction or if it's because this was a homework assignment or, you know, I think there were a lot of variables that went into me reading this that didn't -- not allow me to, to emotionally invest in it. Cause I like - no one tells, no one tells Becky what to do.

Andrea Martucci: No one puts Becky in a corner.

Becky: But I just - that scene didn't hit me in any way because I just didn't have any feelings about it.

Andrea Martucci: You had laughter when I said he pumped her steadily.

Becky: I laughed probably out loud when I read that line too, so that's pretty fair.

Andrea Martucci: So you felt joy.

Becky: Oh, sure.

Andrea Martucci: Give me one feeling, Becky.

Becky: Look, I, I didn't, I didn't, I, the book was fine. Like I read it, I read the whole thing. I'm, I'm not going to start reading romance novels.

Andrea Martucci: Oh boy.

Becky: It's just not my genre. And, and I don't know that it ever will be. And that's fine. It's people are different and we can love each other, even if we're different.

It's just, it's just, it's just not my thing.

(internse musical interlude)

Andrea Martucci: Okay, so let's talk about, let's talk about some aspects of this book that we can analyze coldly and critically.

Becky: Because that's who Becky is.

Andrea Martucci: Yes.

Becky: Cold and critical. That's my girl.

Andrea Martucci: Let's reach deep into Becky's cold, New England black soul, and talk about something.

So let's talk about the characters.

Becky: Okay.

Andrea Martucci: What did you like about the characters? Did you dislike anything about them? Did anything they do seem out of character, and so we're talking about Colin and Minerva.

Becky: Yeah, I did enjoy the teasing. I thought it was a bit over the top in a lot of cases, but I did enjoy the banter.

It was good. So that's not necessarily like a character thing, but, but it is. I liked that she was an intellectual. I liked that a lot. It was, it was refreshing and not your usual like damsel in distress. Although there was a bit of a element of damsel in distress, but like there was a twist on it, you know,

Andrea Martucci: When?!

Becky: It wasn't like, what do you think? You're being sarcastic, right?

Andrea Martucci: No wait, no. What are you thinking of specifically?

Becky: Like, it's not like distress, but it's like, I have to get to Edinburgh for this symposium and I need you to help me and let's lie about falling in love and like she couldn't have got there without him, I guess.

Andrea Martucci: I mean, [00:20:00] logistically in the time period, that's actually fairly realistic.

Becky: No, totally. And like I'm, like I said, it's not a damsel in distress kind of situation, but like there was an element of it where like she, (Becky's phone makes a noise) 

Andrea Martucci: is that your reminder to talk to Andrea about A Week To Be Wicked

Becky: It was my, that was my phone. It was an Instagram notification.

Andrea Martucci: Becky's kind of big on Instagram,


Becky: kind of a big deal on Instagram.So I silenced my phone so y'all don't need you to listen to that. So I did like her. I liked the fact that she was into like digging up dinosaurs and I liked the fact that she had this cool little cave that she like went to to do her research and she knew about the, you know, she had the tide clock in her head and like, she knew when the, when the best time to like go and swim to this cave and like, she was bold enough to like stripped down to her like 1800s unders.

Andrea Martucci: Her chemise?

Becky: Right. Like, and like leave them on the beach. Yeah. Like that was cool. And like she had, she had like her wits about her. Like she, she knew who she was and she knew what she wanted. And I like that. I admire that in a woman regardless of the time period that she exists in. I didn't like necessarily the way that she, and this is, again, it's very tropey, but it's very like bespectacled girl with her hair up is nerdy, but the minute that she takes her glasses off and her hair, her Auburn waves tumbled down her back. She instantly becomes this like desirable, buxom vixen, who the guy is like boner! (boner bell) You know what I mean? Like that's super tropey to me. It's every. It's, I, it reminds me of the movie She's All That.

Andrea Martucci: Oh, sure.

Becky: Yeah. What's that? Was that the movie where the girl was an artist or whatever like it was. It just, that's all I could think of the whole time.

Andrea Martucci: What about though, do you feel there are though people -- and maybe this was the lesson in She's All That as wel--  where they hide behind a sort of facade, like it's not so much -- and maybe this is where She's All That stumbled in sort of telling this story -- but like it's not literally just taking off your glasses and cutting your hair and waxing your eyebrows.

It's the sort of inner confidence that maybe a change of circumstances brings out.

Becky: I don't think Minerva was ever lacking confidence. I think Minerva more than anyone in the book knows exactly who she is and what she's about. She knows what she wants and she knows that she has to sort of subtly manipulate people to get what she wants and, and I like that.

Like there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with knowing your end game. You know, like she, she knew what she wanted and she, you know, I don't think that she ever lacked confidence. I mean, maybe when it came to romance and being around men.

Andrea Martucci: Right. But so considering the context of her life. Basically, society is telling her, your one job is to snare husband. Like who cares about all this rock nonsense. Just be desirable. She basically makes a conscious decision to not try to compete in the marriage market. She's not trying to be, yeah, she's not trying to be desirable. So she's confident in the things that nobody else gives a shit about, of course, which is, which is great.

So, but, but the thing is is nobody else gives a shit about it. And then the stuff that everybody else cares about, she, as you said, she purposefully pulls back, but, but it's not because she feels, well, I could be great at that if I want to. I just don't want to, she, she knows she's not great at it. Right. So it's a defensive maneuver.

Becky: I think it's just knowing, I think she just plays to her strengths, but I think. I think that Colin, this is a very small town. My, my idea of Spindle Cove is not that it's large,

Andrea Martucci: you'd be correct

Becky: by any means. So you know, they've seen each other a lot and they've interacted with each other somewhat. And the fact that he didn't really like.

He didn't really notice her beauty until she like took her glasses off and unpinned her hair was like, come on. It's just tropey and it's fine. It is what it is. It's a device in a book to move the plot along and that's fine and I'm fine with it.

Andrea Martucci: I thought he did notice her.

Becky: It was just something that annoyed me.

I mean, we, he, it comes, it like comes out later. He's like, I've been watching you from for a years or however long it is, but like, but you don't-- you don't know that at the time when he sees her without glasses for the first time. Like you don't know that backstory. So what it looks like is that sort of tropey She's All That kind of whatever, and that's just on his end.

Like I don't fault her on her end for hiding behind anything cause I don't think that she did. I think that, like I said, she knows who she is and she knows what she's about and I really like her for that. She can spar with him really well, which is cool too. I did like her as a character. I didn't like him as much as a [00:25:00] character because

Andrea Martucci: I'm feigning a heart attack right now.

Becky: Shocking.

Andrea Martucci: I mean I under, I think I understand completely why Min appeals to you more. I think, I guess he seems like fairly inoffensive as -- I mean, I liked him like just to be clear, but like

Becky: I didn't dislike him.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Okay.

Becky: I just didn't like him as much as I liked her

Andrea Martucci: Oh, well that's high praise from Becky.

Becky: Yeah. Yeah. It is high praise from Becky. I don't dislike you.

Andrea Martucci: Wow.

Becky: Generally to the general public. Yeah. I don't dislike you.

Andrea Martucci: So speaking of the banter, I actually did take notes on my book.

Becky: You know, that's not fair because. I feel like I could speak much better to this book had I been allowed to take notes. (Becky is genuinely pissed here)

Andrea Martucci: Sorry! (in a snooty voice)

Becky: Yeah. Well, what, what is actually happening is that you're going to read your notes and I'm going to not remember the specific passage down to the letter and it's gonna it's gonna make me look like all I do is read the Excel Bible.

Andrea Martucci: I mean, to be fair, you have basically said that's all you read. Yeah, I mean, so I will just read a favorite piece of banter. I think, look, I could have underlined basically half this book and then it wouldn't be very helpful in pulling out the best ones, but one that happens really early that I think sets the stage for what comes later is she's making her pitch her, uh, her elevator pitch for why he needs to take her to Edinburgh.

And he goes "a geology symposium." He repeated to himself, "I should have known there'd be rocks at the bottom of this," and then she says, "there are rocks at the bottom of everything. That's why we geologists find them so interesting."

Becky: I like that.

Andrea Martucci: It's like, so like 1940s noir film or something. Yeah. There's rocks at the bottom of everything. (in an old timey voice) That's why we geologists find them so interesting.

Becky: That's why we like it, see (Becky also does an old timey voice)

Andrea Martucci: Shee, Ya shee heah yeah. (riffing continues)

Becky: Basically,

Andrea Martucci: But it's funny, like it's joyful and,

Becky: Totally, and like, listen, I read this book four months ago.

Andrea Martucci: It's true

Becky: and I don't remember it as well as you do having read it in the last 48 hours.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I mean, that's fair. Seems fair to me.

Becky: I'm digging, I'm digging back into a memory that is pretty much made of mashed potatoes at this point, because I've been locked in my house for a month,

Andrea Martucci: A month, 25% of the time since you've read this book has been in the pandemic.

Becky: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: Wow.

Becky: Like a lot of, a lot of that other time was, you know, traveling for work and you know, doing, I've, I've had a really busy past few months, and so, yeah, it's, I - I have forgotten some of the finer points of this book, if I'm fair.

Andrea Martucci: I think another fun thing that happens is when you read the synopsis, you are primed for knowing the actual things that happened, that they're like on this journey and they're outrunning people and they're sort of lying to people along the way.

But. I feel like there's these like really delightful scenes where Colin just comes up with these hilarious stories about who they are and

Becky: they were, that was really funny. The like Crown Prince of Crustacea and like I, I rolled my eyes cause I was like, these fucking people that they're talking to have no idea that he's bullshitting them.

And like. They're like, we've never heard of Crustacea. And he's like, neither had we! They just go along with it. And like that, that made me laugh because I was like, do these people not know what a crustacean is? Like?

Andrea Martucci: They're not Bluestockings.

Becky: Have you never seen a crab like, come on. It was, it was funny. And um, there were parts like that that were funny.

And I, and I remember, I actually do remember a scene that was quite touching. It was the scene in the pub where Minerva started singing. And Colin was like hit to his core with her voice and which of course everyone was surprised that she could sing. Cause like it, I don't know why,

Andrea Martucci: because he had never heard because

Becky: he never heard her sing, that's fine.

Andrea Martucci: Like all the ladies evenings where they would sing, she never sang.

Becky: Yeah. So that was a nice, that was a nice moment where he was like literally moved to tears by her. Not only her voice, but the actual song that she was singing, which like meant something to him. In his past and sort of had this emotional resonance with him as well.

And it was nice. And then of course, that scene was completely ruined by a fucking bar fight, which I was like, come on, like we had a good thing, like, don't ruin it. That, that, that, that, that was like, it was fine.

Andrea Martucci: Do you know what I'm laughing about? Sorry, go ahead. I'm laughing about something else, but

Becky: tell me, tell me what you're laughing at.

Andrea Martucci: So she patches his wounded knuckles. Because [00:30:00] punching somebody hurts.

Becky: Yeah, see. (old timey voice)

Andrea Martucci: Violence is bad. (old timey voice)

Becky: Bam. Right in the kissa. (old timey voice)

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Wow. That is, you should be an actress in the 1940s. So they go to the room and Colin needs to sleep with somebody, otherwise he can't sleep. And I literally mean sleep with somebody, not have sex anyways, so they're sleeping together and.

They awaken to the sounds of a lady, perhaps in distress or perhaps in the throws of passion. And, um, it's the couple at, in the room next door who is having a passionate, they're having a passionate moment. And Minerva initially thinks that the woman is in danger and Colin informs her that it is indeed the little death, not the big one.

Becky: Oh Christ,

Andrea Martucci: And so she's like, Oh, interesting. And then they start engaging in some, I dunno, hand stuff, I think. And the headboard is banging and she's crying and you know, then they start making their own noise. And then the next morning -- apparently the couple in the room next door was the couple, the older couple they had been traveling with.

Becky: Yes.

Andrea Martucci: But of course, Colin and Minerva had been traveling as brother and sister, and they've told all these stories about how Colin is like going into the priesthood and she's, I don't know, like all these crazy stories. And so they think that they're having an incestuous relationship and they like leave without them, which is the first of many mishaps, but it's kind of fun.

Becky: It was funny. It's funny. It was funny. It was funny. And, and I forgot about that until you just re told that story because I read this book four months ago.

Andrea Martucci: It's true.

Becky: But, uh, yeah, there, there were really funny points and you know, points when originally I was like, what? What is the point of him like constantly retelling false stories about. - That like, just say you're a couple. No one knows. No one knows who you are, who cares.

Andrea Martucci: Because unmarried couples can't travel together. (protesting)

Becky: Say that you're married like nobody knows, what do they know?

Andrea Martucci: I do always wonder about that. Like why not just travel as a married couple? I, I, I'll admit, I have wondered that there must be like, I don't know.

Are they going to let go hunt down the marriage registries from the local...

they can't Google it.

Becky: If they had just said that they're a married couple from the beginning, they would have made it to Edinburgh in plenty of time without losing their money. Like they made it. He, in typical man fashion, he made it so much more complicated than it had to be,

Andrea Martucci: But that was Colin. He delighted in...

Becky: I know, he's a showman. He's a showman, and that's what he does. And because that's his defense mechanism is him being a showman and sort of, not reveling in the fact that people get the wrong idea about him, but not being quick to correct anyone who might have the wrong idea about him. And he kind of feeds into that and that's who he is, and that's fine.

So that tracked really well with his character, but it just got. It.

Andrea Martucci: Becky, just imagine, just imagine for a second how boring this book would be if they just sat in a carriage with this couple and their two grown children seven days, six days, five days even.

Becky: I get it. I mean, there's probably another romance novel that could be written about that some.

Andrea Martucci: How interesting would the Theranos story be if Elizabeth Holmes was actually a scientist who actually came up with good business things that was worth money and ran her business sustainably and just had a really successful IPO doot do doo, everything's okay. How interesting would that be, Becky? (Andrea is confrontational)

Becky: I mean, it would still be interesting,

Andrea Martucci: No

Becky: like there's so many Silicon Valley stories that are fascinating from the beginning, but like it wouldn't,

Andrea Martucci: it'd be a two-page HBR case study.

Becky: It wouldn't be as good. It wouldn't have podcasts and documentaries and books. Revealing tell alls.

Andrea Martucci: No, it wouldn't.

Becky: I get it and that's fine. Like, listen, I admit that it was a plot device that needed to happen. I get it. It's fine. I'm here for it. It is what it is. It moved the book along. There were just like some situations where I was like, dude, you like.

You're held at gunpoint because you like told someone you were the crown Prince of Crustacea or something and

Andrea Martucci: they had to save Francine.

Becky: They saw you like three days later on the same road and were like, Hey, you're the one who tried to lie to me. (old timey voice returns)

Andrea Martucci: You see here (old timey voice, obviously)

Becky: Say, yeah, I 'm going to get you. Like. And then they like chase him through the woods and like he got tied to a tree at some point and then she had to come rescue him, which I liked that she had to come rescue him. That was, that was a nice, that was a nice change of pace.

Andrea Martucci: She was willing to shoot somebody.

Becky: And I do really remember the scene right after that that stands out in my mind was when they were just running and running and running and they'd come to this huge field and it's like, this. Big sprawling like typical England, like open field, and they just like lay down in like [00:35:00] the wild flowers or something and it's like a really beautiful sunny day.

I remember that scene really well.

Andrea Martucci: awww,

Becky: I like it. I like it. And I don't know

Andrea Martucci: Did you feel something, Becky?

Becky: I remember, I mean, listen the depth of my feelings only go so far, but I remember really enjoying that scene. And then of course they like did it right afterward, but

Andrea Martucci: I don't think they did.

Becky: No, they did.

Andrea Martucci: In the field?

Becky: Yeah. Cause nobody could see them cause like the grass was so long or whatever and

Andrea Martucci: they didn't, they didn't do it.

Becky: Somebody had, somebody had an orgasm,

Andrea Martucci: maybe I'll give you, I'll give you that.

Becky: Something happened in that field, someone was happy in that field.

Andrea Martucci: Speaking of England. Your husband's from England.

Becky: Very true.

Andrea Martucci: Whereabouts? The city or the country?

Becky: The co, uh, no. Um, suburbs. He grew up about 40 minutes South of London, between London and Brighton.

Andrea Martucci: Did you ever spend any time when you were studying abroad in that fair country, on that fair island, out in the country?

Becky: Uh, yeah. I mean, the university that we met, the university at, which we met was in the country, per se,

Andrea Martucci: using the Queen's English?

Becky: I was trying to,

I tried to correct my grammar. I find that people take me a lot more seriously when I sort of compose emails like that and people are like, Oh, this bitch reads the Excel Bible. Like let's, let's, let's give her some, let's give her some

Andrea Martucci: Let's pay her money.

Becky: Yeah, let's, let's give her, let's give her a raise. The university that we met at which, which, which we met, was in the, was in the countryside. So yes, I, I'm very familiar with the sprawling fields and farmlands of the UK.

Andrea Martucci: Did you ever -

Becky: No. (Andrea and Becky laugh)


Andrea Martucci: Let me finish. Make sweet love in a beautiful field of bluebells in the English countryside?

Becky: No.

Andrea Martucci: All right.

Becky: Sorry.

Andrea Martucci: Wa wa womp (actual sad bummer sound effect also plays) 

Becky: super, sorry.

(musical interlude)

Andrea Martucci: So given that you have basically no experience with the romance genre, let's just forget Halloween Boo happened.

Becky: Done.

Andrea Martucci: It is a great episode though.

Becky: Kelvin listened to it and

Andrea Martucci: Oh, our mutual personal trainer. Oh, right. Because I told him to, did he did. He said that when he listened to it, he would give my podcast a five star review.

Becky: Oh, I wonder if he did. I can text him and ask.

Andrea Martucci: Ask him right now. By the way, listeners, you should give the podcast five star review on Apple podcasts.

Becky: I did it.

Andrea Martucci: Becky did it. See guys,

Becky: Hey, I can do it, you can do it. See, (old timey voice...this gag will continue) 

Andrea Martucci: I mean, you kind of have to like have iTunes or an Apple device. It kinda sucks. But anyways, I digress.

given that you basically have zero experience with the romance genre, was there anything surprising to you about this book? Perhaps an element that you enjoyed that you did not think you would enjoy or something you didn't think was common in a romance novel.

Becky: I'm thinking,

Andrea Martucci: I can tell,

Becky: I mean, I think I've said it before and I don't want to keep saying it cause I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but I, I was surprised at how easy it was to read and the dialogue was great.

Like it was really good. The back and forth between the two of them was, was wonderful. I mean, that is the definition of dialogue. Um, so there we go.

Andrea Martucci: Do you find it that people take you more seriously when you use words correctly? According to their definition?

Becky: Yes. It's surprising. I know. I liked their banter.

It was, it was good. It was witty. It was not expected, especially after the only other romance novel that I'd ever read.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah, (sadly)

Becky: it was nice. It was, it was refreshing. Compared to the other one.

Andrea Martucci: Do you - we won't speak with the other one. Do you feel though, like that surprise is tied to perhaps, uh, your understanding of the romance genre, like having some understanding that they were not well written? Do you think? And I'm not being like, why didn't you know this? I just think that's a common misconception about romance novels. I'm just curious, like, do you think that's kind of where your surprise came from?

Becky: Yeah. And, uh, I've been following your romance novel misconception posts on Instagram. Listen, I pay attention. Okay. I do my work and I will admit that every single one of your misconceptions I am also misconceived is that the proper usage of that word? Like

Andrea Martucci: you are misconceived.

Becky: I am also, I also subscribe to those misconceptions and I am your average

Andrea Martucci: human

Becky: non romance subscriber.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Becky: You know? So all of those sort of ideas about romance novels that I have, I -- can you hear my cat crying at the door? She's so upset that she can't get into the bedroom right now.

Andrea Martucci: It's better than your kid crying at the door,

Becky: and it's true. Which happened the first time we recorded

Andrea Martucci: you don't say? (old timey voice)

Becky: Hey, the [00:40:00] kids came in, yeah. (old timey voice) We have children. That's a story. What was I saying?

Andrea Martucci: Oh, you're a misconceiver. You, you are filled with the misconceptions of romance.

Becky: It's true. And every single one of them, you know, every single post that you made, I was like, yeah, I also feel that way. So I, you know, still even knowing all of this and even having, you know, doing my second podcast ever, both of which are about romance novels,

Andrea Martucci: something you have a depth of knowledge about.

Becky: Sure. I still. I still feel the same way, but maybe not to as much of a ridiculous degree as I did before.

Andrea Martucci: Interesting.

Becky: My idea hasn't changed.

Andrea Martucci: Ooh, (pained)

Becky: well,

Andrea Martucci: Becky, when you say that, I just want to prove you wrong,

Becky: but I'm not. I'm never like, I think we gave it the old college try.

Andrea Martucci: Ooh (deeply pained)

Becky: I'm just not a romance novel reader.

Like. I mean, are you going to come here and study Excel with me? Like, like they're just things that people --

Andrea Martucci: I like Excel!

Becky: Okay, well then let's have a study date, let's have a podcast about Excel.

Andrea Martucci: I know how to do things

Becky: let's make a pivot table and do V lookup look ups.

Andrea Martucci: Oh I've done V Lookups

Becky: I mean like, let's do this shit, right? Like, it's fine. It's my cat howling. Listen, I'm never going to be turned into a romance novel reader.

It's just not going to happen. However, I do have a slightly different view of romance novels, now that I've read one that is terrible and one that is good,

Andrea Martucci: Right. So I think this is my goal, is I don't need to turn you into a romance reader. I need to turn you into somebody who doesn't have misconceptions about the romance genre

Becky: fair. That only comes with time and exposure.

Andrea Martucci: I agree, but, so here's my question for you. I'm trying to think about like what's another genre that you are not well-read in? Would you say mystery novels are a genre --

Becky: definitely mystery. I'm not into mystery. I'm not into anything historical or period, like I'm just not going to read Pride and Prejudice, like it's just not, yeah, it's not my thing.

Andrea Martucci: Sorry. Do you think Pride and Prejudice is a mystery novel?

Becky: No. Historical. Yeah, I know it's not.

Andrea Martucci: I was like, Oh,

Becky: no, no, no.

Andrea Martucci: Some might call it a romance novel.

Becky: Yes. I was just about to say that. It is, it is sort of a, an historical romance and, and fine. Um, I don't know that I've ever read a mystery novel. I did read what was the, I really liked, I don't mind a good true crime novel or like a crime novel.

I really enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. Like that was great. What else did I really enjoy? I'm trying to think about the fiction, the fiction that I enjoy.

Andrea Martucci: The five novels that you read,

Yes, the five fiction

Becky: novels that I've read. I read at the same time that I read the Handmaid's Tale. I read --

Andrea Martucci: Oryx and Crake.

Becky: No I read The Girl On The Train.

Andrea Martucci: Oh God, that's such a depressing book.

Becky: Oh, it was -- I thought it was great. Like, I loved it. She's like, just such a --

Andrea Martucci: She's in a blackout drunk haze.

Becky: No, totally, totally, but like,

Andrea Martucci: she's an unreliable narrator. It's so bleak.

Becky: I loved that she was the narrator though. I loved that and I loved that she was this completely imperfect, fucking depressed.

Everyone thinks this bitch is bat shit crazy and like it turns out that like she is, but also like she's not.

Andrea Martucci: Becky. How do you feel about the concept of hope? What do you feel about hope? I'm just curious. I have no ulterior motive in asking.

Becky: I don't - like, I think I'm an overall hopeful person.

Andrea Martucci: Do you feel like you don't seek that in your fiction though? Like hopeful narratives?

Becky: Definitely not. No. No. I don't need a, I don't need a happy ending to a story. I need a good story that makes me not want to look away. I need a story that completely engrosses me into whatever it is. Even if it's not a happy ending.

Andrea Martucci: What if, even if it is a happy ending?

Becky: I mean, I've definitely read books that have happy endings, but like it's not something that I seek out, you know? I'm not going to put down a book like The Girl on the Train because it didn't end in a shiny way. Like that's, that's humanity. Like humanity is not always shiny.

It's, it's not always perfect. And I think that I might be a bit of a practical realist in that sense, where I'm like, not everything has a happy ending. Not everything is a beautiful rainbow unicorn love story. And that's okay too, because there's room in life for both of those things, for all of those things and everything in between.

I just recalled another one of my favorite fiction books is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Did I say his name right?

Andrea Martucci: I would say Eugenides but you might've said it right. Who could say?

Becky: Who cares? I mean, I care. It was a great book. And again, that's like an incredible story.

Andrea Martucci: Hold on. It's all Greek to me.

Becky: It's all Greek [00:45:00] to me. An incredible story.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Becky: You know, didn't necessarily end with shiny unicorns. Right. It ended on a, on a very, like, what now? Kind of note.

Andrea Martucci: So, okay, so endings aside and maybe this novel, you know what's interesting is that I think this novel is like very light hearted, joyful.

Is Andy bringing the cat into you?

Becky: He let the cat in.

Andrea Martucci: Andy! Jesus.

Becky: There's a reason why --

Andy (Becky's British Husband): She's been screaming for 20 minutes.

Becky: I know!

Andrea Martucci: Andy occupy the cat.

Becky: Give her some something. Ow! She's cutting into my leg. All right. Come on, cat. Get up here. I'm going to give my cat a platform on which to park her.

Andrea Martucci: Oh, don't give her a platform. She'll never shut up.

Becky: Come on Biz.

Can you lift her up and put her on my desk?

Now that you've done the work.

Andrea Martucci: Hi Andy.

Becky: Okay. There she is. There's the girl. She's here

Andrea Martucci: Bye Andy. He can't hear me.

Becky: He can't hear you. He's just standing there like

Andrea Martucci: I'm British! (Becky starts laughing)  (in a British accent)

Andy (Becky's British Husband): Is this a really trendy silent podcasts?


(this part is pretty ridiculous and involves Becky trying to give the cat back to Andy, who eventually does take the cat out of the room but not before Andy Asks:)

Becky: I love you. Bye. I love you. Bye.

Andy (Becky's British Husband): Vehicle expenses, your vehicle expenses, for your photography,

Becky: I'll do my mileage. I'll, I'll fill that. I'll build an Excel spreadsheet.

Andrea Martucci: What about a V lookup? We create functions.

Becky: Oh, Christ. Okay.

Andrea Martucci: He's an accountant.

Becky: Okay. It's funny because he also uses Excel.

Andrea Martucci: Okay, so here's. Here. Here's just what I'm thinking with this, because I think A Week to be Wicked. I think it's a great book.

It is very hopeful. It is very lighthearted. It does not delve into any of the seamier aspects of life really.

Becky: Correct. Really, yeah.

Andrea Martucci: I think that a lot of romance does do those things, so it would be a misconception of the genre to think that nothing in the genre is gritty. This particular book is not very gritty.

Becky: Sure. And it could also be argued that those partaking in romance novels might just want that kind of escape, right?

Andrea Martucci: Yeah, for sure. Well, right now, I think right now in particular, a lot of people are gravitating toward fiction -

Becky: I thought we weren't going to talk about that though.

Andrea Martucci: I mean, I'll just, I'll only glance on it.

Becky: Don't talk about the quarantine

Andrea Martucci: The Corona. I think, I think some people are like, I don't want to be confronted with the seamier aspects of life right now because I am dealing with them outside of this.

Becky: Totally, totally. I mean, there are some TV shows that I can't watch right now that I just can't, it's just too much to try to invest in emotionally because my, my emotional bandwidth, maybe A Week to be Wicked would be the perfect book for me to read right now, having never read it before.

Like I, we started watching season three of West World. And I just can't do it. It's too heavy. Well, and I love West World. I mean, you know, like I am an HBO drama series fanatic. Like Game of Thrones is my life. I love West World. I love that shit. And I can't, I just can't do it. Like Andy wants to rewatch season two and there's one episode in season two that, like, I remember particularly hitting me really, really hard when I watched it the first time and I can't face that episode again. Yeah. It's just too heavy for me right now. And we started to watch Chernobyl.

Andrea Martucci: Oh boy.

Becky: Normally like come on, like normally, like that's, I would love that stuff. Right. But I can't, it's just too depressing and it's too, it's hitting too close to home right now.

I think had we been able to anticipate a months long, [00:50:00] isolated quarantine for the entire world, who does that get? Um, you know, maybe I would have a different view of this book. Now with the, with the mindset that I'm in now. Also, I probably would not have had the wherewithal to actually sit down and read it.

Because I am exhausted.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Right. Well, and I think that that definitely speaks to what a lot of people enjoy about the romance genre is, so obviously there's like a range of books and moods and topics and everything. So you know, like, yeah, there are definitely people who gravitate more towards like.

Romance with a bit more of like a mystery and like a a crime subplot or some people really love regencies, you know, more like this book, like historical, like send me back into the past and we're going to wear frilly dresses and drink tea and it's going to be great.

Becky: Yeah, no,

Andrea Martucci: You know, there is some contemporaries that are like romcoms and there's some contemporaries that are more like gritty dealing with.

Life as it is, which unfortunately is not always pleasant.

Becky: Right.

Andrea Martucci: So I guess where I was going with, you know, asking these questions is, it's interesting because I, I can see also like, I'm glad that you enjoyed this book to the extent that you enjoyed it, particularly having read it four months ago and like what I'm tempted to do is to like, keep trying to like, pinpoint the kind of romance that resonates more with you. I don't want you to feel like you're continuing to get book assignments and I will not ask you to come back on the podcast and like

Becky: no, I think this is a good piece of like continuity. Like every few months your, your like dorky friend checks in who doesn't read romance novels and it's like on this episode of Becky read her third romance novel. You know, like, I think -

Andrea Martucci: Can I turn a non romance reader who doesn't believe in feelings onto romance? (very dramatic voice) 

Becky: I think like three years down the road when you're on like episode 412. You'll be like, Becky finally picked up a romance novel of her own volition and Reddit and like, the crowd will, yeah, the crowd will roar and we'll all be celebrities because like at that point, we're all going to be famous.

I'll be a famous photographer and you'll be a famous podcast

Andrea Martucci: you're not going to be a famous V lookup maker?

Becky: Yeah. I think it's really funny that I'm a photographer and I photograph families and love. I think it's funny  and I, and I am not into romance.

Andrea Martucci: I can understand you not being into romance, let's say, but I think feelings, you know...

Becky: I'm into feelings

Andrea Martucci: what?

Becky: I feel stuff. I'm not great with feelings at all. My great with feelings,

Andrea Martucci: but I, and I think, I forget if we talked about this specifically last time, because I also feel like I'm, I know I mentioned like I'm bad at feelings. I- I'm a very analytical, logical person. I'm an INTJ.

Okay. The way I come to understanding feelings is through critically analyzing them, and so I feel like romance novels are my textbook.

Becky: I'm an INFJ, which is interesting. You think and I feel,

Andrea Martucci: but you feel, what do you, where are your feelings, Becky?

Becky: I mean, I feel things, I just don't necessarily share them.

There's two sides to that, so I feel I'm a very, very, very sensitive person, like very sensitive. I just do not often exude any of that sensitivity. I bottle it up and channel it through. Shows like game of Thrones or Chernobyl or West World. That's how I, I allow HBO to eat my feelings for me.

Andrea Martucci: Truer words have never been spoken.

I do feel though, like we're echolocating closer to like, like we've, we've pinged off of Halloween Boo and that wasn't it. Okay. And then we went, I think a little bit too far in the, like. Fluffy, joyful, hopeful correction. Sure. I think you need a contemporary, I think you might actually enjoy something that had either like a mystery or a crime element involved.


Becky: crime, no mystery. No mystery.

Andrea Martucci: Okay.

All right. Crime murders. What about, how do you feel about paranormal? Did you get into True Blood ever?

Becky: No, I never know. I never saw it .

Andrea Martucci: Do you like vampires werewolves? No. Okay. She used to made a face guys.

Becky: Like have we met?

Andrea Martucci: She was like, ah. I mean, I don't

mean Twilight. Okay, sexy vampires. Okay, so like real,

Becky: No vampires.

Andrea Martucci: Becky doesn't like fantasy,

Becky: but I love Game of Thrones.

Andrea Martucci: I know you like Game of Thrones, but it's,

Becky: that's not real fantasy. Game of Thrones is not the fantastical element in Game of Thrones is not what kept me going back. It was the

Andrea Martucci: political intrigue.

Becky: Yes. That sort of, yeah, the politics of it was absolutely [00:55:00] fascinating.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. All right. Well, so I think I have a clearer direction. How do you feel about, it sounds like you would prefer a romance that had a lot more like external plot, more external than like internal agita.

Becky: Yeah. I want a good story with a lot of meat to it. And I want, I love twists and turns, and I don't want a story that I can predict by reading the synopsis on the back of the book.

Andrea Martucci: Why don't you just stop reading synopsis Becky?

Becky: I don't want to know what's coming and I don't want to try to predict what's coming. Like I'm always going to try to predict what's coming because that's who I am as a person, but I don't want to be able to guess it.

Andrea Martucci: Okay.  surprising.

Becky: Yeah, like I want to be kept on my toes the whole time.

Andrea Martucci: All right. I'm thinking. I'm not going to come up with it. Now I'm going to also put this out to the world, so anybody who's listening to this, if you think you have nailed down the next book that Becky should read, we're going to set a timer. Hey Siri. Set a timer for three months to read another romance novel with Becky

Becky: We'll still be under quarantine series.


Siri: sorry. I can only set timers for less than 24 hours. Try a reminder instead,

Becky: She's the worst

Andrea Martucci: Hey Siri, set a reminder for three months from now to discuss another romance with Becky.

Siri: What Do you want to be reminded about.

Becky: Oh my God, she's the worst. Get rid of her. Throw the phone out the window.

Andrea Martucci: I'm done. I'm done with you, Siri.

Becky: Throw the whole phone away.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Well, Becky, we did it in like an hour.

Becky: We didn't, I, I, you know what? I do want to say. Yeah. I really appreciate. The, what was I reading today? I read something and Oh, it was the synopsis of this book so that I could be reminded about what this book was about. And there was like a name of another romance novel writer that I remember hearing on another one of your podcasts.

And I was like, Oh, I know who that is. And it was just a little moment in my brain where I was like, okay, cool. And I also really like your romance novel friends that follow me on Instagram and they've now become my friends and I really liked that and I like that, you know, we've watched each other's stories and emoji them.

I like it. I like it. I like it though. I love it. There's a little part of our two universes that overlap,

Andrea Martucci: right? Yeah. Like my tiny little universe. And then your ginormous Instagram followership. Just like, yeah, like a one big circle and a little circle. Just overlap. I love it.

Becky: I enjoy your friend Kini and her wonderful, beautiful. What is her name? Kitty Scarlett. Scarlett. Kitty. Scarlet. I love Kitty Scarlet and I love seeing what she's up to and, and how she loafs herself all over the floor all day long.

Andrea Martucci: Such a loafer.

Becky: It really makes me happy. Kini seems like someone that I would be friends with in real life,

Andrea Martucci: I think you two would be friends with in real life.

I think maybe also a critical component of a book you'd like is somebody with cats.

Becky: It does not have to have, don't do the mother in law thing

Andrea Martucci: You like cats? (fake accent) Here's a painting of cats.

Becky: Every year for the rest of your life. Here's something with a cat on it.

Andrea Martucci: I got you some tea towels.

Becky: Don't do.

Andrea Martucci: Wait, hold on. Hold on. Here's your mother in law. (fake British accent - quite good actually)

Oh, Becky, I got you some tea towels with some kittens on it. I thought  they were adorable. (end accent) How was that?

Becky: I thought you'd really like them. (also a fake British accent)

Andrea Martucci: Tata. Oh, what's that Siri? It's time for tea?

Becky: Ah that's exactly what my mother in law does. Not the Siri with the tea thing, cause that's not, that doesn't happen. But I do. I do get cat gifts. Gifts, not GIFs. She doesn't send GIFs. Jiffs. Cat gifts - gifts! From my mother-in-law every single Christmas and birthday.

Although she has moved to plants.

Andrea Martucci: You like plants too.

Becky: I love plants. That's where I channel my feeings into my plants.

Andrea Martucci: It's true.

Becky: Into all 90 of them.

Andrea Martucci: Your babies.

Becky: My little green babies.

Andrea Martucci: Can you just say boner one more time?

Becky: Boner.

Andrea Martucci: Thank you so much to Becky for joining me. And now a modern romance canon nomination from Hannah heart's romance.

Hannah: Hey guys, it's Hannah from Hannah hearts romance, and my nominee for the modern romance canon is Unclaimed by Courtney Milan. Personally, our thing, this is one of the most underrated books of all time, of any genre. People tend to talk more about her Brother's Sinister series,

which is also extremely excellent.

But the work that Unclaimed does is unrivaled for me. It is the second book in her Turner Brothers series. And it's the story of Jessica who is a courtesan who wants to get out of the life following a [01:00:00] particularly traumatic event. So she makes a deal with someone she hates to deflower the most famous Virgin in England.

Um, the other main character, sir, Mark Turner, in exchange for getting enough money to move away and support herself for the rest of her life.

So Mark wrote a book about male chastity that then took off. Um. But people have twisted it to suit their needs. When Mark spoke is actually very feminist, it's hard to sort of explain what his book is about without giving away certain things, and it's very detailed anyway, but not exactly what it sounds like on the surface and the sexual attention between Mark and Jessica is so amazing sizzles from the start, and the romance is absolutely gorgeous.

But what stands out to me is what this book has to say about misconceptions, identity, values. Belonging and safety.

These are two characters that the world has already formed opinions about. That they have only a little bit to do with who the characters actually are, and as they get closer to each other, they realize that the other person isn't who they think, but then they also form opinions about the other that aren't exactly right either.

So the HEA is not just about falling in love and living together for the rest of their lives. It's about learning to actually see the other person and building a partnership that actually honors the other person. Learning what the other person actually needs and not what you think they need. Actually living that commitment and not  just talking the talk, so to speak. There's also so much about bodily autonomy, intellectual independence, sexuality and sexual power. I can't even properly explain this book. Do I really have to keep it to just a few minutes? You don't want my entire dissertation defense on the excellence of this book.

The ending is also perfect because just when you think Mark is going to. Swoop in and be the white Knight. He pulls his head out of his ass and it's so much better than you ever thought it could be. I do want to know content warnings for miscarriage slash forced abortion to mentally ill parent slut shaming. Some references to child abuse as well. So definitely proceed with caution if those are triggers for you. But it is angsty and beautiful. And every time I reread this book,

I realized something new about it, said about the characters, and it's just completely magnificent and I think everyone should read it.

Thank you so much, Andrea, for continuing to do this podcast. I love hearing the conversations every week. I love seeing other people's comments and ideas in response to your questions on social media. The Decameron episodes have been awesome and I just really appreciate all this constant romance talk and these difficult times take care of everyone, stay healthy and safe.

Andrea Martucci: Thanks for listening to episode 33 of Shelf Love, a romance novel book club. You can find full show notes and all the info about this episode on If you enjoyed this episode and see, yeah, tell a friend, sharing is caring.

Becky: Five stars, see, give it five stars. ('20s gangster accent)

Andrea Martucci: Make sure you're subscribed to Shelf Love on your podcast app of choice so that you don't miss future episodes.

Thank you so much for spending your time with me and Becky today and I hope you are doing well. Did you know that Shelf Love is part of the frolic podcast network? You can find more outstanding podcasts to subscribe to at - I mean