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Books Read in 2014: A NIGHT TO SURRENDER by Tessa Dare

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Audiobook narrated by Carolyn Morris

A Night to SurrenderBook Blurb:
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

My Review:

Story: 3 stars
Narrator: 4 stars

      Goodreads bookshelves: books-read-in-2014, audiobook, historical-romance
      Read from January 30 to February 12, 2014

The reason Tessa Dare’s books are on my To Sample list is because I’ve read tons of favorable reviews of her books and, most compellingly, a few of the reviews I’ve read compare her to Julia Quinn, who happens to be my favorite historical romance author.

So maybe I went into this book with expectations that were too high. I was expecting a solid plot; fun, witty, and charming characters; and fantastic relationship development.

What I found in the book was a serviceable plot, stock characters (though the main characters had their moments of individuality), and Insta-Lust in the place of genuine relationship development.

It was that third part that had me the most disappointed in this book. Instead of building genuine rapport and romantic tension between Susanna and Bram, it was hard-this and pulsating-that from the moment they met. I’m surprised Bram was able to remain standing for as often as he had physiological reactions to just seeing her across a room. And for an inexperienced woman who’s (supposed) primary concern was for the reputation of Spindle Cove as a place young women could come and recuperate from illnesses or just be themselves when they couldn’t in Society, she sure did “surrender” to the Insta-Lust early—and OFTEN.

And when I say often . . . once they consummate the first time (on the town green!!!!) they’re going at it like rabbits whenever and wherever they can. One morning, in the hour it takes me to get ready to go to work, as I was listening to the audio, there were two (explicit) sex scenes and it seemed like a third one was starting. In just an hour of narration! (The entire audiobook is around 11.5 hours long.) I lost count of the times they’d “coupled” before we got to the end of the book and their epiphanies/declarations of love for each other.

As far as the plot goes, if Dare had made the storyline and the (expansive) cast of minor characters more of the focus of the book, it might have fared better. Instead, because of the way things resolved, it all seemed pointless and unnecessary. There were a few bright moments: Minerva and her reticule full of rocks; Miss Taylor cutting off her hair so she could fill in as drummer boy for the review; the poignancy of Bram’s reaction to Finn’s (or was it Rufus’s?) accident. But other incidents (and viewpoints in the story) were too obvious a setup for the next book, and did nothing to serve the plot/main characters of this story, so came across as distractions.

Now, I will say that I didn’t hate this book. Dare has a fun, breezy writing style that I enjoy. And while I’m not champing at the bit to read another one of her books right now, I’m not taking them off my list either. I was intrigued by several of the minor characters, and I hope that some of them get their own stories.

______________________________________________

My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay/not a favorite
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR/DNF = I hated it and/or Did Not Finish it

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