Thursday, September 22, 2011

REVIEW: "A Night to Surrender" by Tessa Dare

A Night to Surrender 

Welcome to Spindle Cove, where the ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are . . . nowhere to be found.  Or are they?
Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men; it is a haven for those who live there.
Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn’t belong here. So far as he can tell, there’s nothing in this place but spinsters . . . and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It’s a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram’s makeshift army.
Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle…but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?

PUBLICATION DATE: August 30, 2011
READ: September 2011
SOURCE: Bought-New
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: Regency England
SERIES: Spindle Cove #1
HERO: Victor Bramwell, Earl of Rycliff
HEROINE: Susanna Finch

A Night to Surrender is Ms. Dare's seventh historical romance and the beginning of her third series.  I have liked every single one of her books so I was excited to read her newest and let me say that this is my favorite Tessa Dare book so far!  I loved everything about it: the characters, the setting, the plot.  It completely drew me in and left me scrambling for more.  Okay...enough rambling...on to the actual review! 

This book begins with an introduction to our hero, Victor Bramwell "Bram" who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the British army during the Napoleonic Wars.  He has recently been injured on the Continent and is trying to find someone to help him re-establish his previous position.  In this effort, he has been assigned to start a militia in the village of Spindle Cove which resides on the coast of the English Channel.  Imagine his surprise when he arrives in Spindle Cove and finds it limited in terms of "trainable" men.

Susanna Finch (awesome heroine name!) has lived with her father Sir Lewis Finch near Spindle Cove for many years.  She has helped make the village a destination for a variety of young ladies who need a break away from society and society's doctors.  The village has become a ideal paradise for these ladies until Bram and his military aspirations arrive.

Much of this book contains both Bram's effort to find and train volunteers for his militia and Susanna's efforts to keep her seaside paradise as a safe haven for young ladies.  This brings forward a variety of humorous moments.  Some of my particular favorites include Bram's search for men in Spindle Cove and Susanna's demonstration of her ladies' weapon training. 

Spindle Cove is a setting that almost seems like a character.  Readers get many details of the layout of the village, its location on the sea, and how it has transformed with the arrival of Susanna's charges.  There also seems to be a type of spell that Spindle Cove puts upon people when they arrive.  Bram and his companions are not immune to this atmosphere though it does seem to take a little bit of time for the full effects to be realized.

But, what sets apart A Night to Surrender from other historical romances, for me, is the main characters.  Bram and Susanna are fabulously thought out and unique in their own way.  They have some stereotypical attributes, but Dare does a nice job of making sure that both of them were realistic.   

Bram has spent much of his life involved with the British army whether through following his father to India or presiding over his own men.  Therefore, his pride and self-worth is tied to his military career which has been seriously threatened by his injury.  Bram secretly desires a family and a place to call home, but doesn't know how to ask or pursue those dreams. 

Susanna, on the other hand, has a very personal reason to help the ladies that are brought to Spindle Cove.  Shortly after her mother's death, she was sent to live with relatives who did not know how to deal with her unique viewpoints and attitude.  Therefore, like many people in this time period, her relatives took her to many doctors who prescribed a vareity of methods to "cure" her.  These methods included leeches, head shaving, and ice baths.  Susanna took ill from these practices and was taken to Spindle Cove when her father realized the truth of what was occurring.  The atmosphere helped her gain strength and begin to enjoy life again.  But, she has become overprotective of her lifestyle and reacts negatively to anything that could decrease the control she has over her life. 

Together Bram and Susanna realize their weaknesses and figure out how to deal with them.  They are immediately attracted to each other and face quite a few obstacles to finding their happily-ever-after.  But, it was obvious that they made each other better people and were destined to be together. 
There are many secondary characters that keep the plot moving forward as well as providing some funny scenes like the Bright twins and the Highwood family.  But, my personal favorites are Bram's companions to  Spindle Cove, Corporal Thorne and Bram's cousin Colin, Lord Payne.  Colin's story is next in this series and I can't wait to see more of him and his heroine's (whom we meet in this book) interactions.  I also have a soft spot for Thorne and I think I have an idea of his future lady...

In conclusion, A Night to Surrender is a book full of humor, drama, and, of course, romance.  The characters are well-drawn and fully fleshed out while the plot keeps going at a rapid pace until the unconventional ending.  It is a great beginning to what I hope will be a great series! 

5 out of 5 Stars


"She would allow him to comfort her. And perhaps, someday, she would listen patiently if a dark, dreary night found him well in his cups and he drunkenly confessed to still feeling scores of wounds that weren’t his own, but those of men under his command."

"No, Susanna, " he said.  "I cannot love you just a little.  If that's what you want, you must find a different man."  His green eyes were breathtaking in their intensity.  His thumb brushed her bottom lip.  "Because I can only love you entirely.  With everything I am, and everything I ever will be.  Body, mind, heart, soul."

1. A Night To Surrender
2. A Week To Be Wicked (To Be Released in 2012)

A Night to Surrender Book Depository Page
A Night to Surrender Goodreads Page
Tessa Dare's Author Website
All About Romance Review
The Romance Reader Review

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