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Spindle Cove #1

A Night to Surrender

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Welcome to Spindle Cove, where the ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are... nowhere to be found. Or are they?

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?

372 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published August 30, 2011

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About the author

Tessa Dare

48 books13.2k followers
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Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance," and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,340 reviews
Profile Image for Warda.
1,153 reviews18.4k followers
May 25, 2023
Third reread.
Keeping it as 5 stars purely because of how enjoyable this was, but it’s really a 4-star read. You just can’t go wrong with Tessa Dare, tbh. The balance she provides between humour and heart always hits the spot.


This was even better with a reread, bloody hell.


I mean, I devoured this within a few hours. What do I even say about Tessa Dare at this point?

• She writes the most perfect historical/romance fiction.
• I’m too damn happy and content when I read her books.
• Her men have me dying. With feels.
• Her female characters are so fierce.
• She touches and deals with historical issues in the best way possible.
• I’m in swoons-ville each bloody time.

When I started reading her books, I’d no idea I would become such a fan of her work.
I’m definitely on a mission to read them all.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,056 reviews1,858 followers
February 25, 2018
If a woman's intellect was in any way analogous to her undergarments, men should thrill to see it revealed. Strangely enough, Susanna had never known it to work that way.

I hated this book. Absolutely despised it. And spent the whole time wondering what was wrong with me.

I should delight in Dare's little protofeminist who sets up a haven for girls/women that's managed to set itself outside of the patriarchy. And I can tell Dare is trying REALLY HARD here. But she's completely failing. I didn't like Susanna or Bram.

I would just shrug this off as me being 'not in the mood' and given this another try, but unfortunately this is my second attempt in two months and I felt the same both times. So, it's not me, it's Dare.

Susanna was made sick when she was a teenager due to aggressive bloodletting. She always wears gloves to hide her scars. She has set up Spindle Cove where she can rescue young women from the patriarchy - she gets sickly girls/women, girls/women who no man wants (for instance, Kate has a huge port-wine stain on her face), girls/men who are separated from their husbands, and girls/women who are too man-hungry and have to taken away to this Cove so I guess they don't get pregnant before they are married. She has a absent-minded mad scientist father who basically ignores her.

Bramwell is a soldier who limps due to a surgery on his leg after taking a bullet. He is hellbent and determined to get back on the battlefield, even though anyone can see that he can no longer take these long marches. He ends up in Spindle Cove and strikes a deal with Susanna's father to get back in the war-game if he forms a militia in the Cove.


ONE: Tessa Dare can't bring me to care about Susanna and Bram's tragic pasts. I should be having strong emotions at the fact that Susanna wears gloves everywhere and never takes them off because it will show the ugly scars from her bloodletting. This could have been SO GOOD and Dare could have made my heart bleed if she had any skill. Especially since later she has the classic 'he takes off her scars and kisses them and tells her she is perfect scene' which should be HEARTRENDING, but it just isn't.

The book is unfortunately too fluffy and the issue isn't treated seriously enough for me to work up any kind of feelings whatsoever about it. And it is a golden opportunity which Dare wastes due to her lack of talent.

Same exact thing with Bram. Oh, he's tragically wounded. A soldier who knows nothing else but now can't soldier because he has a bum leg. I should be feeling intensely for him. But I'm not. Dare doesn't have the skill to pull this off. And let me tell you as a personal aside, that Bram does NOT act like a man in chronic pain would act, just saying. It's very unrealistic. He only remembers his leg when it's suitable for the plot.

TWO: I didn't like Susanna.

First, the scene in which she asks Bram not to allow two 14-year-old boys to enlist in the militia and he refuses. Did I mention he was an asshole? Her response to this is to come back, dressed as a man, and try to enlist herself. It's the height of silliness. It's so silly and weird. And then Dare tries to have a 'he sexily measures her for a uniform' scene and a 'will he cut off all her hair?' scene and etc. He also watches her load and fire a gun and that gives him an erection. *rolls eyes* She's childish. This isn't the way to handle things and the fact that she can't see that is troubling.

Secondly, she has this crazy idea that Bram just needs hugs and snuggles and that he has a secret yearning for them. At first she thinks he has PTSD or some sort of childhood trauma, but she quickly comes to the conclusions that he needs snuggling.

This big, brutish soldier-turned-medieval lord, now shorn close as a yearling - looking vulnerable and lost, in need of care. HER care.
But now she saw his motives clear. Here it was, his secret. No childhood trauma, no ravages of war, just a deep, unspoken desire for closeness. Oh, he'd rather die than admit it in such terms, but that low, yearning sound told all.

I didn't know what on Earth she was talking about. She basically just makes this up in her head and then talks about it all the time as if it were fact. I mean... yes, he wants to fuck her, and ideally that would involve some snuggling, but I have no idea where the codswallop of "he just needs hugs!" came from. It is really childish and makes no sense. I'm surprised he doesn't laugh his face off when she (frequently) tells him this. It's a stupid idea. Not because all humans don't need affection, but because she's so enamored with this idea, and it is based on absolutely nothing.

Thirdly, she says cruel things.

"...and those boys worship the ground you limp on."

WOW. Wow. Okay. The book just acts like he is completely fine with her saying this to him, which is RIDICULOUS because it is really a cruel thing to say to this particular man.

Fourthly, she beats Bram in one scene. You could laugh and think a woman beating a man is 'cute,' but let me assure you it is not cute and I don't think abuse is 'cute.' I couldn't believe Dare was writing this scene.

"Will it help to hit something? You can hit me." Approaching her, he dropped his arms to his sides. "Go ahead, love. Do your worst."

No sooner had the words passed his lips than her fist met his gut, driving into his side like a mallet. A mallet with a knobby little row of knuckles. The blow came before he'd had the chance to prepare, to tense his muscles in defense.

"Oof." He clutched his side, reeling. "For God's sake, Susanna."

"You asked for it," she cried defensively, nursing her punching hand close to her breast and rubbing her knuckles. "You told me to do my worst."

"I know, I know." He straightened, blowing away the pain with a deep exhalation. "It's just... your worst was worse than I was anticipating."

"You should know by now, I'm just full of surprises." Her breath caught on a wild sob. She pulled back for another blow.

This time he intercepted it, easily catching her fist in his own. "Hold a moment."

"I'll hold nothing." She kicked him in the shin. His good shin, fortunately.

"We don't hit other people." I say this about 50 times a week, mostly to four-year-olds. I'd hate to think that this basic concept escaped a grown woman. This scene is NOT OKAY, and him 'asking for it' doesn't justify it in the least bit. She's supposed to love this man, but she's okay with striking him and causing him pain?! Bad form. Very disturbing.

And that's not the end of her violent, abusive tendencies, she also strikes her father in the face. Her father. In the face. o.O I was frankly horrified and even more horrified to realize she's not going to be curbed in any way for these acts of violence against men she allegedly loves.

THREE: I didn't like Bram. If you thought Susanna was bad... Bram is disgusting. UGH. He's a horrible, horrible hero. This is kind of tied into the HOW'S THE SEX, CARMEN? section, so things are going to get a little muddled. Let's begin.

- He tackles her and kisses her on their first meeting. KISSES her. I mean, I love kissing, but this was very rude and presumptuous and not romantic at all. I was really angry with him.

- "Come now." He leaned toward her and murmured, "Are you going to pretend you didn't enjoy it?"

UGH. Not one of these assholes. The 'I know you liked it!' assholes.

- No, he decided. He would do her a favor by staring at it, calling her attention to what needed to be repaired. Indeed. Staring at her half-exposed, emotion-flushed breast was his solemn duty, and Bram was never one to shirk responsibility.

Yes, he's doing her a favor by staring at her breast. A FAVOR. Instead of just telling her that her dress is rent. Wow, real gentleman here. /s

- "Men's business, love. The specifics needn't concern you."

Fuck you.

- This whole scene.

"Miss Finch, it's not wise for officers to quarter in the same house with an unmarried gentlewoman. Have a care for your reputation, if your father does not."

"Have a care for my reputation?" She had to laugh. Then she lowered her voice. "This, from the man who flattened me in the road and kissed me without leave?"

"Precisely." His eyes darkened.

His meaning washed over her in a wave of hot, sensual awareness. Surely he wasn't implying...

No. He wasn't implying at all. Those hard jade eyes were giving her a straightforward message, and he underscored it with a slight flex of his massive arms: I am every bit as dangerous as you suppose. If not more so.

So... what? He'll rape her if he stays in the house? She should be afraid of his dangerous masculinity? She, a virgin in her twenties, will just NOT BE ABLE TO CONTROL herself and will ravage him in the night or something?!

- Colin could make all the disparaging remarks he wished about bluestockings. Bram knew clever women always made the best lovers. He especially appreciated a woman who knew something of the world beyond fashion and theater. For him, listening to Miss Finch expound on the weakened state of Napoleon's army had been like listening to a courtesan read aloud from her pillow book. Arousing beyond measure.

This whole thing, throughout the book, where woman-as-fully-human qualities serve not to make the heroine seem fully human in the hero's eyes, but instead to give him erections. He doesn't admire her intelligence because he thinks, "She's a human being, just like me. She can be an equal partner to me." He thinks, "I have an erection now!" while not paying serious attention to a word she's saying. It's gross.

- Bram's whole schtick about how the blacksmith isn't "a real man" because he crafts jewelry (who the fuck does he think is making jewelry in 1813?) and the vicar isn't a 'real man' because he wears a pink waistcoat and cares about cushioning his pews. Bram also reminds us that real men like steak (rare!), hate cake, hate cleanliness, and hate 'pretty things.' Because men!

But he also understood her other purpose - clinging to her position of power in this village. On that score, he could not let her win.

WHY? Why does this little woman-friendly slice of the world offend and disgust you SO much?! The patriarchy owns 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the world, and you can't give this little population 5,000 town a pass?!?!?! You have to fuck it up, too?!!? JFC.

- He just unilaterally decides to marry her, even though she doesn't want to get married, because he 'deflowered' her. Her opinion, wants, concerns don't matter. He's going to marry her, THE END. Fuck what she wants.

But he WAS going to marry her, despite it. Because when he looked at Susanna, all he could think was one word. It wasn't a particularly elegant or poetic word, any more so than "like." But it had a straightforward eloquence all its own.


Truly sickening.

"She's also mine," Bram growled. "Don't get any ideas. She's mine."

Susanna squeezed talk hand. That sort of talk was so medieval and possessive. And she loved him for it.

This is him posturing in front of a DOCTOR who is treating her for broken ribs and internal bleeding. A doctor who is absolutely not trying to fuck Susanna in any way. Oh, yeah, you're a big man, Bram./s So fucking weak.

"I'm offering you everything I am. And if I do say it myself, I'm a lot of man to handle. I'll protect you fiercely, challenge you daily, and want you nightly - at the least. You won't be able to manage me the way you manage other men."

*Carmen's eyes roll so hard* OH, PLEASE. *adopts a high-pitched, whiny voice* "Oh, I'm a big tough strong man, so much man you can't handle me, nah nah nah, blah blah blah." Get bent.

FOUR VIRGIN HEROINE I might not be able to read books about virgin heroines anymore. It's not the virginal women who annoy me, it's how heroes act when they take a virgin to bed that really grates my cheese.

He let his mouth linger over hers. She hadn't been kissed much. At least, not properly. He could tell in the way she was struggling to respond. She was unschooled, but she showed great natural aptitude.

Oh, I'm so glad you've determined she has a NATURAL APTITUDE towards kissing. Maybe, if she's very lucky, she can please you in the future. You fucking trash.

These weren't practiced motions, honed on other men.

They were only for him.

This proprietary shit. I HATE IT. I HATE IT.

No sooner had the thought surfaced in his mind, than he seized on it. He HAD to make love to her. Someday. Not today. Today, she was only learning to kiss. She wasn't ready.

Oh, YOU get to decide you are going to fuck her. ONLY YOU. She has no say, apparently. And YOU'LL determine when she's ready. Not her, you. Because you're scum.

"These gloves of yours, they drive me mad. I want to strip them from your hands. Kiss those slender wrists, suck on each of those long, delicate fingers. And that would only be the beginning. I want to see the rest of you, too. Yours is a body made for a man's pleasure. It's a crime against nature to hide it."

What. The Fuck. Is this shit. "Your body is made for a man's pleasure." That is SO FUCKING DISGUSTING, I can't even deal with it. What a horrible, hateful thing to tell a woman. "Wearing clothes is a crime against nature." Yeah, walk around naked all the time. I'd love that. But you'd have to be completely isolated, because I own you.

He took her hand and brought it to his body, cupping her palm over the bulge tenting his breeches's fall. "Feel this?" .... "It's for you, Susanna. For your pleasure."

"Good heavens. All of it?"

He chuckled low and kissed her neck. "Yes, all of it. It's made to fit inside you."

This is EXACTLY the kind of behavior I always get when virginal heroines are involved. Absolutely disturbing, you-are-a-child "lessons" on "This is a penis! I know it's really big, don't be scared. It's made to fit inside you! Don't worry, you can take it!" *Carmen vomits*

"This" - he ground his erection against her hand - "belongs here." His finger slid inside her, giving her an exquisite sense of fullness and bliss. "It's as simple as that."


"And I love this." His fingers found her cleft, parting her to slip deep inside. "I love feeling how tight you are. Knowing that there haven't been others."

HOW DARE YOU. Ugh. This is exactly why I hate all this virgin shit. How DARE you tell her how happy you are that she was a virgin before meeting you and gloat in how 'tight' she is and how absolute your ownership of her is. You fucked tons of women. You're such a piece of trash. Not for having a sex life before her, but for making her feel like a "pure" "untouched" piece of property that is more valuable to you because she's "tight" and "innocent." It's SICK. SICK.


"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."


"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."

Disgusting trash. "You secretly want to be raped, and I KNOW it, don't LIE to me, you know you LOVE IT."

He spent his seed all over the sweet, rounded slope of her belly - not into the fold of his shirt or her shift, as might have been the more gentlemanly manner. In some primitive way, it satisfied him to mark her.

You're mine now.

Oh, charming. Mark her with your sperm. She belongs to you now! She's your fucking property because you came on her like a fucking dickbag. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with men coming on women's bodies, but there's a way to do it and not be gross, and his thinking here is absolutely gross.

He fucking has her rub her own clitoris during sex. He fucking teaches her to rub her own clit during sex to get herself off. THAT'S YOUR JOB, FATHERFUCKER. That's YOUR fucking job. To get her off. Are you so FUCKING lazy that you can't even be bothered to make her cum? YOU ARE FUCKING TRASH. Don't even talk to me. You can't even do this right.

"You want THIS." He nudged her opening with the smooth, blunt crown of his erection. "In you, hard and deep. Isn't that right?"

Either fuck her, or don't fuck her, but please do EVERYONE a favor and shut up. No one wants to talk about your penis but you. Personally, I would be laughing at him hysterically, but I guess she's not to that level.

Is there anything you LIKED about the book, Carmen?

Yes. Any time Minerva confronted a male, it was hilarious. :D

Also, Pouring tea was just what she needed right now. Such a civilizing force, tea. She would nip sugar with little silver tongs. Stir milk with a tiny spoon. Tiny spoons were incompatible with a state of sensual turmoil.

Thorne is super-cute and I would like to see a romance with him.

Also, this scene between Bramwell and Susanna.

"Let me be certain I understand you, Miss Finch. You've amassed a colony of unwed women, then driven away or gelded every red-blooded male in Spindle Cove. And yet you feel no deprivation."

"None whatsoever. In fact, I believe our situation to be ideal."

"You do realize, that sounds very..."

She tilted her head in empathy. "Threatening? I do understand how a man could perceive it that way."

"I was going to say, Sapphic." ...

"Have I shocked you, Miss Finch?"

"I must own, you have. Not with your insinuations of romantic love between women, mind. But I would never have supposed you to be so versed in ancient Greek poetry. That is a shock indeed."

"I'll have you know, I attended Cambridge for three terms."

"Truly?" She stared at him in mock astonishment. "Three whole terms? Now that IS impressive." Her voice was a low, seductive drawl that raised every last hair on his forearm.

- Her rejection of his marriage proposal.

TL;DR - Sigh. I honestly thought this would be a sweet little, cute little, slightly humorous protofeminist historical romance novel. I thought it would amuse and please me. Instead, it filled me with rage. The hero is SUCH an asshole.

The heroine is abusive.

Also, it was just SO silly and fluffy and completely without substance. Usually, that wouldn't bother me, I actually like that sometimes, but Dare isn't skilled enough to pull it off.

I don't know if I am cut out to read virgin heroine romance anymore. Not because I don't like and respect virginal women, but because authors can't seem to grasp how to write a good first-time sex scene that doesn't fill me with rage. It's not the women that are the problem, it's the men, who are always reduced to giving 'lessons' on what a cock is, how to kiss, don't-worry-it'll-fit etc. etc. I know it's 1813, but given the protofeminist nature of this novel, I'd like for him to a.) not treat her like an idiot, and b.) be a compassionate, kind man who treats his woman like a human being, not like a new car her just bought off the lot. MINE, MINE, MINE. She's so tight, virginal, I'm the only cock that will ever be inside her, blah blah blah misogyny. It's so gross. Couldn't you make him less gross? Couldn't you create a hero who treats a woman like a person?! An equal?! I guess that's TOO radical. We can have women teaching militia men how to shoot in this novel, but we can't have a hero who sees a woman as a fellow human being.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,051 reviews49.1k followers
August 11, 2020

it started well enough and neither of the characters were unlikable


it just wasn't anything special. said it after reading another Dare book... When A Scot Ties the Knot, but i don't think she's that adept at writing damaged heroes. i suppose i can appreciate the lack of true angst and the fact that the heroes are never douchey but i really feel like her damaged heroes are kind of one note. she's definitely gotten better at it with newer releases (like The Duchess Deal) but i find myself hoping that the rest of the books i read off of her backlist have more zesty heroes.

ps if ur reading this i'm reading all of dare's backlist for a "guide to" video in september
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,860 reviews5,634 followers
April 7, 2020


Wow, this book marks a momentous occasion for me: I finally found a M/F historical romance that I could fall in love with!

I get it now, folks, I get it. I finally understand why people read those books with the old-fashioned, bosomy women on the cover, embraced with some semi-naked man.

A lot readers get into romance through different ways. Many of my friends cut their teeth on historical romance or harlequin romances. I, however, found my way to romance through urban fantasy. Though I've tried a few M/F historicals in the past (Suddenly You, Ten Reasons to Stay, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie), the genre never spoke to me.

Until this one.

I think I have some idea as to why this book worked so well for me.

1) It was funny. This book was legit hilarious at times, and I just looooved the humor that the author infused into each scene. The book felt light and fun, even when it had its more tender, serious moments.

2) I loved the heroine. Susanna was an all-star heroine. Smart, funny, strong... she just worked for me in every way.

3)A damaged hero. A weakness of mine. I want to kiss the boo-boos and make them better.

4)The sex. This was WAY hotter than I expected it to be! It was sensual and raw and romantic. I loved the sex scenes and there were a good number of them.

5) Lastly and most importantly, the audiobook narrator. 5+++ stars for such a KILLER narration by Carolyn Morris. This was my first listen by her and I already am planning on listening to the rest of this series because I was so wowed by the narration. She did an awesome, awesome job and really made this book come to life.

This book just might make me a historical lover after all.

Profile Image for Beatriz.
831 reviews706 followers
May 2, 2018
Precioso! Una historia increíblemente dulce, tierna y emotiva, que avanza tan fluidamente que es imposible despegarse de sus páginas. Con un estilo encantador, la autora nos sumerge en la comunidad de Cala Espinada y en el oasis que representa para una Inglaterra convulsa con la guerra contra las fuerzas de Napoleón como telón de fondo.

Probablemente es posible encontrar más de un cliché, pero la autora los ha sabido desarrollar tan bien que pasan desapercibidos: con escenas muy originales, con diálogos inteligentes y divertidos, y siempre centrándose en la pareja principal como protagonista de cada uno de los conflictos que se suceden en esta "apacible" localidad costera.

Muy buenos personajes secundarios, pero la pareja principal se roba todos los créditos, ambos adorables. Las escenas de ellos dos son realmente memorables.

Hace tiempo que no disfrutaba tanto una novela de romance histórico. Muy, pero muy recomendada.
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,599 followers
September 28, 2013

Keepin' this short...

A Night to Surrender is the first book in Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series, and a funny, sexy, poignant story! And when I say funny, I mean laugh-out-loud funny! Bram and Susanna are wonderful people who captured my heart, and I couldn't get enough of them. But truth be told, the entire cast of characters is so intriguing, so compelling, so in need of happily ever afters, that I absolutely must read their stories, too.

Honestly, stories like this is why historical romance is my go-to genre of choice when looking for a feel good, entertaining read! Funny, romantic, poignant, sexy... What a wonderful story!!
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
January 6, 2017
Dear book,

If you are swept away by the romantic beauty of the Regency Era, and can allow yourself to forget all about the fact that everyone probably smelled terrible, there were no toilets, and most of us would have probably been stuck being a poor servant or wife of a dirt farmer and died early from something stupid like an infected hangnail..... this book is for you.

Like all good romances, it all starts with a harmless little sheep-bombing. Bloody sheep - always in the road. What's a good military man to do? Obviously, get out the explosives to scare them away... and possibly scare the crap out of the town, take out a road, and cause general mayhem...

Worth it!

So, our fearless military leader meets his future love: a spinster who is determined to save her town from all of those terrified sheep and terrifying men. See, this town is a haven for spinsters and they have a strict "no boys allowed" policy that these men are infringing upon.

And infringe they do! For some reason, the militia have a problem with the town's tavern being named "The Blushing Pansy" and the fact that the blacksmith is busy making pretty lockets for the women instead of weapons or horseshoes. They are supposed to be building an army in the town, but it's way too civilized. Too feminine. Too quaint.

According to my favorite male character:

"I should hate for it to be charming. Give me a dank, seedy, vice-ridden pustule of a village any day. Wholesome living makes my skin crawl."

Oh, it's charming. It's so charming that these men are in danger of losing their...um.. manhood...

don't worry, the ladies will package them up all pretty and let you have them back on your way out of town...

The story was a push and pull of two strong personalities trying to achieve opposite goals. And, it was hilarious and really adorable. I loved all of the characters and devoured this book with the gleefulness of a young lamb frolicking in the meadow. (They do that, right?)

Profile Image for Shin Mon Thway.
663 reviews1,482 followers
August 16, 2018
I admit that I am a hopper. 😂 That’s why although this book is the first in the series, I listened to the fourth book, “Any Duchess Will Do” first. And needless to say, I’m sure that is my favorite book in the series. 😌 That being said, although this book isn’t that heavy on humor as the fourth one, I loved the story of Bram and Suzanna just as fiercely. 😍 No wonder Tessa Dare’s books sell well because she really has that particular and unique sense of witty humor and the ability to make her readers hot and bothered. 😉

True to her writing, the way Bram and Suzanna met was just hilarious and unfortunate. 😁 And they are both alphas in their own way, Bram being the head of a militia and Suzanna being the motherhen of Spindle Cove spinsters. They are both obstinate, determined and strong-willed so it isn’t a wonder that they end up in a lot of headlock situations. But love always happen in the strangest and most unexpected places and they fell in love irrevocably, madly and passionately soon. 😌 But things are not just as they seem to be and Bram and Suzanna might have to move mountains before they can find their happily ever after. Or blow up the sheeps! 😂

Loved it, sexy, sweet, erotic and laced with a healthy amount of that bittersweet angst.☺️ I cried for one of the Bright twins and hated Suzanna’s genius but overly ambitious father. 😭 I loved learning the quirky, adorable and capable ladies of Spindle Cove and fell in love with the quaint, beautiful seaside village. 💜 Although I loved The narration of Eva Kaminsky who narrated the fourth book more, I admit Carolyn Morris did an equally wonderful job of narrating the hell out of this book. 👍 I loved her soothing voice. 😍 Enjoyed it, loved it and can’t wait to listen the rest of the series. A book well done, Miss Dare! A book well done! 👏

5 nothing a little kiss can’t mend stars

Audio rating

Story - 4.5 stars ⭐���⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Performance - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Narration - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Overall - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Catherine.
523 reviews539 followers
October 22, 2011
"We have to get out of here, Bram. Before they take our bollocks and use them for pincushions."

Bram made his way to the nearest wall and propped one shoulder against it, resting his knee. Damn, that climb had been steep. "Let me understand this," he said, discreetly rubbing his aching thigh under the guise of brushing off loose dirt. "You're suggesting we leave because the village is full of spinsters? Since when do you complain about an excess of women?"

"These are not your normal spinsters. They're...they're unbiddable. And excessively educated."

"Oh. Frightening, indeed. I'll stand my ground when facing a French cavalry charge, but an educated spinster is something different entirely."

"You mock me now. Just you wait. You'll see, these women are a breed unto themselves."

Welcome to Spindle Cove. As Colin said, the women here are not quite the society ladies you are probably used to seeing in Historical Romance. They are the ones that have various conditions that require them to be out of the public eye. Susanna is not such a woman, but because of some past experiences with her own condition, she is determined to save these women from the unfortunate experiences they might end up facing. She has made Spindle Cove a sought after haven and does her best to help these women without resorting to medical cures.

Enter Bram and his cohorts. They’re on their way to see Susanna’s father, Sir Finch, hoping he can pull some strings and get Bram back into the military position he desires. Instead, Bram is given the unwelcome news that he has become a member of the nobility and that he is required to pull together a militia to guard against French invasion. Sir Finch dangles the possibility of restoring Bram back to active duty after his militia is given a successful military review at the midsummer fair, so Bram is determined to succeed. Imagine his surprise to find that men are at a minimum in Spindle Cove!

The conflict between Bram and Susanna’s goals gave this book a bit of a battle of the sexes feel. I wasn’t really loving it in the beginning, as I felt it was a bit too stereotypical and heavy-handed, but the author really delved into Bram and Susanna and I fell in love with them. Susanna has a hard time dealing with people who have no problems to be fixed. When she meets Bram he is frustrated by her need to load him with baggage he doesn’t have. In his eyes he’s a simple man and he wishes she could just take him at face value.
"My pride's not wounded, for God's sake. And no, I'm not disappointed. Nor haunted, nor embittered, nor threatened. Stop trying to pin all these emotions on me like frilly pink ribbons. I'm not one of your delicate spinsters, Miss Finch. This isn't about my tender feelings. I have things to accomplish, and you"--he poked a single finger into her shoulder--"are hindering me."

For his part, Bram is treading water and struggling to stay afloat. He has always identified himself by his capabilities in the military. He is lost and uncertain of himself after being shot in the knee and taken off active duty. He is determined to return to that life—because he believes he has no worth or skills beyond that—but he is hampered by the fact that he is not completely healed. He cannot accept this weakness in himself (he finds it something to be ashamed of) and continues to push to be as capable and ready as he was before. In Susanna’s unconscious quest to uncover his hidden issues, she stumbles upon the truth and cannot help but slowly fall for him.
Here it was, his secret. No childhood trauma, no ravages of war. Just a deep, unspoken desire for closeness.
*sigh* How can you not be sucked in by such a man?

The humor and the dialogue in this book popped. There were so many scenes where I found myself giggling and smiling. But there were also the deeper, more emotionally rich scenes where I had to sigh. I had such a fun time watching Bram and Susanna clash and banter and eventually fall in love. This romance absolutely pleased me and I had a warm feeling in my chest when I closed the book. *sigh* So good.

Favorite Quote:
"No, Susanna," he said. "I cannot love you just a little. If that's what you want, you must find a different man." His green eyes were breathtaking in their intensity. His thumb brushed her bottom lip. "Because I can only love you entirely. With everything I am, and everything I will be. Body, mind, heart, soul."

Edited to add: I forgot to include a snippet that I thought was absolutely hilarious. Colin reminded me of the "I'm on a horse" guy from the Old Spice commercials.
"Tonight," he announced, "is the night we take back that village. And we're not going to do it by marching in lines or committing acts of brave idiocy. We're going to do it by being men. Manly men. The kind of men a woman wants to take control."

Brows wrinkled in confusion.

"But..." The blacksmith looked around the group. "We are men. Last I checked, anyhow."

"It's not just a matter of having the proper equipment. It's using the equipment properly." Leaping up on a crate, Colin spread his arms wide. "Look at me. Now look at yourselves. Now look back at me. I am the man you want to be like."

Dawes crossed his arms. "Why is that, precisely?"

"Do you know how many women I've bedded?" When Rufus and Finn perked, he waved at them. "Have a guess, boys."

"Seventeen," offered Finn.



"Still more."


"Oh, for the love of God," he muttered. "We'll be here all day. Let's just call the number more than you can imagine. Because clearly, that is the case." Under his breath, he added, "Perhaps higher than you know how to count."

*For a sneak peek, check out my Tempting Teaser on Fiction Vixen*
Profile Image for Addie H.
492 reviews236 followers
June 6, 2022
(6th June 2022 - Re-read for the 3rd time)

I am re-reading all my 5 star rated romance novels. There are 60 on my shelf. This is book 1 on that list.

(Tropes: Enemies to lovers, Wounded war hero, Spinster/wallflower (heroine also has scars)

This is how my 1st re-read held up.



Welcome to Spindle Cove! (nicknamed Spinster Cove)

- “I’ve no idea why this place is called Spinster Cove. It ought to be Amazon Inlet. Or Valkyrie Bay.”

It’s a village mostly inhabited and run by women.

- “Tonight, we’re going to march down to that village, and we’re going to enjoy ourselves in our tavern.”
“You mean the tea shop?” Fosbury asked. “But this is the ladies’ card night.”
“ ‘But this is the ladies’ card night,’ ” Colin mimicked in a high-pitched voice.

- “Here in Spindle Cove, we ladies have a schedule. Mondays are country walks. Tuesdays, sea bathing. Wednesdays, you’d find us in the garden.”

If you want to know what they do the rest of the week you have to read the book. Even Bram (Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff) is kept in the dark for a while.

He is introduced to us by picking a fight with someone much smaller than him.

- “Listen sharp, now.” He gave her ear a rough tweak and sank his voice to a low threat. “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll do as I say.”
Though she spoke not a word, her reply was clear: You can kiss my great woolly arse.


Bram “meets” Susanna Finch, Spinster Cove’s founder and reluctant leader, while shielding her from an explosion.

- He rolled onto his side, giving her room to breathe. “Where did you come from?”
“I think I should ask you that.” She struggled up on one elbow. “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.


Enemies to lovers is probably my favorite trope, especially when it’s packed with hilarity, sass and the main leads are so gaga for each other.

- “I’ll have you know, I attended Cambridge for three terms.”
“Truly?” She stared at him in mock astonishment. “Three whole terms? Now that is impressive.”


- “You are my problem, Miss Finch. No, you’re not a nettle, or a burr, or a delicate blossom of any kind. You’re a goddamned powder keg, and every time I draw near you, we start throwing off sparks.”
“I . . . I don’t know what you mean.”
“Oh yes, you do.” He fingered the lacy edge of her cap sleeve, then slid a caress down her arm.

- “It’s but a momentary interruption. Just this once.”
“Just this once?” He made a dismissive noise, rifling through papers. “What about just now in the church?”
“Very well, twice.”
“Try again.” He stacked his papers and looked up, devouring her with his intent green gaze. “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.”


- An elbow dug into her side. “Lord Rycliff’s dismounting, look.”
Susanna resolved not to look.
“He’s taking the musket from one of them. Perhaps he means to show them himself just how it’s done.”
Susanna renewed her resolution not to look. The blades of grass beneath her fingertips were more interesting by far. And lo, here was a fascinating ant.


- “I can’t stop thinking about you. All the time. Everyplace. I have work to do up there. Men to drill. A watch to organize. A castle to defend. But I can’t even concentrate, for thinking of you.”
She stared at him.
“You tell me why that is, Susanna. Keep in mind, you’re talking to a man who’ll march a hundred miles out of his way, just to avoid a romantic attachment.”
“Attachment?” She forced a casual laugh. An unconvincing string of ha-ha-has. “A barrel of warm pitch couldn’t attach me to you.”
He shook his head, looking perplexed. “I even like it when you snipe at me.”


- “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? She lifted her chin. “Well, I haven’t forgotten the sound you made when I first touched your brow. It wasn’t even a moan, it was more like . . . like a whimper.”
He made a dismissive sound.
“Oh yes. A plaintive, yearning whimper. Because you want an angel. A sweet, tender virgin to hold you and stroke you and whisper precious promises and make you feel human again.”
“That’s absurd,” he scoffed. “You’re just begging to be taught a hard, fast lesson in what it means to please a man.”
“You’re just longing to put your head in my lap and feel my fingers in your hair.”
He backed her up against a rock. “You need a good ravaging.”
“You,” she breathed, “need a hug.”
“You know what I think?” he said, coming closer. So close she could feel his breath wash warm against her cheek. “I think we’re having one of those vexing arguments again.”
“The kind where both sides are right?”
“Hell, yes.”
And this time, when they kissed, they both made that sound. That deep, moaning, yearning, whimpering sound. That sound that said yes. And at last. And you are exactly what I need.


- “I’ve never met a woman like you. You’re so much like me. It’s as though we’re two examples of some rare, exotic breed. Only I’m the male specimen, and you’re the female. Clever as you are, you must know what that means.”
“Enlighten me.”
“It means we should mate. We have a responsibility to Nature.”


- And then she pressed a kiss to the exact center of his palm. A bolt of bliss streaked from the spot, rushing straight for his core. Bloody hell. A tiny kiss on his palm. He felt it everywhere. His knees went weak. He wanted to fall at her feet, lay his head in her lap for hours. I am your slave. He withdrew his hand, flexing it to disperse the sensation and get a grip on himself. Who could have guessed a fully grown man could be utterly felled by such a tiny, precise assault? Did the army know this? Maybe they ought to issue plate armor to protect soldiers’ vulnerable palms.


- “If I’m such a remarkable leader,” he said, “why is it I can’t bring you in line?”
“Because you don’t want to. You like me this way.” She smiled the smug little smile of a woman who was utterly convinced she was right. But she was wrong. He didn’t like her this way. He thought he might love her this way.

- “What, pray tell, are these?” He displayed his newly hemmed cuff for her, pointing out the brass buttons studded there.
“Oh, those.” She bit back a smile. “Aaron Dawes made the mold and did the casting. Every proper militia needs a symbol.”
“Yes, but proper militias don’t choose a lamb.”
“As I recall it, the lamb chose you.”
His thumbnail traced the motto—a tiny crescent of Latin. “Aries eos incitabit. A sheep shall urge them onward?”
“Be careful, my lord. Your three terms at Cambridge are showing.”


- “Bram,” she whispered, unable to resist, “do you think you could love me, just a little?”
He laughed. “Good Lord, no.”
“No?” Susanna bit her lip, cringing inside. “Oh.” Oh dear. She dropped her gaze to his lapel, assessing her options. Could she bring herself to marry him, if he didn’t love her at all? Of course she could. The alternative flashed before her eyes—a future that appeared hopelessly lonely and grim.
He touched her cheek, drawing her gaze back up to his strong, handsome face.
“No, Susanna,” he said. “I cannot love you just a little. If that’s what you want, you must find a different man.”
His green eyes were breathtaking in their intensity. His thumb brushed her bottom lip.
“Because I can only love you entirely. With everything I am, and everything I ever will be. Body, mind, heart, soul.”
Her heart soared. “Oh,” she finally managed. “That’s better. So much better.” She pulled him close for a kiss.

Profile Image for Riley.
427 reviews21.1k followers
July 12, 2018
well it had to happen eventually.
this is the 6th book by tessa dare I have read and the first one I have disliked.

Most of her books have a really cute plot and meet cute but this one was basically summed up as guy comes into town and there's a pretty girl and ??? thats it.

The plot was super boring.

But the love interest was the worst part. He was so insufferable. His masculinity was so fragile that tea and pastries threatened it. The whole book was basically him banging on his chest yelling "I am a MAN"

the only saving grace was all the side characters who I know get their own stories in this series. so looking forward to that
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
458 reviews1,027 followers
April 3, 2021
Probably my least favourite Tessa Dare historical romance so far... I liked the setting, I liked what the village symbolised, and parts were fun and light. However I found myself a little bored at times, the characters weren't that compelling, and it dragged a bit! I'm more interested in the next one with Bram's rake of a cousin! 🤷🏻‍♀️
March 31, 2016
Where has historical romance been all my life?

Seriously, you guys? Why did no one tell me how amazing it can be?

This book was magical.


Bram. Oh! You stupid, stubborn idiot. I love you. I'd let you ravage me any day. Loves. Get in the man-dungeon.

Susanna. A woman after my own heart. She is doing her part to help women who don't fit the mold that society wants to put them in, be themselves and escape the horrific "cures" that those in the medical world want to inflict upon them. She's headstrong yet sensible, she's freaking amazing and she felt very real. I want to be her friend.

I loved that Spindle Cove was a safe place for women. I want to go there on holiday. Loves.

The dialogue in this. I nearly died laughing a few times. I had a giant grin on my face throughout pretty much this entire book. The banter between the characters is hilarious, I can't applaud it enough.

So much happened in this. I have to say that the drama was a little over the top towards the end there, but I still ate that shit up with a spoon.

I can't wait to read the next book, but I am even more excited for Thorne's story. Hello broody, sullen leading man.

This book was exactly what I needed this week, a glorious escape from reality with wonderful characters, a sweet love story, steamy sexy times and a decent helping of drama.


4.5 just-kisses Stars
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews359 followers
April 19, 2020
Spindle Cove has become a haven for women of a 'delicate' nature, those hoping to escape the strict societal rules of the time and embrace their passions for books, shooting or even geology without fear of repreave. With no men in the village, they're free to be themselves. And all of this is thanks to Susanna Finch, daughter of the local lord. So when this quiet haven is invaded by an injured Lieutenant, his rakish cousin and squad of men, Susanna is less than pleased. Together sparks fly, and the inevitable exchange of quips ensues as this lonesome Lieutenant is drawn to this independent filly.

This was light, fluffy, sexy and funny. All wrapped up in a decent plot with some lovely little characters. Yes, it's predictable, yes it's a little cheesy, but it's also a lot of fun and perfect escapism. Tessa Dare is able to write a protagonist who never backs down with her opinions. Susanna knows what she wants, and will go all out to get it. She's witty, and charming and relatable. I was less taken with Bram, our brooding male lead, but together they certainly share a good amount of chemistry, although I did find the development of it to be extremely fast.

The setting also feels very picturesque and beautiful, with descriptions of lush green fields and tumbling castles. It's the perfect setting for a romance, and feels like a true safe haven for these women with a blacksmith who mends lockets and a tavern that's been converted into a tea shop.

I did find that the pacing lagged a little in the middle, with not a lot really happening plot wise. Some of the finer plot points needed a bit of finessing too, as they didn't really make much logical sense (especially the overly dramatic and unrealistic interactions with Susanna's father, who feels very much like a characatuer).

However, that said this was a nice little romp into the historical romance genre with a good dash of comedy and a respectful, healthy relationship. I'll definitely look into more books by Dare, especially the next in the Spindle Cove series which looks like it follows my favourite rakish cousin...
June 29, 2022

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This is my first foray into the Spindle Cove series. I was a little hesitant to read it because Tessa Dare can be hit or miss with me, and while I dislike writing negative reviews, I especially dislike writing negative reviews for those authors who seem to be genuinely nice people and use their platforms to do good. Because then it kind of just feels like you're kicking a puppy. Or in her case, I guess it would be a baby goat.

A NIGHT TO SURRENDER features Susanna and Bram. Susanna is the daughter of the, I guess, squire of Spindle Cove, where there is a little village that basically caters to all things women. There, she kind of runs a sort of social club/finishing school for outcast ladies who run the gamut of being too shy or too loose for polite society, which sometimes gives the place the charming name "Spinster Cove."

Bram, on the other hand, is coming to Spindle Cove to run a militia and recruit people into his army. Because Spindle Cove is by the sea, and near France (I guess??) it seems like a place that would be good to seize control of. But when they get there, they find their path blocked by sheep, which they immediately try to bomb out of the way because men.

This is not realistic historical romance. The little village kind of reads like a Disneyland attraction as created by someone who is a feminist and likes to LARP. And I don't necessarily mean that as a bad thing. Actually, the village was one of the things I liked most about the book, whether it was the blacksmith who makes pretty lockets, the tea shop called The Blushing Pansy (gasp!) that sells little lavender tarts, or the idea of a whole bunch of women who are the black sheep of society and must bond together, in a village surrounded by literal sheep, enjoying the freedom of their independence.

Which brings me to the romance. I actually didn't really like any of the guys in this book (except the blacksmith and the vicar). Bram comes across as a jerk (although Colin was way worse). I liked Susanna a lot and the village, and it felt like Bram (metaphorically) just beat both into coming around to his preferences and way of thinking. There are a lot of sex scenes-- and the sex scenes are pretty good-- but I never really got the impression that they had much of an emotional connection, or even really much in common besides being stubborn and traumatized by medical professionals.

I loved the first half but skimmed a lot of the second half. Not super excited to read Colin's book, but Thorne and the blacksmith's have me rubbing my hands in gleeful anticipation.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,854 reviews846 followers
September 7, 2015
Tessa Dare continues to dazzle! No formal review just a few of my favorite quotes which (fair warning) are spoilery:

"Susanna fair. I want to hear you say you're mine."
She framed his face in her hands and looked him in the eye. "I'll say this. I claim sole possession of my body, my heart, and my soul. And tonight, I choose to share them all with you."

The word "like" did not communicate an unspoken connection of similar minds, or an obsessive attention to freckles. It certainly didn't encompass the sort of wild reckless, unreasoned lust that had driven him
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,510 reviews4,569 followers
September 15, 2011
4 ½ stars – Historical/Regency Romance

Another satisfying, steamy read from Tessa Dare and a great start to a promising new series! I loved the unique storyline, quaint setting, humor, quirky secondary characters, and especially the passionate, fun, and believable romance between a gruff, alpha military hero and spirited spinster heroine, who were perfectly suited for each other and totally combustible together.

I can't wait for the next book, A Week to Be Wicked, to come out! 4 ½ stars!
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,367 reviews153 followers
April 15, 2017
Mi sexto libro del #RetoRita. Tras varios libros bastante malos de contemporánea, he tenido que volver al romance histórico para encontrar una historia que me convenciera, con una protagonista de armas tomar (nunca mejor dicho), que sabe lo que quiere y va a por ello. No conocía a la autora Tessa Dare, su forma de escribir me ha gustado mucho, así como la historia que ha creado. Una historia que ilustra muy bien lo que vivían/sufrían las mujeres en esa época por no ser lo que la sociedad esperaba de ellas.

Aunque le ha faltado algo para ser inolvidable, la relación entre los dos protagonistas es muy bonita y sus tiras y aflojas bastante divertidos. Además, Spindle Cove esta repleto de secundarios que dan mucho juego, ¡voy a por ti Colin!

Profile Image for Carol.
1,310 reviews219 followers
January 19, 2020
4 stars. Audiobook.
Historical Romance.

The first in the series and this is now the third one that I have read .
Reading them out of order, I had missed the introduction to characters from her second book "A Week to be Wicked"(an hysterically hilarious read) and this book is also an amazing set up for the series.

Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the bookish, the shy, the heartbroken or misunderstood. It's a haven for young women who don't quite fit in.

I loved the heroine so much here.
Susanna Finch : Protector and advocate for all the young ladies of Spindle Cove.
Sassy, strong and independent.
Bramwell wasn't quite as much my cup of tea, though I liked him well enough.
And while I did enjoy this injured soldiers story, there was a little too much instalove and lust on his part that happened causing me to miss the slower build up and relationship development of the other books that I had previously read.

I do have to say though, that I find Tessa Dare's writing is always injected with more than a generous amount of humor. It leaps off the pages, hitting you squarely in the gut.
YES, her books definitely cause me to smile insanely and laugh a lot as well. Such a good thing IMO.

Another thing that I liked about this book is how the town is filled with such a quirky cast of characters.
They drew me in exceptionally fast, even if this particular book did seem to get off to a slower start than it's sequels .

I will be definitely reading everything that I can lay my hands on by this author in the future as I am now officially hooked by her zany stories, irreverent humor and witty banter.
Profile Image for Nuria Llop.
Author 9 books112 followers
August 30, 2017
23ª Lectura del #RetoRita

Premiada con un RITA a la Mejor novela de Regencia en 2012, lo merece sin ninguna duda. Es un ejemplo perfecto de novela de regencia de esta segunda década del siglo XXI: centrada en la historia de amor y en los conflictos personales de cada protagonista, sin intrigas importantes ni antagonistas villanos que dificulten (o alimenten) la relación de pareja. Eso implica que el conjunto de personajes debe sostener la novela, y no es fácil lograrlo con todos. Tessa Dare lo hace y los borda. Nos podrán gustar más o menos, pero son auténticos, están bien definidos y actúan acorde con sus personalidades, la época y lugar en el que viven. Personalmente, los protagonistas no me han entusiasmado (no como los de la siguiente entrega “Siete noches de locura”), sin embargo, la novela sí. Es una mezcla de situaciones y personajes tan bien conseguida que me ha enganchado por completo y la he disfrutado de principio a fin. Lástima que en España solo se hayan publicado las dos primeras entregas de esta serie, porque Cala Espinada enamora, atrapa y nos deja con ganas de más.
Una novela refrescante, divertida, con toques de originalidad y una calidad literaria indiscutible. La recomiendo encarecidamente a todas las lectoras de romántica histórica y a aquellas que busquéis una buena novela del género para unas horas de evasión.
Profile Image for EmmaSkies.
139 reviews2,254 followers
April 9, 2023

If I had to read this man’s thoughts about how what this perfectly content and competent woman actually needed in her life was “a real man” for much longer, I was going to commit a crime.
The heroine and everyone in her town is left worse off at the end of the book for the appearance of this man and his buddies. Truly the moral of this story genuinely seems to be that men ruin everything.

Low 3⭐️ because the last hundred pages were good, but not in a way that ever addressed the preceding 300 pages. Possibly 2.75. A rare miss from Tessa Dare for me.

Also worth noting I was super uncomfortable with the multiple instances of consent to sexual contact in this book boiling down to “if you’re not saying no then it’s a yes,” and an entire extended scene where he gets her consent to a situation for which he offers strict boundaries, but then proceeds to push and stretch those boundaries well past what they agreed on.

And bc it’s a romance novel she’s into it and yada yada whatever but that is very much not cool.

I will maybe continue this series bc I’ve heard A Week to be Wicked is really good (curious how that will go bc I fucking hate Colin) and I’m interested in what I’m sure is a Thorne/Kate book later in the series.
Profile Image for mich.
650 reviews233 followers
February 7, 2015
This book was SO CUTE! It was really funny too, I cracked up several times, like momentary uncontrollable laughing. The humor was great and the best thing about this book to me.

I enjoyed the story and the romance as well, BUT, I can’t give it more than 3 stars cuz maaaan, somewhere around the 70% mark in my kindle, I just sorta fell out of it and became really bored. The tension seemed to have fled the story by then, and it felt like nothing was really happening.

I struggled to get back into it (I even re-read two other books in the meantime), and by the time I finally finished this, much of my initial glowing feelings about the book as a whole had waned quite a bit. But I really loved Colin in this book and I hear he’s the star of the next book so OF COURSE I’ll be reading that soon! This was my first read from this author and it was definitely good enough to keep going.
Profile Image for Anne Boleyn's Ghost.
350 reviews58 followers
April 12, 2019
4.5 stars. Loved it so, so, SO MUCH. It inspired the gushing. The sighing. The laughing aloud. Especially the laughing.

It is difficult for me to provide a coherent synopsis when all I want to do is gush. Gush about Spindle Cove, where unconventional young women convene. Gush about the de facto leader, Susanna. The daughter of an absent-minded inventor, Susanna channels hurt from her father’s neglect into caring for the community, and I gush over her intelligence and resourcefulness and strength. Gush about Bram, the injured military officer turned reluctant Earl...who is also sexy af. Gush about how these two damaged souls found hope and belonging and love together.

And did I mention that Bram is sexy af? Yep. The love scenes are on point.

It’s no secret that I find Tessa Dare wickedly funny and talented, and that I adore the equality and social conscience in her stories. Like how many authors will clap back at Mitch McConnell? Nevertheless, Tessa persisted. While I’m partially kicking myself for waiting to read this series, I’m also delighted to read more Spindle Cove stories.

Read for SBTB April - June 2019 Quarterly Challenge: A book you consider to be funny.
Profile Image for edge of bubble.
247 reviews154 followers
February 7, 2017
I think I went into reading this book with higher expectations then I should have, after reading my friends' reviews. I could have enjoyed the book more, alas, I couldn't find what I was looking for.

The book had lovely humour and made me chuckle numerous times. I was yawning in between the chuckles, but it's still worth giving it a chance.
Profile Image for Nadine in NY Jones.
2,749 reviews217 followers
July 29, 2015
Wow, with this book I went from: (1) I don't expect much from this book, to (2) wow this actually isn't bad! I think I'll like it!, to (3) OMG I can't believe the suckage here, but maybe it gets better, to (4) I must stop reading, I can't stand it any longer.


At the start, I enjoyed this book FAR more than I expected. It made it to my list by a recommendation (can't remember from where ... Julia Quinn maybe?) but I didn't expect much. I'll be honest, the author's name sounds so made up and over-the-top, I figured the book would be too. But maybe it's her real name!

Susanna is a red haired independent beauty living in the country with her father, a great pistol and weapon expert, and Bram is a hulking hotty who was just passing through on his way to rejoin the army. He accidentally acquires an Earldom from her father, so he sticks around a bit. The characters are great, their interactions are real and witty.


One downside already: he had to teach her how to kiss. I AM SO SICK OF THAT!!!!! WHY do so many romances create such innocent heroines???? Aren't they writing these for adult women? I don't want to read about a supposedly independent woman who is so dependent on a man that he actually has to teach her how to kiss.


The rest of this review COULD count as a spoiler, so read no further if you don't want to hear it (tho really, it's not too spoilerish, for any regular reader of romance, you pretty much know what's going to happen. There are no surprises in this book).


I've about had it with this book. I WANT to like it, I really do. I like the characters, I like how they are a little unconventional without being too stereotypical. I like how the hero is turned on when the heroine talks about politics or fires a pistol expertly. I like her long red hair. But I am sick to death of the hero telling her what a man needs and how the world works, blah blah boring sexist blah blah CRAP.

But he is such a CLOD, I don't know what SHE sees in HIM. After spending a few days in the village, he is so overcome by his insane arousal around her that he walks up to her and says "I can't stop thinking about fucking you, what are you going to do about it?" Well, okay, he doesn't say it quite like that, but close enough. (I should go get the book so I can quote it exactly and you can share in my amazement. Here we go, his inane statement and her reply:
"We're going to have this out, you and me. Right here. Right now. I'm going to tell you every wild, erotic, depraved thought you've inspired, and then you're going to run home scared. Lock your bed-chamber door and stay there for the next month so I can concentrate and do my damned duty."

"That sounds like a very poorly thought-out plan."

But instead of LAUGHING in his face, she goes along with it. She's so overcome at the thought of this guy being into her, that I guess she's into him too? I guess?

I also really really hate how he completely ignores her wishes. She is prim and proper and seeks to lead a very ladylike life. Yeah, that seems stupid to me, but who am I to judge? it's important to her. Does he respect that? No! After waking up from an opium-induced 2-day coma, he's all turned on by her in her purple dress and they start making out. She protests every step of the way, but he keeps saying "oh just kisses, just kisses" and that is of course enough to convince her to keep on letting him paw at her against her better instincts. A few more "just kisses" lines and they are fucking under a willow tree in the middle of town, less than a stone's throw from the village tavern where a big hoedown is taking place. I'm sorry, what? Oh, and before the actual intercourse, he strips her naked (remember, they are under a willow tree in the center of town, and everyone else is in the tavern next door, and she didn't even want to be kissing him originally) and just stares at her. WHY does this happen in so many romances? Why am I to think it's romantic that the hero makes the heroine feel TOTALLY UNCOMFORTABLE? I mean, who out there likes to strip naked and have a virtual stranger just stare at them? Obviously, strippers like this, and porn stars, but other than that, who?

The last straw came the day after their interlude under the willow, when he decides he's going to ask her father for her hand in marriage, and she says: hey, wait a minute, shouldn't you be asking ME? and he says: our activities last night rendered that conversation irrelevant, and she says: I don't agree at all! But he continues forward. Because men always know best. And women are always twits. And that's all very very romantic. NOT.

Truly, I gave it another 50 pages after that scene, and it didn't get better. She became more twit-like, and he became more cloddish. Ugh.

Profile Image for Chloe Liese.
Author 18 books6,550 followers
July 21, 2021
While The Duchess Deal holds its place as my favorite Tessa Dare, this is a damn close tied for second with Romancing the Duke. Bursting with poignant, picturesque metaphors that time and again tie the landscape of Spindle Cove to our lead characters, A Night to Surrender painted a delicate world of wounded souls, small-town life, and the joy that comes when people move past their fears to embrace love and its healing power.

Note: If you're a beta-guy only type, you might not enjoy this one too much. Bram is straight up alpha. But so is Susanna. There's an incredible line where he says, "Tell me you're mine" and she responds, "I'll say this. I claim sole possession of my body, my heart, and my soul. And tonight, I choose to share them all with you." His response? "That's...so much better." Yeah. That right there is alpha done right: two passionate people, claiming their intense desire for only each other, but ultimately respecting bodily autonomy and the gift that intimacy is when one entrusts their body to another!

Bram and Susanna are a quintessential power couple and they sparked from the moment they met. There's a definite enemies-to-lovers vibe as they vie for influence over the villagers in Spindle Cove. And yes, as is the case with well done enemies-to-lovers, this book is HAWT. I mean it. Fan yourself, chug some ice water, HAWT. It's the steamiest Dare I've read, almost so much so that I could have gone without a few scenes, or not had complete description all the time (I love me a realistic, passionate, accurate sex scene; please don't get me wrong. I just really like it to propel the narrative or go a more express/metaphorical route).

What made this book 5 stars was: 1) wildly good character chemistry 2) strong, I mean STRONG writing 3) related to that, unparalleled banter. Whip-smart, sassy, witty 4) a Trademark Tessa Dare RomCom that was feel-good & also addressed real issues like trauma, quack medicine particularly used to harm women at that point in history, and the real mental and physical cost of war.

I love Tessa Dare, we know this. And I'm convinced she writes slamming first books for each of her series. Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1), The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) and now this are my favorite Dares. Dive in, prepare to fan and swoon, and fall in love.
Profile Image for Anna lost in stories *A*.
1,021 reviews167 followers
January 24, 2020
Out of all Tessa Dare’s books that I’ve read so far this one was my least favourite… don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of things I absolutely loved and adored about it and I intend to read all of the rest novels in this series but… my main issue was with Bram… he was just not my type of hero… I don’t really like these arrogant and pushy types of men and he fell a bit over the line of what I don’t mind reading about… and unfortunately there were quite a few occasions when I just wanted to smack him for the way he behaved… worry not, he (sort of ) redeems himself at the end of the story ;) Susanna was a much more likable character for me… I adored how fierce she was in protecting Spindle Cove and every one in it :) their romance and relationship felt a bit too rushed but I enjoyed their banter… my favourite part of the story though, were the secondary characters… I mean, I am already very much interested in sooooo many of other stories in this series ;) even though I had my issues with the hero and some parts of the story, as always I loved the writing style… Tessa Dare is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors when it comes to a story that will make me laugh and swoon… ;) I am definitely picking up the sequel very soon :)


Profile Image for Pepa.
937 reviews236 followers
January 25, 2014


me gusta la forma de escribir de la autora. Me encanta su sentido del humor, las situaciones tan divertidas que plantea y esa ironía mordaz que llenan sus diálogos... el problema es que la pareja protagonista no me ha convencido. No voy a negar que el final es de lo más tierno... pero todo surge demasiado precipitado y pesa más la lujuria que el amor... Tan solo es mi opinión.
De todas formas, seguiré de cerca a esta autora, porque ya he comentado que su estilo me gusta mucho y el libro en general es muy divertido
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,092 reviews6,576 followers
June 21, 2020
1.) A Night To Surrender ★★★★
*.) Once Upon A Winter's Eve ★★★
2.) A Week To Be Wicked ★★★★
3.) A Lady By Midnight ★★★★
*.) Beauty and the Blacksmith ★★★★
4.) Any Duchess Will Do ★★★★
*.) Lord Dashwood Missed Out ★★★.5
5.) Do You Want to Start A Scandal? ★★★★.5


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