Jennifer's Reviews > Once Upon a Winter's Eve

Once Upon a Winter's Eve by Tessa Dare
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3.5 Stars

Originally posted on my blog: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogs...

Once Upon a Winter's Eve is a historical romance novella that is part of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series. Spindle Cove is a small seaside village along the English Channel that has become a haven for young ladies with "problems". These issues range from illness to impending spinsterhood to scandal. The village is a place for these ladies to have a peaceful existence without the demands of society.

Violet Winterbottom is one of the "unfortunate" young ladies who has been residing at Spindle Cove for almost a year. An ill-advised incident forced her to retire temporarily from society, but her family is now forcing her to return to London. I really enjoyed reading about Violet. She is not a typical wallflower due to her appearance and accomplishments, but still remains shy around strangers. I thought this was an interesting quirk to her character. Violet is very intelligent and courageous when she needs to be, but there is always a sense of vulnerability as well.

I can't go into too much detail about the hero in this novella because a decent amount of the plot deals with his true identity. I will say that, while he was sexy and dangerous, I never completely warmed up to him. There were definite moments where I felt sorry for him and his situation, but there were other things that just irked me. His past actions were difficult to forgive and I'm not a hundred percent sure whether he was properly redeemed or not.

Despite my hesitations about the hero, I did enjoy reading the love story. There was a lot of sexual tension that results in some pretty hot scenes later in the novella. The romance was sweet and full of cute moments. The plot was perfectly suited for a story this length which is not always the case in the world of novellas. I also liked the sense of danger that I felt throughout my reading. The conflict is very real and balanced well with the romance. The only other issue I had with the story, besides my opinions on the hero, was the ending. It felt like it was a little rushed and anticlimatic especially with all the buildup in the earlier parts.

Overall, it was an entertaining read and a sweet holiday story! I think it would serve as a nice introduction to Ms. Dare's writing and this series. Personally, I can't wait to read A Week to be Wicked and spend more time with the fascinating ladies of Spindle Cove!

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