Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Series or Standalone: Spindle Cove #1
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
A Night to Surrender kicks off one of my all-time favorite Tessa Dare series, Spindle Cove! If you’re new to the historical romance genre, I love to recommend this series as a great place to start. Tessa Dare brings the wit, the steam and the humor in all the books of this series.
A Night to Surrender introduces us to the tiny village of Spindle Cove, where ladies who don’t tend to fit in tend to flock to take in the sea air and restore their health. In its way, Spindle Cove is a haven for those who are different, whether they be bookish, shy, opinionated, orphaned. And the men of Spindle Cove…well, let’s just say they are few and far between until Victor Bramwell, the newly minted Earl of Rycliff, shows up and starts to pull together a local militia. However, Susanna Finch, the ranking local gentlewoman in the town and its de facto leader, does not want Bram and his men to upend the peaceful community she’s worked so hard to create. In a battle of the sexes, Bram and Susanna continually butt heads while fighting a growing attraction towards each other.
While I love the Spindle Cove series, and this book does such a great job introducing us to town and all its characters, this book isn’t my favorite in the series. Don’t get me wrong though, I still greatly enjoy this one! And I’ve reread it multiple times.
For me, I struggle a little bit with Bram, our male main character, as he’s so focused on what makes a man a man that he ends up exhibiting some toxic masculinity traits that rubbed me the wrong way. However, I realize Dare did this on purpose as this book really is a battle of the sexes, with Susanna representing the feminist viewpoint. For a historical romance, this book offers quite an interesting commentary on gender and accepting those who fall outside society’s norms.
Now, I do love Susanna so much as our female lead character. This woman has gone through so much and has worked so hard to make Spindle Cove the town it is. She’s suffered a lot in the past (you do learn what happened) and is determined to do what she can to prevent other women from going through her experience. She’s smart, sassy and brave. I love that she calls Bram on his sexist opinions and isn’t afraid to stand up to him and put him in his place. They do end up being a perfect match for each other in the end, despite the initial animosity. In many ways, Bram and Susanna are two sides of the same coin. Once they start to work together, they bring out the best in each other. That’s what makes the romance work for me in the end, despite some misgivings with Bram initially.
Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about how funny this book is. The opening of this starts the series off with a bang – and I mean that quite literally. Bram, his cousin Colin (who I love dearly) and Thorne are surrounded by sheep and cannot get them to disperse. So obviously, the solution is to set off the explosives they have with them. It’s a hysterical opener and encapsulates the type of humor I come to associate with Dare. Also, is it even a Tessa Dare book if there isn’t some sort of animal involved? Not only do we have the sheep in the opening, we have Dinner, the pet lamb, and some attacking cows later on.
What really makes Spindle Cove such a special series for me is the characters. Outside of our two main characters, all the supporting characters are so beautifully and wonderfully unique. They all feel like real people you could meet in this small, odd town. The secondary characters like Colin, Thorne, Minerva, Sally Bright, Kate and Mrs. Highwood all stand out so crystal clear in mind while reading. I also love the scenes with Colin and Minerva in this book as it sets up their story in book two, A Week to be Wicked. While talking about characters, I’d be remiss in not bringing up Susanna’s father. He’s such a complex character and also the WORST. I hate how much Susanna loves him despite his actions, but I also understand why she feels the way she does.
One other thing that always stands out for me in this book is the town of Spindle Cove itself. In a way, the setting of the book is its own character. Spindle Cove, sometimes referred to as Spinster Cove by small-minded men, is as important as the characters or plot to the story. It’s such a richly detailed town that is teeming with energy, hopes and dreams. Anything feels possible there – it’s truly a retreat where women can be themselves without any pressures or restraints from society. They can live without expectations. It makes the perfect setting for a romance novel as the town seems to represent opportunities to discover and explore yourself. I have such a deep connection with this fictional place. That’s a fascinating feeling to me as a reader since books’ settings don’t evoke such strong emotions. But Spindle Cove just feels so comforting, welcoming and warm. Whenever I reread this series, it’s like being welcomed home by an old friend.
I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you on the rest of this series, especially as it contains my favorite Tessa Dare book. If you’ve not read these books, you are seriously missing out!