Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare


This is my first foray into the Spindle Cove series. I was a little hesitant to read it because Tessa Dare can be hit or miss with me, and while I dislike writing negative reviews, I especially dislike writing negative reviews for those authors who seem to be genuinely nice people and use their platforms to do good. Because then it kind of just feels like you're kicking a puppy. Or in her case, I guess it would be a baby goat.

A NIGHT TO SURRENDER features Susanna and Bram. Susanna is the daughter of the, I guess, squire of Spindle Cove, where there is a little village that basically caters to all things women. There, she kind of runs a sort of social club/finishing school for outcast ladies who run the gamut of being too shy or too loose for polite society, which sometimes gives the place the charming name "Spinster Cove."

Bram, on the other hand, is coming to Spindle Cove to run a militia and recruit people into his army. Because Spindle Cove is by the sea, and near France (I guess??) it seems like a place that would be good to seize control of. But when they get there, they find their path blocked by sheep, which they immediately try to bomb out of the way because men.

This is not realistic historical romance. The little village kind of reads like a Disneyland attraction as created by someone who is a feminist and likes to LARP. And I don't necessarily mean that as a bad thing. Actually, the village was one of the things I liked most about the book, whether it was the blacksmith who makes pretty lockets, the tea shop called The Blushing Pansy (gasp!) that sells little lavender tarts, or the idea of a whole bunch of women who are the black sheep of society and must bond together, in a village surrounded by literal sheep, enjoying the freedom of their independence.

Which brings me to the romance. I actually didn't really like any of the guys in this book (except the blacksmith and the vicar). Bram comes across as a jerk (although Colin was way worse). I liked Susanna a lot and the village, and it felt like Bram (metaphorically) just beat both into coming around to his preferences and way of thinking. There are a lot of sex scenes-- and the sex scenes are pretty good-- but I never really got the impression that they had much of an emotional connection, or even really much in common besides being stubborn and traumatized by medical professionals.

I loved the first half but skimmed a lot of the second half. Not super excited to read Colin's book, but Thorne and the blacksmith's have me rubbing my hands in gleeful anticipation.

2.5 out of 5 stars

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