So initially, Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove was going to be my next series to reread because she's got a book coming out at the end of the month. Then I realized that Suzanne Enoch's next Sam Jellicoe book is coming out next Tuesday (OMG) and I have her series on my list. So I read this book but didn't go on in the series just yet because I want to have the Enoch series ready to review when the book comes out.
I found Tessa Dare by accident. I was browsing Julia Quinn's recommendations, a thing I don't do all that often but I was lucky enough to get an excerpt from Tessa Dare's debut novel, Goddess of the Hunt. Her first two series were good and I enjoyed them, but I wouldn't say she was an automatic pre-order buy.
And this book came out. The Spindle Cove series is literally one of my favorite series of all time and it was after this book that Dare jumped into my top 5 authors. (When we get to A Week to Be Wicked, I'm not going to be able to keep myself together from the squeeing because COLIN).
Spindle Cove is a small coastal village that is dominated by women and known in some circles as Spinster's Cove. Young ladies come to the village who often are shy or not doing well in society. Susanna Finch takes them under her wing as the unofficial hostess of the village. Lieutenant Colonel Victor Bramwell (only really ever called Bram) arrives in Spindle Cove to meet with Susanna's father about getting his command in the military back after a war injury sidelined him. Bram is a military man who doesn't have time or patience for soft things, and Susanna has no interest in men who will upset the safe place she's created in the village. Sparks fly.
I. love. this. book. First of all, the romantic conflict between Susanna and Bram is everything. I love love love love love when a conflict is not because someone is keeping a secret but that something about who they are as people is the obstacle. Bram wants nothing more than to head back to war and Portugal, and Susanna needs her safe place and hearth in the village. One of them has to bend in order for them to be together, and it's so wonderful to watch them deal with one another. They begin the book so sure they're each right, and by the end--they've both bent enough to make something new and strong together. I love it.
The supporting cast is wonderful here as well. We get characters who are going to come back again and again, particularly the Highwood women, all of whom get their own story (Minerva is Book 2, Diana is Book 3.5, and Charlotte is Book 5). Colin and Thorne are here as well who both also get their own books. Spindle Cove is a fully fleshed out community from the beginning of the series, and you just grow to love it more as the books continue.
The plot is more in the background -- Bram wants his command back and has to train a militia of Spindle Cove men; Susanna is not in favor of this because it draws her father, a well-known military engineer, back into the fray--his last few inventions have not gone well and she worries for his health. It's really well done and their back stories are incredibly poignant and do a lot to drive the action forward.
I just love this book.
One of my favorite things is that Bram and Susanna both end up giving in at the end. Bram proposes but Susanna doesn't want to leave her home to follow him to war. They argue about it, but Susanna is about to agree to follow the drum when her father announces Bram is getting his command back and has to leave in a few days. She gets into an argument with her father and Bram over some really harsh things Lewis Finch says (he's kind of an asshole), and then we get into the final stage of the book where Susanna almost dies from a hemothorax she received when her father's cannon backfired.
While Susanna is recovering, Bram realizes he doesn't need to go back to war and decides to remain in England, working in the War Office on behalf of the soldiers. At the end of the day, they both give in a little bit and compromise.
I was worried from the beginning that Bram might have some shades of misogyny I wouldn't be able to get past and his attitude towards the female domination of the village got a bit annoying but he did back down from that and took his cousin to task when they "took back their tavern". I liked that they compromised on that as well and created a place for them all to enjoy.
It's just a lovely sweet book that makes me very happy to read.
A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1)
Overall Response So initially, Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove was going to be my next series to reread because she's got a book coming out at the end of the month. Then I realized that Suzanne ...