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Holiday Pleasures #2

Season for Surrender

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Honor Among Rogues

Alexander Edgeware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…

Mischief Among Misses

Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…

368 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 2, 2012

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About the author

Theresa Romain

37 books661 followers
Theresa Romain is the bestselling author of more than 20 historical romances, including the Holiday Pleasures series, the Matchmaker trilogy, the Royal Rewards series, and the Romance of the Turf series. Praised as “one of the rising stars of Regency historical romance” (Booklist), her books have finaled for the RITA® award, received starred reviews from Booklist, and been named to the Best Books of the Year list by NPR. Theresa is hard at work on her next book from her home in the Midwestern USA.

To keep up with all her book-release news, please visit her online at theresaromain.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, or find her on BookBub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/there....

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 199 reviews
Profile Image for Fangirl Musings.
427 reviews104 followers
March 14, 2016

So, guess what? Happy Book Noise (copyright pending) is, without a freakin' doubt, some of the best noise on the planet. And, know what else? That noise gets all the more kick-ass when it follows from previously thinking, "Uh-oh, this book might fail all painful-like!" Yep. That entire scenario plays to Season for Surrender just so, because this book is a damned good story, but holy-crap-on-Satan's-ass, I was worried otherwise for a wee bit, I'm not gonna lie.

In so many ways, the first fifty pages of this novel kind of left my ass shivering on the sidewalk. While my initial, "Hey, hiya Louisa and Xavier!" introduction to our two lead characters wasn't painful or of the Oh Dear God Why! variety (*cough*Twilight*cough), the opening pages were problem laden. As in, oh'boy'howdy we-got-a-problem laden. Some authors can hit characters out of the ballpark from page one, while others...? They need some time for the book to build momentum. The biggest issue I faced at the onset of Season for Surrender was getting a realistic hold on the hero and heroine; put simply, they just didn't feel like real people cemented with reality. At least, at first anyway.

Yeah, yeah, I know; that's vague as hell. Frankly, though, I know of no other way of conveying the, "Who ARE these people?!" sentiment I had throughout the first fifty pages of this book. BUT, WAIT! There is indeed hope, because Romain totally kicked my assumptions and misgivings into the "Girl, why you worryin'?!" arena. I read a ton (forgive the pun) of historical romance novels, and in order to make my brain go all spastic-happy for your lead characters, well, it takes some work. Like, lots of work.

I admit it; I like smart heroines. Hell, I like smart heroes for that matter (and thankfully, I scored on both accounts herein), but my favorite are smart heroines! Intelligence is smexy as hell, and when a writer can create a character where their personality and identity is rooted in their ability to appreciate higher-thought concepts, I'm all a'quiver. Louisa is, yes, just that; she is smart, but confined to her role of bluestocking. This reality of intelligent wallflower is a part of our heroine's character makeup, but only a small facet. Her circumstances are not a matter of contentment for her part, and thus she's even more fascinating as a female lead. Incidentally, we're best friends, this fictional words-on-a-page woman, she just doesn't know it yet. *Proudly brandishes Nerd Flag.*

And then, we got Xavier! Yeah, I be lovin' this male lead character, like with all my particle existence. What fascinates me so intently about Alex's character is that he, incidentally, shares many commonalities with Louisa in that the two are more than their label, more than their societal roles. They are bound by their own identities, and yet unable for the longest time to break from their respective molds. While Xavier/Alex plays the role of rake, and does so willingly, embraces that label even, his motives for doing so are the very chains that keep him from experiencing true happiness. His desire to be loved is what keeps him from being loved...and holy crap, you talk about one hell of a fascinating dynamic and character!

(We'll leave out the clarification as to whether that GIF applies to just Louisa, or not. *Cue the smirk!*)

Though, in all seriousness, while Louisa and Alex morph from being lukewarm words on a page to busting onto the scene with all aspects of fascination and relatability, their existence as people would not have been nearly so amazing had it not been for the beautiful technical structure of their story. The writing style, the voice of Theresa Romain was so powerfully present through 99.9% of this novel that I literally am still shell-shocked by the power of the story. Plot wise, it's a good mix-meshing of external conflict being driven by internal conflict, though on its own not too terribly impressive. However, the sexual, emotional, and character tension between whom Louisa and Alex are to their own selves and who they are to one another drives this story along insanely well. Ostensibly, the story just does...well...this...

Frankly, if your heart doesn't try to go all Alien-like, busting out of your body-cavity, after reading this novel, then welcome to earth, Mr. Tin Man. The pacing of the book makes the characters, the writing, and the plot so much MORE in so many respects. No character interaction feels rushed, no romantic or emotional plot points seem forced or faulty, and the book is pretty much just freakin' phenomenal. My one criticism (because CRITIC!) is that the characters do take a few pages to "get going," which can be a bit struggle-worthy when the dynamic and tension hasn't been built as of yet. BUT! That one nit-pick aside, just, yeah. This book, read it. Listen to the outcry of your soul, awesome reader- it needs this story! Well done, Ms. Romain, so very well done!

Profile Image for Pamela.
56 reviews39 followers
November 5, 2018
I loved this so much. So much! The good thing about the relatively low ratings it's received is that my expectations were fairly low, allowing me to be so happily surprised by just how much I adored this one: the characters, the prose, the dialogue, the psychological themes about being true to yourself regardless of others' expectations of who you should be, and the fact that these characters are both turned on by books and libraries! You guys, they cleverly and sexily quote Dante to each other...my geeky bookworm self was in heaven :)

Our heroine Louisa is a scholarly "bluestocking" bookworm who's curious and passionate and whose introverted nature has allowed her to become a keen observer. Our hero Alex is a supposed 'rake' who's got genuine charm and charisma, and whose habit of living up---excuse me, DOWN---to expectations have concealed a lot more emotional depth and intelligence than anyone would have suspected. Despite initial appearances, this is actually not an opposites attract story: Louisa and Alex are both curious observers of human nature, both searchers, both book and poetry lovers, and both trying to find themselves and real happiness outside of the narrow corners they've allowed loved ones and society at large to paint themselves in.

The plot: It takes place over an extended holiday house party and....well, there isn't much more of a plot than that :) There are a lot of Christmas rituals and a little code breaking (you'll see what I mean when you read it, which I hope you do!) and some amusing focus on the other inhabitants of the house. But mostly this is the witty, effervescent, yet surprisingly substantive character-driven story of two people who shed the confines of who they used to be in favor of creating a new, happier reality with each other. I truly believed these two were meant-for-each-other 'soulmates', which, oddly enough, is not a feeling all that many romance novels leave me with :)

I do understand and even agree with a few of the criticisms of this book. Do a few scenes drag on for a page or two after they should have ended? Yes, probably. Are some of the conversations a little repetitive? Sure, though I'd argue that criticism applies to about 95% of romance novels out there :)

So clearly this book is not for everyone, but wow, was it ever for me! Gorgeous prose, lots of humor and insight, witty dialogue, subtle psychological themes that I can really relate to, and among my favorite hero and heroine ever. I hope a few of you will overlook the generally unfavorable reviews and give it a shot!
Profile Image for Lisa.
328 reviews77 followers
October 2, 2012
Alexander, Lord Xavier, makes yet another bet with his cousin Lord Longwood. Its pretty basic--get the proper Lady Louisa to attend his holiday house party and stay the entire two weeks. No seduction is necessary and is strictly off limits (can't ruin the young lady's reputation and get leg shackled!). As Xavier always wins his bets, in fact, he is quite known about the ton for his wagering and his wickedness, he sees this as an easy win. Yet when a simple game of cards needs to be paid out in the format of time, he finds himself spending more time with Louisa than he thought he would....and also opening up to her in a whole new way. Louisa sees right through his facade he has built up. She sees past all his 'Numbered Expressions' (Expression Number One: Veiled Disdain, etc). As Louisa has a keen sense of observation, she notices all sort of little things that no one else ever has and it starts to affect him. Their meetings in the library that Louisa adores, leads to heartfelt confessions and daring kisses. However, when Lord Longwood uncovers a secret in a coded book, he threatens to harm Louisa if Xavier does not finally lose a bet to him. As Xavier wants to do everything he can to protect Louisa, he hurts her in a way that cuts deep with her without giving her a proper explanation. Will Louisa find a way to set Xavier free or will the betrayal be too much to overcome?

This book is a delight, plain and simple. It was like eating a delicious cupcake, one you savor, then being a bit disappointed once its gone but yet it leaves you happy and fulfilled. I enjoyed watching the proper, quiet bluestocking Louisa develop into a confident, lovely woman who will stand up for whats right while surrendering her body and heart. I loved the fun wit between Louisa and Xavier and how the library becomes their 'spot' (and yes, it gets a bit heated). I loved watching Louisa slowly uncover Xavier and discover the man he thought he never could be...Alex. She opens his eyes to so much of what he was missing beneath his rakish facade, with his need to have the regard of the world. Having been orphaned as a baby, Xavier has always craved the seemingly unattainable affection of others. Xavier turns out to be quite a delicious hero, even when he hurts Louisa while trying to protect her. I will admit, I am not a fan of books that feature a bet prominently but Ms Romain tackled it well with a nice twist from Louisa that made the book flow much easier for me. The holiday elements are nicely done without overwhelming the story while the secondary characters for the house party add a dose of humor, excitement and tension (and are ones I hope to see again in the future!). Overall, a perfectly delightful holiday romance filled with cheer, strong characters with real flaws, love and laughter. I am truly sad I read it so quickly and I am anxiously awaiting Theresa Romain's next book! 4 cheery stars

eARC provided by Kensington Books via netgalley.com
Profile Image for Becca.
639 reviews95 followers
March 13, 2017
Alex, Lord Xavier, is a man of many masks and during his scandalous Christmas house party, he meets his match in an observant blue stocking who wears a few masks of her own. In some ways, A Season for Surrender reminded me of a book I adored, What I Did for a Duke (by Julie Anne Long) because each of the characters presented a facade to the world, but found that with each other, they could be their true selves and drop the masks.

At first, I did not understand why Louisa could see through to Alex' true self when others he had known for years could not, but Romain did a good job providing enough details about their characters to make it believable. I read this story quickly because I always get drawn into books where hero and the heroine, while seeming to be different actually share similar hopes and interests in a way that binds them in a way that is a joy to read.

This story implies that there is a lot of holiday festivities, but really, the Christmas theme is so minor that you could read this at any time. There are a few nice scenes with charades, Christmas punch, and mistletoe, but for the most part, the book centers around Louisa and Alex and their quest for trust between each other.

I felt that the book bobbled a bit with characterization (particularly with Louisa who would say or do things that were too bold or too shallow...or they became intimate in a place where they could be easily caught) but for the most part I enjoyed it. I loved the discussion of books, poetry, and ciphers. I sympathized with Alex more than I thought I would upon reading the first few chapters. And I was happy when Louisa and Alex finally opened up to each other. Oh, and Louisa's aunt Estella is a hoot....I would love to see a match up between Estella and Julia Quinn's Lady Danbury. She stole the show in scenes she appeared.

Overall, it was a worthwhile read. It was strongly character driven and emotional, as many of Romain's books seem to be, and did have a sprinkle of holiday cheer. 4 stars.
Profile Image for Annie .
2,442 reviews814 followers
October 8, 2012
Posted on Under the Covers

Alexander Edgeware, Lord Xavier doesn’t like to turn down a bet, so when his cousin Lord Longwood wagers that he cannot get the prim and proper Lady Louisa Oliver to attend his famously naughty Christmas part and stay for the whole two weeks, Xavier makes it his next goal to prove that he can. As a man notorious for his wicked ways, Xavier uses his charm to get a rise out of Lady Louisa. So the question stands, does the bookish Lady Louisa stand a chance against the wicked lord?

SEASON FOR SURRENDER was a sweet and uplifting read. I enjoyed the characters very much. Lady Louisa was particularly endearing because of her love for books and a secret thrill for experiencing the unspeakable. She’s a curious one who seemed to bring a bit of innocence and light into Lord Xavier’s world. They got along wonderfully and I loved Romain’s ability to infuse the book with sweetness and teasing sexiness.

As my first book from Theresa Romain, I found that I enjoyed her writing style very much. She has a great voice, but sometimes I felt that some scenes went on for a little too long. But I do think that the characters made up for that.

I was a little skeptical because I don’t usually enjoy books where a bet is the key to which the hero and heroine meet, but Romain put her own unique twist to this trope that made it enjoyable.

The holiday theme is prominent and definitely gives this book a more romantic feel. After reading this, I think I’m likely to seek what’s next for Theresa Romain.

*Review Copy provided by publisher
Profile Image for Manda Collins.
Author 35 books1,234 followers
December 20, 2012
Charming Christmas house party romance with a hero and heroine who are neither what they seem. Loved that Alex and Louisa fell in love over poetry and books:)
Profile Image for Amanda.
400 reviews100 followers
February 13, 2017
"Despite everything he had done that was foolish and wrong, Louisa wanted and liked him. The knowledge seeped through him, bone-deep and astounding. He wanted her to know his very self.
So he kissed her, slow and gentle, his lips entreating: trust me.
Tilting her head in the cradle of his hands, he slid his mouth to the hot pulse on her neck, then murmured down its length.
Nonsense? Poetry? It didn't matter. She shivered, and he sucked lightly at the fragile skin. Not hard enough to bruise; only enough pressure to mark her memory with pleasure.
You are wanted. You. Louisa."

4.5 swoony stars

In direct contrast to the first book in the series, Season for Surrender upped the stakes by adding a dash more angst and a lot more seduction. This book had so much going for it! A more than she seemed to be bluestocking, a farsighted faux rogue with a penchant for poetry, an outrageously bawdy aunt, ciphers, family secrets and a really big library. And it all begins with a bet...of course it does.

I liked how Xavier, no, Alex and Louisa connected almost immediately on a deeper level. They appeared, on the outside at least, to be total opposites but in truth were very much the same, for both secretly masked their true selves out of fear and self protection. But neither could hide from each other, a fact that terrified and intrigued them. I loved the way their kinship and intimacy grew over time, mostly taking place in Alex's library (oh how that fact set my bibliophile heart ablaze). And it was also wonderful to see Alex and Louisa's individual growth in confidence and self worth BEFORE the L-word entered the picture. Another couple that made each other better, yay!

Something I really love about Theresa Romain's writing is that she's very good at delivering twists on the expected, such as having Louisa find out about the bet early on which in turn gave her the upper hand in the game. I did find that the conflict concerning Alex's smarmy cousin was the weakest aspect of the book if only because I didn't give a wit about him or his ~agenda. Other than that insignificant nitpick, I have so much love for this book, Alex and Louisa and OF COURSE, Lady Irving. Now I'm really looking forward to reading Jane's book next since she was a shining new addition in this one.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
161 reviews5 followers
August 27, 2015
I would probably give this book 2 1/2 stars, but I am rounding down because it ended up being a disappointing and somewhat tedious read for me. To be fair, though, I was disappointed because I wanted the book to be something other than what it was, rather than because of flaws in the writing.

If you are in the mood for a light-hearted romance, A SEASON FOR SURRENDER fits the bill. Theresa Romain has an entertaining style, the dialogue sparkles, and the central characters are engaging and likeable. Their personalities kept me reading even after I lost interest in the story.

The secondary characters, unfortunately, are less well-developed. The villain of the story is nasty through and through, with no redeeming qualities. I prefer my antagonists to have more nuance. Too many other characters are simply names on the page. Most of the novel is set at a two-week house party. Characters appear midway into the story who have apparently been present for days without ever being mentioned, and characters introduced early on are forgotten for chapters at a time.

My biggest problem, though, was that I simply wanted more depth, in both character and story. This is, ultimately, a parlor drama. The conflicts are all interpersonal, and the only problem confronting the central characters is the "will they or won't they" romantic dilemma. About one-third of the way into the story, I began to wish there was something more at stake, some problem that would take the characters outside the confines of the house party and their preoccupation with each other. That, however, would have made it a different book, and probably not the one the author intended to write.
Profile Image for Rachna.
331 reviews71 followers
March 10, 2013
I loved the leads in this book so much. and I hated the main antagonist in this so much, too. I'm basically surprised by how much I felt about this? the male lead in particular got to me - I usually dismiss dude angst, because they're frustrating and tiring and repetitive and nothing really comes of it, so all it does is give dudes a reason to brood for no reason - but Alex's problem was really relatable, in ways that struck me, and it was explored in a way and given consequences in a way I found really good. And Louisa wanting to be something more than shy because she can be great and cutting and intelligent and warm was also so relatable, especially because she didn't magically become better at it by the end of the book in a way that made everyone stop and stare - she was just improving little by little!!

The 'ship in this was wonderful, they made me smile so much. my favourite thing about them was how every time one of them stepped away or stepped back the other one realised why it was that they did it - not ridiculous, prolonged misunderstanding, and not immediate understanding either, but a learning curve. I like it when couples get better at things, especially when they get better with each other. And the way they talked about things!!! - not witty or anything, but where both of them got each other. I loved it.

This book was a little slow, and I think it felt a little stilted in places, but I loved the leads enough that I had to give it four stars.
Profile Image for Vanessa Kelly.
Author 46 books1,501 followers
July 17, 2012
Theresa Romain writes gorgeous historical romance. This book has lovely prose and a very appealing hero, who is struggling to become more than society expects of him. It's really a wonderful Christmas romance, with lots of great dialogue between two very witty but deeply emotional people.
Profile Image for Duanur.
863 reviews57 followers
January 18, 2020
I don't normally read books that have 3.5 avarage rating but I decided to give this a chance since it sounded like a cute wintery historical romance book. It doesn't deserve a 3.5 avarage rating (I've seen worse books with 4.0 rating) but it wasn't amazing either. The writing was really good much to my surprise. I liked the characters (yes, there were more than two!) and I liked how the villain wasn't really a villain but a jealous cousin. That was fun to read and I was actually more scared of him than any other villains in a historical romance book. You don't understand the power of a jealous relative. It makes me shudder even thinking about it.

But the reason why this wasn't a 3 star for me is because it didn't have enough cute scenes. Shallow, I know but this is a historical romance. Why would I read a historical romance book if it didn't have cute scenes in it?

I need to mention this part. The main girl loves puzzles so the main guy makes a puzzle to confess his love or something like that. So there is a riddle at the end where they play charades to spell a four letter word. Even with the mention of a four letter word I was like NOPE WE ARE NOT DOING THIS. I had freaking war flashbacks of ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses). At this point every riddle in a romance book has the same stupid unoriginal answer and it is non other than LOVE. Even for that this book lost a star for me. I wish the answer was Alex. It would have been cuter than LOVE.

All in all, a forgettable historical romance with not enough cute scenes but a good villain and above avarage writing. Also Lord Xavier has an amazing library and I LOVEd that.
Profile Image for Jan.
557 reviews8 followers
September 23, 2017
I really enjoyed this novel. Great dialogue and build-up and well-defined characters.
Profile Image for rameau.
553 reviews187 followers
October 2, 2012
This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog

It’s 1818 and Earl of Xavier has created a problem for himself. He’s agreed to a bet he never should’ve agreed to, but a renown rake and gambler must keep up appearances. Oh, well, he could always manipulate the circumstances in his favour by rewriting the Christmas celebration guest list to ensure Louisa Oliver and her aunt would stay the full two weeks. Fortunately, reputations deceive. Louisa is as little a bluestocking as Xavier is a thoughtless philanderer, but it turns out both of them are seducers.

A few wagers later Louisa owes Xavier hours of her time and they start discussions beyond normal scope of society gossip and imminent scandals that are so closely associated with both of them. As Xavier reluctantly tempts Louisa’s virtue, she seduces him into showing the man behind the numbered expressions.

Season for Surrender starts slowly and I had trouble getting into the story. I did come to like both Xavier’s and Louisa’s voices, but unfortunately I wasn’t ever fully captivated. That isn’t to say I didn’t like the story—I did—but I have the attention span of a gnat and I need to be continuously lured into turning the page and starting a new chapter. Most of the time, the chapter titles did that by reminding me of Gail Carriger��s wit and hinting just enough to what was was coming. There were a couple that could have been considered as mild spoilers, but I didn’t mind them.

I liked the fact that Louisa’s interest in books wasn’t something to be taken on faith; it was shown and it helped to provide her an organic connection with Xavier. It also helped me to suspend disbelief long enough to accept the sexual aspects of their encounters. .

Their discussions over the state of his library and literary in general helped to mirror the progression of their relationship. I usually hate when authors start quoting other people’s works, but here the quotes were used sparingly and chosen for the maximum impact—it is to say I didn’t feel the need to automatically skip them and that I did in fact read them through.

More than just the quotes, though, some things about this book reminded me of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. It wasn’t just the descriptions of regency era festivities with a bigger company than three or five, but also a few—one in particular—specific scenes in the end that made me imagine Colin Firth striding across a long room thinking of Jennifer Ehle.

I also liked Lady Irving and Xavier’s cousin, Jane, whom I suspect could be the heroine of a future Theresa Romain novel. More than that, I’d be interested in seeing whether or not the author can turn the villain, Marquess of Lockwood, into a character with a bit more depth.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for this review.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,680 reviews1,015 followers
October 23, 2012
This is the first book by Theresa Romain that I have read, and will definitely look for more on the strength of it.

Alex Xavier has spent most of his life being and doing what everyone expects of him. Like many titled young men of the ton, he has done his share of drinking, gambling and womanising –although not as much as his reputation would seem to suggest. Orphaned at a very young age, he has had to find his place in the world without the help of parents or relatives (actually, it’s never made clear exactly who brought him up) and has, as a result, a desire to be noticed and needed – even if it is as a source of gossip and scandal.

When he meets Louisa Oliver however, he begins to acknowledge to himself that this is not who he really is, as she is immediately able to see through the façade to the less cynical and world-weary soul underneath. I liked the way that Romain drew the distinction between the two sides of him, calling the side shown to the world by his title and the more genuine side he shows to Louisa by his first name.
Louisa also suffers under the weight of a reputation that precedes her, although in her case, she has been an object of pity, having been jilted by her fiancé in favour of her sister, and is thought of as a wallflower – she describes herself as “invisible” on several occasions – and a bluestocking.

I thought that the way Louisa and Alex gradually get under each other’s skin was very well handled indeed. Alex tries to maintain his cool exterior in her presence, it soon becomes almost impossible for him to hide from her. Louisa is more successful in guarding her response to him – to the point of making him believe she is using him in order to add to her meagre life-experience. Yet there is a real warmth and affection between them that really leaps from the page. In my opinion, it’s essential to any good romance story for the reader to be able to see the development of the relationship between the hero and heroine, and for it not to be rushed – and here, everything progressed at a gentle pace; not too fast and not too slow. Louisa possesses a very keen sense of humour, and the exchanges between her and Alex really sparkle.

As he comes to know Louisa, Alex realises that he wants to shed his rakish persona and become the man she thinks he has the potential to be… but he doesn’t know how. In order to do this, he has to face the truth about himself and learn to care less about what society will say of his volte face.

There are, of course, a few bumps along the road to happiness, in this novel caused by a relation of Alex’s who he discovers to have been harbouring a grudge for years; when Louisa’s reputation is threatened, Alex does that pig-headed alpha-male thing and sends her away having done his best to convince her that he doesn’t care for her. Fortunately for him, however, Louisa is cleverer than that and with the support of her splendidly eccentric aunt returns to him.

This was a really satisfying romance – the principal characters were well-rounded and it was nice to read about a heroine who is a bluestocking without being a shrinking violet or socially inept.

Profile Image for Erika Williams.
163 reviews4 followers
November 10, 2012
Witty and engaging, this book is the perfect joining of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice and Oscar Wilde's "A Woman of No Importance."

Lord Xavier would stake his reputation on a wager. In fact, his entire reputation is build on wagers. So when his cousin proposes a wager on whether or not Xavier can keep a certain house guest at his party for the entirety of the season, he feels like he has no choice but to agree.

The guest in question is Louisa, a intelligent young woman who is no stranger to scandal. The year before she was engaged, but her fiance fell in love with her step sister and ended up marrying her instead. So Lord Xavier's party is the perfect excuse for her to get out again. And at least she'll be supervised, so she shouldn't be able to get into too much trouble.

While Xavier is doing everything in his power to keep Louisa there, his cousin is doing everything possible to scandalize her and send her packing. Meanwhile, Louisa knows about the bet the entire time, so everything either of them does either angers her or amuses her, depending on which one it's coming from and her mood at the time.

Xavier gives her access to his library, where she comes across some family secrets, and the two bond through something I've haven't seen much in romance novels, their intelligence. They have conversations where they quote classical literature in the original language. It's amazing, and I love to see such intelligent characters grace the page. Theresa Romain really shines in her dialogue, especially between Xavier and Louisa.

There was only one issue I had with this particular book, and it was with the second sex scene. The first and third one were absolutely fine, but the second just felt off to me. It was like these two witty characters I had enjoyed reading about were suddenly replaced with cheap porn stars, and it was rather jarring for me. Note, I must again point out that this was only a problem with the second sex scene.

Overall, I found this book to be witty and engaging, perfect for reading in a bubble bath at the end of a long day. I fully intend to track down the first book now.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
785 reviews167 followers
August 4, 2014
Season for Surrender is a holiday historical romance set during the regency period. Lord Xavier is hosting his annual Christmas house party, which is well known as a scandalous affair. This year, Lord Xavier’s cousin, Lord Lockwood, decides that they should make the house party more interesting in the form of a wager. Both Xavier and Lockwood are well known for their wagers; however, this wager puts the reputation of one Miss. Louisa Oliver at risk. Xavier will only win if he can keep Miss. Oliver at the house party for the full two weeks, naturally Lockwood is determined to scandalize Louisa into leaving early; thus, collecting his ten pounds. When Miss. Oliver arrives and Xavier determines that he must protect her from his cousin, all bets are off!

Overall, I thought Season for Surrender was okay. There was a lot to like in the novel, the main characters were engaging and I thought the baggage that both brought to the table was interesting enough to want to learn how the pair would surmount it to get their happily ever after. Louisa was a witty bluestocking and Xavier was an unhappy rake – yes, the characterizations were not original, but I enjoyed this romantic pairing. It was interesting that both characters were playing a role and that through the course of their interactions they gradually began to understand the real person beneath the act.

What I did not like about the novel was the pacing. I found that the novel dragged a little bit in the plot department. It seemed to take a long time for the characters to admit their attraction to one another, and even then I found the writing a bit choppy in the character’s admittance of their attraction.

While both the main characters were good, Louisa’s Aunt Estella. I LOVED this secondary character. Estella spoke her mind and her witty remarks brought a lot of amusement to the novel.

I ended up enjoying Season for Surrender but I think that there is room for improvement. I didn’t feel completely satisfied with the novel, but it was still a good holiday read.
942 reviews
October 17, 2012
I was one of the fans who hoped for Louisa’s story after reading Season for Temptation. I found her an interesting, endearing character in that book, and she’s even more engaging in this one. I loved watching her discover how much more she is than she has ever realized and how she pushes Xavier to reexamine the assumptions upon which he has built his public life. I like appearance versus reality as a theme, and Romain handles it skillfully in this story. Lady Irving is as delightful as she was in the first book, and Xavier’s cousin Jane is an enormously appealing young woman. I can definitely see her growing into a heroine.

I’m an equal opportunity historical romance reader. I enjoy angsty reads and I enjoy light-hearted reads. I even enjoy what I call cotton-candy romances, light and sweet but essentially insubstantial and offering no nourishment. But my favorite light romances are not all froth; they have substance as well as sparkle. Season for Surrender is the second kind of light romance. It has warmth and meaning. It’s going on my list of Don’t-Miss Christmas Reads of 2012. Don’t worry if you haven’t read Season for Temptation. Season for Surrender works quite well as a standalone. And for those of you who share my fondness for literary references, this book is a treasure.

See full review at Just Janga:
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,405 reviews292 followers
October 24, 2012
Are you getting a sense of Deja vu? Well then you are correct cos I have already posted a review of this one on my blog. Rameau's review, but then Anachronist asked if I would write one too? And I thought about it and thought why not. It will be fun to compare.

I am glancing at Rameau's review while writing this ;)
I did think the smexing came to fast in this book, suddenly there it was and I was all lime wow, slow down people. Seems Rameu found a way of approving this while I am not too happy about it. Just too fast.

The heroine loves books, and that means I loved the heroine and it really showed what a booklover she was.

The whole rogue aspect around Xavier I did not get, I would have wished for him to be explored, or explained more.

Seems Rameau liked the discussions the couple had, I fear I found those part the most dull. Nothing happened (of course then smack! smexing).

She wonders about Lockwood, well I sure hope he does not get a book, but yes Jane should get one. She is a cousin of Xavier and a sweet thing.

All in all, bluestocking meets Rogue and soon it all starts. Of course he means to seduce her to win a wager and she, well she wants to live for once.

For Rameu's more excellent review go here
Profile Image for Jultri.
1,078 reviews6 followers
November 26, 2013
Some good banter, but story went nowhere, and although I'm more than halfway through, I find myself unable to finish this book. Still don't get why Xavier felt the need to fake his persona, and secondary characters were rather tiresome. Louisa had some spunk, but she turned strangely hot and cold and her motivations were inexplicable also. Just didn't care enough about them to stick around long enough to find out why or whether the book did answer these questions or not.
Profile Image for June.
104 reviews19 followers
December 12, 2013
A sweet holiday romance.
I like Theresa Romain's voice in this book. Her style is slighly different from other authors in this genre. I find it to be refreshing and charming. Another series to complete next year. :)
Profile Image for Gaby.
517 reviews
November 22, 2017
I haven't read the first one, but I couldn't wait to read this one so I just skipped and went direct to the Louisa and Alex's story. I'm so glad I did, because I loved it. It has been a while since I read a regency romance that I could adored the hero and the heroine alike, so I enjoyed a lot their story. It didn't feel rushed, it feels "real", the development and I don't know, I didn't feel like dragged at any point (not even at the start).
Maybe I just loved a clever heroine who loves books and is logical above all, or maybe I loved that Xavier was more than just another rake who couldn't help himself (I did liked the explanation of his behavior). Maybe it's both. I loved them together, their story, the library! (Oh, that library!!).
It's my favourite book by Mrs. Romain at the present time.
Profile Image for carrietracy.
1,352 reviews19 followers
November 28, 2017
Easily 3.5

Louisa was pretty great and her swearing smart-mouth aunt was even better. Alex was fine and I very much liked Romain's take on "reformed rake". There's a spectacular library (okay fine, a library with some potential) for all the bookworm readers, mistletoe, and an opera singer who is not what she seems.

The only thing I didn't like was the villain. I mean, obviously, you are not SUPPOSED to like the villain...but...maybe it's all the assault/harassment that has been in the news lately, but the threats in that department were pretty upsetting to me. So I guess TW for those things.
Profile Image for Malin.
1,419 reviews71 followers
December 25, 2015
3.5 stars

After Miss Louisa Oliver broke her betrothal to Viscount Matheson, her step-sister and former intended was subjected to quite a scandal, due to the gossipping ways of Matheson's friend, the dissolute Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier. Matheson and Louisa's step-sister got married, and the scandal passed, but Xavier isn't really a favourite in the Oliver or Matheson family circles any more. So when Louisa, with her formidable aunt as chaperone, receives an invitation to his house party, rumoured to be quite a raucous event, she's puzzled, but intrigued and accepts. Having accepted her likely fate as a spinster, she'd nonetheless like to experience a thrill or two, and what better way to practise flirting or stealing a kiss or two than at Xavier's wild party?

Lord Xavier was orphaned at an early age and has had the wealth and freedom to do as he pleased since for as long as he can remember. Drinking, gambling, debauchery and wagering, he's done it all, but it's starting to lose some of its charm. Yet he's known to never turn down a wager, so when his malicious cousin bets him that he can't make a proper lady of good family attend his house party, no matter how shocking, and stay the full two weeks, he accepts. He had never expected his cousin to pick the bookish Miss Oliver, whose reputation he's sure his cousin intends to tarnish. He needs to make sure that nothing too shocking occurs to scare Miss Oliver away, while guarding her virtue without being too obvious about it.

Early on in the visit, Louisa overhears Xavier and his cousin speaking about the wager and realises how much is at stake about her presence there. She decides to teach both the men a lesson and pushes herself out of her comfort zone, engaging in the festivities with an enthusiasm that surprises everyone. Xavier tries to keep her from harm by distracting her with his large and comprehensive library, but finds what he most wants to do is spend as much time as possible with her there. Louisa discovers that if you're going to improve your flirting and kissing, there's no one better to practise on than a rake in want of reforming.

My biggest problem with the first book in this series (Season for Temptation) was that there just wasn't enough plot to fill a full novel. At least in this story, I didn't have to feel that, but there are still slow patches. The book starts a little before the house party with the wager, but the chief portion of the story is at Xavier's country estate, with a largeish cast of characters, among them Xavier's cousin, Miss Jane Tindall, whose mother is nominally the hostess of the gathering, but seems to spend most of her time drunk or asleep. Jane appears to be the heroine of the next book in the series.

Louisa is really quite happy with the idea of staying unmarried, but at the same time she's been organising the library at her new brother-in-law's house and several months of watching the newly-weds be sickeningly happy could make anyone feel a bit down, even someone who hadn't originally been engaged to the groom. Feeling very much the third wheel, she's quite relieved to be invited to a house party, even if the host is the duplicitous Lord Xavier. It doesn't take her long into her visit to discover that he wasn't quite as dastardly as to besmirch her step-sister's reputation to one and all, but he did confide in someone he shouldn't. Used to being in the background, quietly observing everyone else, Louisa is quite the study of human nature, and is amused to discover that much of Lord Xavier's behaviour is merely a clever veneer, applied to fool those around him that he's as carefree, rakish and dissolute as his reputation claims. She becomes determined to make him reveal the person he really is, and is willing to use any means necessary.

Lord Xavier does indeed do very little without planning and forethought. He has a series of numbered expressions that he pulls out at the appropriate occasions and having been quite bored by his lifestyle for a while, he's nonetheless careful to cultivate the appearance of being the consummate rake, because he can't yet imagine what sort of a person he could be instead. A victim of his reputation, he believes it would be impossible to change now. He's very aware of how easily Miss Oliver could be ruined by mere hints at impropriety, yet cannot keep himself away from her. Initially, he tells himself it's too keep her safe, but the more time they spend together, the more obviously the attraction between them grows. He still thinks she's far too good for him, and even tries to send her away to protect her, not that it does a lot of good in the long run.

Theresa Romain remains an author who is perfectly decent, but who as of yet has not truly wowed me. I really did like this book, but I doubt that I'll particularly remember the details of the story in a month or so. Still, I keep seeing her books highly recommended, and can't seem to stop buying them in e-book sales, so I will continue to see if there is an exceptional book in her yet.
231 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2022
This was charming and fun. I enjoyed the cast of characters, the literary allusions, and the plot.
Profile Image for Bebe Knight.
Author 1 book62 followers
December 10, 2012
Review by Bebe at Reading Until I Fall Asleep

When making my list of Holiday reads this month, I knew a historical had to be on there. I’m so glad I stumbled upon Season for Surrender, it was everything I could have hoped for in a historical Christmas themed book. The story begins with Lord Xavier and his cousin Lord Lockwood deciding to make a wager that Louisa, a “bluestocking” wallflower, wouldn’t be able to stay at Xavier’s house party for the full two weeks. Louisa, whose ex-fiancé left her for her sister, accepts his invitation mainly to distance herself from her family but to also start a new. Early on in the two week party, Louisa overhears a conversation between Lockwood and Xavier arguing about her and if she will stay. Being the clever girl that she is, she decides to take the matter into her own hands. Throughout the party, Lockwood makes Louisa’s stay incredibly difficult in order to gain the win while Xavier begins to see the error of his rakish ways and Louisa helps him change into a better person.

When the “two week house party” was first mentioned I was like, What?!!? A Two Week Party? They really knew how to have a good time back in the day. But my excitement was quickly extinguished when I realized they spent their time playing cards and charades. Don’t get me wrong, I can sweep the floor at charades, but for two weeks? Louisa did, however, keep herself occupied in Xavier’s awesome library. Jena over at Throughout the Pages summed it up best with some amazing photos of what she believed his library to look like. Stunning! Check them out here. This was where most of Xavier and Louisa’s interaction took place in the book and it makes for great scenery to envision while reading. Like Jena said, libraries are the perfect setting for romance novels!

The whole time the invitees were being introduced to us I felt like I was watching the part in House on Haunted Hill where Vincent Price was introducing each guest. Xavier invited the most random bunch of people, mainly in his favor to win the bet, but I couldn’t help but picture all these people coming to spend the night to win a million dollars. An opera singer, 2 swinging couples, a mother with her 2 daughters, a drunk. It was quite comical at times how Ms. Romain threw the motley crew together into situations.

I know this book is about Xavier and Louisa (I’m getting to them), but can we talk about Lockwood for a minute? Ms. Romain did an excellent job at setting up the villain of this book. You liked him, then you hated him, then you really wanted to see him taken down. He was a persistent fellow even when Xavier and Louisa clearly asked for him to stop. He reminded me of that guy at a bar that hits on you but doesn’t get the hint so you have to pretend that you’re gay just to get him to back off. … What? You’ve never done that?… Don’t judge me…

Okay! On to bigger and better things! Louisa and Xavier (or Alex as Louisa calls him)! Ms. Romain did an excellent job at developing these two characters and I loved watching their relationship grow. Louisa went from a “bluestocking” wallflower to a take charge, kick ass heroine and Xavier went from a devious rake to a grounded Earl who had standards. I hate to mention movie references again but because of the wager and the way their relationship played out, the book at times reminded me of She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You (or Taming of the Shrew perhaps). This wasn’t a bad thing at all! I love both of those movies and Season for Surrender took a whole new spin on the “guy makes bet on girl/girl wins guy” concept.

I couldn’t be happier that I picked this book to be my Historical Christmas-themed book. Theresa Romain told an amazing story where the characters had a tremendous amount of depth and you craved to read the next scene with Louisa and Xavier together. I couldn’t recommend this book more! I just read that the next book in this series will be titled Season for Indiscretion and will center around two characters we were introduced to in this book; Jane and Lord Kirkpatrick!

Bebe’s Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ – Up All Night to finish

Profile Image for Aurian Booklover.
588 reviews34 followers
December 8, 2012

In the first book, Louisa is engaged in a marriage of convenience with James. But James falls in love with her sister instead, and marries Julia. They all blame one of James’ friends to gossip about it, Lord Xavier. So when Lord Xavier invites Louisa to his Christmas house party, along with her aunt Lady Irving as a chaperone, she accepts. Out of curiosity, and because she is ready for something new. She can’t stay living with her sister and James and watch their happiness from the sidelines, they need time alone.
Lord Xavier only invited her, because of a wager with his cousin, the Marquess of Lockwood. It was wrong of him, to gamble on the reputation of a lady, but he could not just refuse him. Lord Xavier has a reputation to always win his wagers, and he will have to do his best to protect her reputation, now that Lord Lockwood is set on ruining it, in order to drive Louise home before the two weeks are gone, so he can win the wager. He is hellbent on beating his cousin. His cousin, who has everything, a title, wealth, looks, while Lockwood’s father almost ruined his part of the family. But of course he can always freeload on Xavier.

I loathed and distrusted Lockwood from the start, someone who only cares for himself and the next bottle. I was intrigued by Lord Xavier, as that first scene set the tone that there was more to him. And Louise totally captured my attention. She is a bluestocking; she loves old books, and knows quite a lot about them. She has just finished cataloguing her brother-in-law’s library, and one of the lures Lord Xavier uses, is his promise of free reign in his own considerable library. Which is currently organized by color. Not on subject, not on alphabet or author, but on color. Which is pretty ofcourse, but impossible to find something quickly.
And yes, she is attracted to Xavier, but when she overhears the two rakes talking about the wager, she will take full advantage of that fact. She now knows why Lockwood is behaving so badly towards her, trying to shock her or intimidate her into leaving the party early.

And Louisa had other reasons for coming to the party, she wanted some new experiences, she wanted to be kissed. And she does manage that.

But I have to admit, Alex, Lord Xavier, stole my heart. He is not the usual arrogant sure of himself hero. He has made himself into a caricature, always witty, always wearing a mask, calling them expressions by name and number. But inside, he wanted to be different, wanted to be liked for himself, and not for his entertainment value. He has a horrible reputation, but most of it is just gossip without truth. And now he is really interested in Louisa. She doesn’t react like other young ladies of the ton, she sees behind his masks to the real man inside, and he is not sure he likes that. Can he change? Does he really care for the opinion of the ton? He struggles with nearsightedness, and starts caring for his estate thanks to Louisa’s influence. So, I have high hopes of him that he will become a real Earl at last.

And the ending really did surprise me as well. I never expected Louisa to come back, and what happened next. It was fun, it was fresh, and it was just good. Neither of them sets out for marriage, they just start caring for each other, first as friends, and slowly and steadily as they learn to know each other, there is more. Of course both are careful, and don’t want to reveal what is in their hearts, but it is there nonetheless.

So, my first Theresa Romain book will certainly not be my last. I already ordered the first book in this series and will certainly keep my eyes open for more. I like Theresa’s writing style, this is not one of those books with sex in the first few chapters, only some seducing, and sex only after the proposal. I liked that. Lord Xavier is known for his wit, but he is not the only character who has a way with words. Then there are the secondary characters. I loathed Lockwood, enjoyed the scenes with Lady Irving, and like Xavier’s cousin Jane. I am looking forward of reading her story someday, she sure is ready for some action!

9 stars

Full review on my blog, www.boeklogboek.blogspot.com
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
3,038 reviews647 followers
September 29, 2012
When I saw the gorgeous cover I was immediately drawn to Season for Surrender. While not part of a series, this book tells the tale of Louisa Oliver a character from Romain’s first novel a Season of Temptation. I found the cast of character’s attending the Christmas House party of Alexander Edgeware, Lord Xavier to be absolutely delightful. I quickly consumed this and walked away feeling good.

The ton and the wager books at White’s say Alexander Edgeware, Lord Xavier is a rogue and rumors of his escapades are the gossip of the ton. Alex does nothing to dissuade the tons opinion and in fact has a whole list of facial expressions he imposes on them. His cousin Lockwood makes a wager for 10 pounds that Alex cannot get a bluestocking to attend his Christmas House party and remain the full two weeks. He even goes so far as to name the woman, Lady Louisa Oliver. While Alex protests a woman’s reputation is worth more than a wager, he cannot help but accept. After all Lord Xavier never loses a bet. The tale that unfolds is filled with humor, sexual tension, a villain and an unexpected romance.

I must say Romain created characters I came to adore. Alex is a complete rogue (well at least that is what the ton has been led to believe). Getting to know the man behind the facial expressions was delightful. I found him to be completely swoon-worthy. Louisa Oliver is smarty, witty, quiet and looking for an adventure. I immediately connected with this little book lover. I loved that a library could make her swoon. She believes her season for a husband has passed but her feisty Aunt Estella has other ideas. I adored this melding, sharp tongue, opinionated woman. Other guests at the party were entertaining. I really liked Jane and hope she will get her own book. The villain was deliciously evil and created tension.

The pacing of the romance was off. It took too long for things to develop and kept this from achieving five cups of coffee. I loved the setting, and the steamy library scenes. The characters were all delightful and kept me reading, as I truly liked them. It was the getting them from point A to point B, and the constant hot and cold between Alex and Louisa that drove me batty. Just when I thought they had had a moment, they would have a setback. Perhaps it was intentional by the author to create tension, however this part of the plot frustrated me. When things finally began to progress..oh-la-la! I liked Romain’s writing style and her ability to bring her characters to life. I can just picture Alex's array of facial expressions and cannot help but giggle even as I write this. She provided wonderful detail and I developed a beautiful image of the house and its guests. The last quarter of the book was the strongest, and I loved the ending.

Despite issues I really enjoyed Alex and Louisa's story. I recommend Season for Surrender to fans of historical romance, laced with humor and lovable characters.

I want to thank Kensington books for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
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