A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (Spindle Cove #1)
August 30, 2011
Reviewed by May
Favorite Quote: “You invaded my dreams at least a half-dozen times last night. When I’m awake you keep traipsing through my thoughts. Sometimes you’re barely clothed. What excuse can you make for that?”
She stammered to form a response, her tongue tripping against her teeth. “I… I would never traipse.”
Tessa Dare has a new trilogy, set in Spindle Cove. This is a seaside village where strong independent women rule and men are few. Those who don’t quite fit into societies ideas for women, needing a retreat from the world, and just wanting a place to be themselves are welcomed. Whether they have a broken heart, don’t fit in, have had an unfortunate incident, or simply want to live free they are welcome here. Women in Spindle (aka Spinster) cove are free to be their best selves and without fear of judgment or ridicule, they can pursue their interests in the peace of the idyllic beautiful village. It’s a safe haven for ladies most especially because there are no dangerous, virile, or beastly men about. Any men in the village are kind, gentle, elderly, or children.
As our story opens Victor Bramwell and his two companions come marching into town disrupting the resident’s peaceful schedule and life. As our hero states at one point, things are pretty beyond all limits of masculine tolerance from the teashop (no tavern) and all around neat and tidy village.Of course their entrance can’t be simple and they have to blast their way past sheep that won’t move from the road. This is how our heroine meets them:
“Who are you? What on earth are you doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” his tone was grave. “We’re bombing the sheep.”
“Oh. Oh dear. Of course you are.” Inside her empathy twined with despair. Of course, he was cracked in the head. One of those poor soldiers addled by war. She ought to have known it. No sane man had ever looked at her this way.
She pushed aside her disappointment. At least he had come to the right place. And landed on the right woman. She was far more skilled in treating head wounds than fielding gentlemen’s advances. The key here was to stop thinking of him as an immense, virile man and simply regard him as a person who needed her help. An unattractive, poxy, eunuch sort of person.
Reaching out to him, she traced one fingertip over his brow. “Don’t be frightened,” she said in a calm, even tone. “All is well. You’re going to be just fine.” She cupped his cheek and met his gaze directly. “The sheep can’t hurt you here.”
Susanna Finch is the leader of Spindle Cove and the daughter of Sir Lewis Finch, the man that Lieutenant Colonel Victor Bramwell is in the area to see in a last hope to recommend him to get his command back, so he may rejoin the war efforts. The presence of this man, this tall virile man who used black powder charges to move sheep from the roadway and causes sensual awareness to course through her, vexes her to no end. She sees his presence as a threat to her very way of life.
Given his orders to form a militia, the new Earl of Rycliff aka Bram camps out at his castle ruins and works with his good for nothing cousin and corporal to whip the few and unlikely men of this village into shape. This militia is Bram’s ticket back into active service, and that means everything to him.
As you might imagine the interest that the new men bring, not to mention the disruption of the formerly female dominated village, does everything to threaten and upset Miss Finch. Used to being the leader, and accustomed to everyone deferring to her good judgment it is hard for her to see her life so upset by the men – most especially Bram who fills her with dreams and desire. Oh and there is so much tension between the two. That was one of the best parts – reading the dialogue between Susanna and Bram as they fight and argue…
“Please tell me on Thursdays you oil yourselves up and wrestle Grecian-style.”
She gasped. “You are horrid.”
“And you love it. That’s the worst of the matter. You want me every bit as badly as I want you. Because I’m exactly what you need. There’s no one else in this village strong enough to take you on. You need a real man, to show you what to do with all that passion seething beneath your surface. You need to be challenged, mastered.”
Mastered? “You need to be caged, you beast.”
“A beast is just what you want. A big, dark medieval brute to throw you to the ground, tear the clothes from your body, and have his wicked way with you. I know I’m right. I haven’t forgotten how excited you were in the aftermath of that blast.”
The nerve of him!
How could he tell?
This is a beautifully detailed story filled with past pain, hope for future, and an unforgettable cast of amazing characters. There is so much to love here – from tender moments to lots of funny ones that had me chucking and giggling frequently. Like this scene where, after being smacked on the back of the head by a rock (toted by a geologist spinster), Bram wakes in Susannah’s house:
“This explains so much” she said, clucking her tongue in mother-hen fashion. “You’re compensating for this withered appendage.”
Withered appendage? What the devil was she talking about? He shook his head, trying to clear it. Colin’s dire predictions of shriveled twigs and dried currants rattled in his skull.
Wide awake now, he fought to sit up, wrestling the sheets. “Listen, you. I don’t know what sort of liberties you’ve taken while I was insensible, or just what your spinster imagination prepared you to see. But I’ll have you know, that water was damned cold.”
She blinked at him. “I’m referring to your leg.”
“Oh.” His leg. That withered appendage.
Both Susanna and Bram have traumatic events and emotional scars from their past – and the way that they came together, how the author wove their story into such a memorable one filled with scenes I adored and re-read, well the book is just made of win. I think the few quotes I share here speak for themselves. I do not want to spoil the book – so I will not say more about the plot or what happens, only that I wholeheartedly recommend this read.
There is a rare magic very few books possess where I would not change a single thing and find a completely satisfying and amazing reading experience. This book had it from chapter one, and never disappointed. The story was fast paced, full of memorable moments and characters, and utter romance gold.
I can not wait to read the next installment in this series and re-visit Spindle Cove.