Review: Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl

Format: Mass market paperback; ebook
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
Pub Date: September 1, 2011
FTC: digital review copy courtesy of the publisher
 *Mild spoilers*

Good Girls Don't is the first full length book in Dahl's new Donovan series. In typical Victoria Dahl fashion, it's filled with snappy dialogue, hunky guys, and a heroine that elicits some divisive reactions among readers.

I had some issues with the heroine in this book. I didn't dislike her, but failed to understand the source of her never-ending mistrust and need for keeping secrets. For me, being scared of a rift in the family didn't seem sufficient motivation to go behind her family's back and "fix" something by making a deal that threatened her financial security. And her insistence on covering for her adult brother seemed more than a little bit unhealthy.

I also didn't understand why Luke doesn't bother correcting all of the horrible misconceptions floating around town about him. Sure, when he isn't dating, it doesn't seem to matter. But once he became interested in Tessa, there didn't seem to be a sufficient reason to not come clean immediately about the truth of each "damning" situation  that cast a bad light on his character. You'd think, as a cop, that kind of perceived dishonesty and scummy reputation would bother him.

The romance also seems to occasionally take a backseat to a number of subplots: a break-in at the brewery, a business deal with a not-so-nice family... I'd have preferred to have more page time with the hero and heroine.

What saved this book for me was the large cast of secondary characters and the humor. I was so disappointed in the prequel novella found in the Guy Next Door anthology because it was missing the author's trademark humor. Well, it is back with an extra helping of involuntary snorts of laughter. If you're looking for a book with witty banter and a sly sense of humor, this is it.

My Grade: B

The Blurb:
With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman – or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break-in at her family’s brewery. He’s got his own problems – starting with the fact that his partner Simone is pregnant and everyone thinks he's the father. The last thing he needs is a nice girl like Tessa getting under his skin.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother’s playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tensions could tear her tight-knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their “baby” sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath.


  1. I had a hard time with the way the Donovan siblings were keeping secrets from each other--that's no way to run a business! And it continues in book 2 though I think Bad Boys Do is a lot better.

  2. @Hannah,

    It *does* seem like there's a major honesty issue with everyone in that family. And it did bother me. I just liked the humor enough to overcome it. The second one had far less of the dishonesty.