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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (386 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewer Flower Name: Camellia

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?

Sparkling with humor and sizzling with sex, A Night To Surrender pulsates with the wants and needs of females and males—needs not the same and on a collision course. A hodgepodge of men assembled to form a militia in a quiet seaside village wreck havoc on Spindle Cove that has a motto of “Tranquility is the soul of our community” and where young, gently-bred ladies come to get themselves sorted out.

When black powder explosions, a sheep “stampede”, and wagons loaded with army supplies show up along with Lieutenant Colonel Victor Bramwell, his wastrel cousin Colin, and Thorne, Susanna Finch rallies all her considerable abilities to keep the ladies’ retreat intact and on schedule. The village depends on the money the ladies bring into Spindle Cove.

The Queen’s Ruby Inn is a temporary home for the ladies, whether sickly, scandalous, shy, disenchanted with marriage, too enchanted with the wrong men, or just misfits in the rules-ridden society of early nineteenth century England. Twenty-five-year-old Susanna, the daughter of the only gentleman in area, nurtures the ladies and helps them to realize their self-worth and take pride in their accomplishments. Her organizational skills, healer abilities, business sense, and abundance of energy are instrumental in keeping the village economically healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Her inner hurts, needs, and woes stay locked away until Bramwell invades her territory. Theirs is a romance not to be missed.

Lt. Col. Victor Bramwell, seriously wounded in battle eight months ago, is healing and wants his command back. But his superiors ignore his requests. His last hope is his father’s old friend Sir Lewis Finch, an eccentric inventor of weaponry who is a Royal Advisor to the Prince Regent who could get Bramwell back to his command.

Sir Lewis has his own agenda and gets Bramwell elevated, not back to his command, but gets him a title. By royal decree Bramwell is now an Earl—Lord Rycliff—and owner of a dilapidated castle high on a ridge overlooking the village in one direction and overlooking the channel on the other side where the northern coast of France is only fifty miles away. He is supposed to raise a militia of twenty-four men to defend this area of the coast—NOT Bramwell’s ‘cup-of-tea’.

Colin, Bramwell’s ne’er-do-well cousin, is horrified. A pretty village with no taverns and overrun with unbiddable, educated, man-eater ladies is just too much. While his irresponsible mischief propels the plot along at top speed, it often brings about distressing outcomes, but sometimes there is humor that tickles the funny bone.

The secondary characters are a diverse lot that add a wealth of emotions to the conflicts. The lamb named “Dinner” is not to be overlooked. He does his part to make this a delightful story.

Tessa Dare enchants with her skillful use of humor and her breathtaking love scenes. The awakening of Susanna’s passion and Bramwell’s deep-seated needs is beautifully revealed by Ms. Dare. She does a super job of showing how love reaches beyond weaknesses and flaws to bring out the best of people. She blends differences like Bramwell saying, “You’re mine” and Susanna saying, “I claim sole possession of my body, my heart, and my soul. And, tonight I choose to share them all with you”, in unique fashion. She melds these attitudes together to create a strong, delicious mixture that proves to be just what is needed for a happy-ever-after.