From the dazzling ballrooms of glittering London society to magnificent, cursed estate in the distant wilds of Yorkshire, comes the deliciously wicked story of a thoroughly unconventional courtship--and a thrilling midnight rendezvous that could only lead to love...
At four and twenty Victoria Huntington thought herself quite adept at fending off fortune hunters... until she came under siege from Lucas Colebrook, the darkly disturbing new Earl of Stonevale. Amidst the brightly plumed birds of the town, Lucas was a hawk. And when he held out the lure of moonlit rides and wild, reckless midnight escapades, Victoria found herself powerless to resist. But becoming Stonevale's companion in adventure was far more dangerous undertaking than Victoria could ever imagine. For the attractive Earl would use her every weakness to woo her, to win her, and ultimately to wed her. And soon the amber-eyed lady would find herself ensconced in a crumbling mansion deep in the English countryside... where the real reason for her hasty marriage becomes all too apparent... and where the ghosts of her dark-stained past are waiting to rise up in a terrifying plot that will threaten her life, her honor, and the only man she could ever love.
The author of over 40 consecutive New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense, often with a psychic and paranormal twist, in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 30 million copies of her books in print.
She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.
Ms. Krentz is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.
Surrender started out as such a great book. I liked the heroine, Victoria, and the hero, Lucas, seemed to understand her and appreciate her intelligence and spirit. Unfortunately Lucas turned out to be a domineering prude just out for his own ends who systematically crushed everything he claimed to like about Victoria.
This isn't one of those epic love stories that will stand the test of time. It's a hard look at how unfairly women were treated in this era - even by other women. Victoria starts out as a vivacious young beauty full of life and diverse interests. She ends up a pale shadow who has to content herself with the one hobby her tyrannical husband allows her in between popping out babies. It's sad.
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I'm well fed story-wise, this is my third time reading an Amanda Quick historical Romance, and she definitely has a consistent formula that I've come to appreciate—reading her novel is like consuming a balanced meal—you'll get romance, adventure, wit, and mystery all wrapped up in a tightly-curated package.
Comparing to Ravished and Reckless, the romance in Surrender definitely ranks the lowest on the 'swoon-worthy' scale, as both hero and heroine are written quite realistically, especially when it comes to thrashing out their conflict, which involves a lot of debate/argument rooted in self-centered viewpoint, and escalating minuscule detail to an overblown, all-encompassing statement. The lack of 'romanticizing' makes the journey more authentic, but less idealized, which for some readers might defeats the point of picking up a romance novel—the extended sequence of them arguing about finance as a newly-wed was when I found myself the most disengaged (totally relatable, but I already have enough of this kind of argument in real life).
On the flip-side, Surrender is still filled with elements I thoroughly enjoyed: the world and time period is expansive and well-realized (we're constantly moving from location to location), the mystery has depth and packed with small reveals (I did not see a few of them coming), and even though the romance is pretty subdued overall, there remains moments of comedic delight (the heroine being stuck on a ledge while trying to reconcile is a personal favorite).
As someone who's a casual romance reader at most, I see the cross-pollination of genres in these Amanda Quick novels as a plus; yes, the additional plot/character overshadows the romance at times, but I was never bored. Thus far, Amanda Quick has been a very reliable historical romance source for me, so will definitely pick up another one!
***The Rake Appreciation Society Book Club | September 2022***
This was my 3rd read from Amanda Quick and probably my least favorite that I’ve read so far. That said, there is some interesting things happening in this story. It just sadly isn’t much about the romance. Lol
Victoria is 24 and an heiress who doesn’t want to marry and has become quite good at avoiding fortune hunters. Lucas is a “darkly disturbing new Earl” who also says he doesn’t want to marry (but secretly needs to marry an heiress). He and Victoria first meet in the card room at a house party, he finds out her plans for later that night and wants to escort her and her friend while they’re out. Victoria and Lucas end up making a deal of sorts to spend their nights adventuring together. She wishes she could have the freedom afforded to others and is irritated she doesn’t because she’s an unmarried woman. He has promised to take her out to gambling halls and nights of passion where she can remain “a lady by day, and a companion adventurer by night”.
About halfway into the book, Victoria approaches Lucas and propositions him with a “romantic liaison”, she wants to add passionate nights to their time together since she never plans to marry. Lucas offers up marriage, he doesn’t want her compromised and feels like the more time they hang out at night together is just leading to trouble, but Victoria is convinced they are fine. When of course they do get compromised, Victoria finds herself in a marriage with Lucas. Then the last half of the book we get their time together at his dilapidated estate. The story started to drag for me. There is some mystery happening in the story but it kind of felt all over the place and didn’t keep my attention.
After witnessing the disastrous relationships of her female relatives, Victoria Huntington has sworn of marriage and become adept at avoiding even the most ardent of fortune hunters. That is until Lucas Colebrook, a former officer and newly minted Earl, sets his sights on the young heiress and woos her with risky midnight rendezvous' and passionate embraces. But can he convince her that he wants her for more than her inheritance?
While Surrender includes all of the necessary components for a successful Amanda Quick novel, something is missing.
Victoria is intelligent, independent and witty, but she is also immature, self-absorbed and petulant. Lucas is strong, courageous and sexy, but his initial desire to marry for money and his self-righteous and high-handed tactics are less than appealing.
Despite these character flaws, Victoria and Lucas have excellent chemistry and their battle of wills is engaging. Moreover, Quick thankfully avoids the silly misunderstanding trope and has Victoria confront Lucas about his intentions before any secrets become too angsty.
The minor mystery plot has potential, but could have been merged better with the overall storyline. As it is, the villain is predictable and the motive not all that logical.
In sum, an entertaining enough read but Quick has written better.
Sigh......I really like Amanda Quick's writing. Really. It is always as if she was telling me the story right in front of me. I would follow her to the end of the world in her story. I have read almost every one of her so called one-word books and I remember ALL of them in great details. I think that says something about a writer's storytelling ability.
But then her heroines always destroy it for me. When I read Surrender as a young woman, I thought Victoria rather smart. I liked all her spunk, her independence, her zest for life and her belief in doing the right things. Now......I find her slightly offensive.
Victoria, another Quick heroine, smart and independent, slightly on the shelf, curious about life and has a secret. Quite honestly she isn't bad. But I wanted to throttle her when she made Lucas accompany her on those stupid nightly outings, seeing a hell, visiting a brothel etc. She seemed like a bored woman who had nothing else to occupy her lonely nights. I know, she was running from her secret and the nights were challenging. But I was disappointed in her. She put herself and Lucas in danger, because she needed to distract herself. And she made it that much worse, by always putting her nose where it did not belong and pushed Lucas to "do the right things" because she "believed that was what he should do."
I think it is dumb of Victoria to come up with these "activities" to keep herself separated from her nightmares. I understand why and sympathize with her, but I think it showed a rather unattractive side of her character, that is of course, my opinion. I also think it is obnoxious for Victoria to make Lucas do things that she believed were the right things to do. For example: save a friend from losing his shirt at a gambling hell and save a girl from prostitution. I imagine Quick put those plots in to show what a compassionate woman Victoria was. But I got really annoyed with her self-righteousness. You want to save these poor souls, you do it yourself. If you can't, find a way to do it yourself. Victoria asked Lucas to step in in her stead. Poor Lucas, who was at that point ruled by his penis, always agreed to do what Victoria asked him to do. I also believe that it was supposed to build up Lucas's character as a man who would eventually do the right thing, despite his allegedly cold heart.
Victoria, is a woman that pushed all my buttons. A know-it-all willful woman who thought her ideas were better and would not back down until something terrible happened. I would call her a quiet shrew, there are shrew heroines who throw hissy fits when things don't go their ways and there are shrewish heroines, who are basically shrew heroines minus the hissy fits. I admire strength and I admire gentle strength even more. While I do respect Victoria's tenacity, I do not like her. I would prefer someone who does what she does with kindness. Not "oh but Lucas, of course you must save him/her."
Lady, there is no must, at least, not from you. People must do what they do of their own accord. You could believe in whatever you want and use whatever means you believe necessary to achieve your goal. But telling others that they must do something because it is your belief...................well lady, muzzle it already.
Victoria in the first half, was a bored heiress who was running from her secret. She risked her reputation, her aunt's reputation, her life and Lucas' life for that. A woman who seriously needed a firm hand to take her in. She was bored alright and had way too much money for her own good. She could have devoted herself to doing some good. She didn't. She took risks, enjoyed life, wanted excitement in her boring rich life. She met Lucas, and Lucas gave her exactly that, because Lucas needed an heiress. Victoria felt ill-used, while I understand the sentiment, I couldn't help but feel that she got what she deserved. She was not exactly making it difficult for Lucas. She slept with him willingly, or rather enthusiastically, and found herself in a compromised position. It was not great, but honey, what did you think was going to happen?
Victoria in the second half, was a "mature" married woman with wounded pride, who was trying to make the best out of her "misery". She was angry that Lucas picked her for her money. She was in reality, a star-eyed woman whose pride had been wounded because it turned out the man she loved married her for her money. Lucas and Victoria made their reconciliation in the second half while saving Lucas poverty-stricken tenants. Victoria then became the capable managing woman. Honestly I think she should be grateful that Lucas gave her a purpose in life. There were other heiresses who would gladly marry Lucas and Lucas would have had a ok marriage as well. But Victoria would have been a rich spinster who numbed herself with parties and were constantly on the hunt for new excitements in life because she had no real purpose in life. If there was any woman who needed to be "taken in by a firm male hand", I would nominate Victoria. She needed Lucas, not the other way around.
It should be evident that I am not a fan of Victoria. Everything about her screamed a spoiled bored willful woman who secretly just wanted to a man to love her. Any less determined man than Lucas would have been completely unmanned by her. I am glad that she was paired with Lucas who certainly did rein her in, as much as she would like to deny it. She was lucky that Lucas was willing to put up with her shxt. I would have run to the next heiress who wasn't so full of herself.
Our heroine is Victoria Huntington, the orphaned spinster-by-choice heiress. Desperate to ward off suitors who want her for her money, her life changes when the biggest fortune hunter of them all, Lucas Colebrook, the darkly disturbing new Earl of Stonevale decides to set his eyes on her. Soon he becomes her confidante and companion for nightly adventures, but when a passionate night leads to open compromise, the pair are forced to wed. And as Victoria realizes his real intentions to marry her, and decides to keep him at bay, will Lucas give in to these ridiculous demands, or will he weasel his way into her bed?
Honestly, this was an averagely good read. Really stubborn heroine who was OBSESSED with her funds and control over them due to her past, and a destitute yet obstinate hero who desperately tries to woo his way into her heart. Both had moments where I wanted to shake them, but I do like that the revelations happen midway through the book- not at the end- so we actually see the couple working hard to solve their problems. Their passion was sizzling, and the drama was average.
This is definitely a re-read. I just never got around to posting a review for this book eons ago. Not much to say except I loved the heroine in this one (Victoria) and hero (Lucas). The two of them being thrown together due to Lucas needing an heiress and Victoria wanting adventure sets them on a fun collision course. Of course based on the time period there are a few times you want Lucas to get kicked hard someplace. He talks about his husbandly rights a freaking lot. And of course back then the husbands decided the wives allowance (if they decided to give them one). The love scenes are typical Quick, usually hero and heroine have their first time prior to marriage, they are fighting, another time in bed, and then there's a mystery to solve. This one has a mystery about who is sending Victoria threatening notes alluding to something dark in her past.
3.5 stars, but I like to round up not down. This is probably my least favourite of all of AQs' books. This was a satisfying read but I often had to push through my problem with BOTH characters at times.
Victoria seemed to have split personalities. At times she acted extremely immaturely and was like a spoilt child not thinking about the consequences of her actions and then at other times, she came across as strong and independant. As well it took me quite a while to warm up to Lucas, the hero, which I hate as I love loving the hero. Lucas came across (to me) as overly patronizing of Victoria... and I always have a problem with the whole different rules for different ppl thing. What Lucas considered "strategizing" in himself he called "manipulation" in Victoria. Pissed me off to be honest.
This is the third time I have read this one. I re-read AQs' books all the time... this is usually the last one to be re-read... now I remember why ;)
Still, once I got past my problems with the characters, I enjoyed the story. And no doubt it will be a re-read again for me in the future.
I love lots of Amanda Quick's books, but this is my favorite. The hero is a fortune-hunter, yet she manages to make him sympathetic. Since I'm writing my own fortune-hunter hero right now, I understand just how difficult that is. But she pulls it off. Lucas is just scrumptious.
Let me start off by saying that so far I've read eighteen books by Amanda Quick. Needless to say, this was the crappiest one! I don't know what was going with the author, but wow! It was obvious that she must have been feeling pretty good because she skipped having an editor or anyone read over this one for errors. There were so many errors throughout, making it really hard for me to get through it. I'm not really sure what was going on with the story itself, specifically the inner dialog and the verbal dialog because it all meshed together. There were no chapters to separate anything (not for my kindle version), and when it came to people talking, oftentimes I wasn’t sure whether it was being said out loud or as inner dialog.
By now I'd like to think that I'm use to this author’s type of stories: all period pieces with lords and ladies. The main male character was Stone Vale aka Lucas Colebrook. At the beginning, it was very confusing because 'Stone Vale' was used (throughout the book) and then suddenly Lucas is thrown in. I wasn't sure who he was and thought they were two different people. I've never had that issue before with her books.
One thing I'm so tired of hearing about is 'a chit being straight out of the schoolroom.' It seemed to be repeated a bunch throughout this story. Maybe there was just too big of a gap between this story and the last Amanda Quick story I read; I don't know. This one just annoyed me to no end. It's like something finally clicked in my brain and I realized that just about all her stories are exactly the same. This one for example reminded me of previous ones I've read. Lucas with his leg issue, just like Tobias March in the Lake & March Series.
In the end, I was very bored with this story. I ended up falling asleep several times while trying to get through it. I skimmed the last 1/4 and wasn't surprised at all as to who were the 'bad people.’
How can you slash someone with a wooden cane?
How do you use a length of wire to kill a beetle? But keep it intact still?
The whole 'your servant' from men was really annoying. I don't remember the author using that so much in previous books.
I get that the females in this time frame weren't that knowledgeable about sex and whatnot. But Vicky? My god, she was so annoyingly stupid. She has Lucas take her to a brothel, yet doesn't seem to even know what takes place in one when they get there. “Why on earth do those men keep trotting upstairs with the barmaids?” Um....
When they're at the brothel, she wants to help Molly. She doesn't want to draw attention to herself but when bidding stops at 90 pounds, she jumps in with 300 pounds. Why? Molly says that she was there to make money for her family back home. So what does Vicky think best? Why just send her home of course. That will definitely make things better.
Have I mentioned that I couldn't stand Vicky at all? She wants to go on all these adventures and Lucas always ends up getting stuck having to save someone because of her. How he actually wanted to still marry her, I don't understand. I mean she was constantly getting mad over every little thing especially after they marry.
She goes dressed as a man but seems to talk normally and no one really notices.
They make out in the carriage, she gets fingered and she can feel him hard under her butt. Yet when they arrive at her house, she's clueless as to why Lucas is acting weird/uncomfortable - that being his hard-on.
The whole “I don't think you're going to fit” is so tiring to read. Yeah the girl hasn't seen a real dick before and considers it too large to fit inside her. I swear that line is in all of this author's books and a good majority of books involving sex scenes. Come up with something new already.
Jessica deserved to get a beatdown. I couldn't stand her either. In a way she was worse than Vicky because she was always nice and calm about the crap she would talk about. When she was talking, with Vicky after the marriage, about how it was hard for Lucas when he and Vicky beded together because of his lack of feelings for her? Seriously?
Why did Vicky ask if after they were married was Lucas going to have an affair with Jessica?
The little experiment Vicky participated in was stupid. She drank brandy the whole time while everyone else is drinking different things. Why in the world would you learn anything from that? I mean you'd compare the effects of whatever to the brandy. Not keeping in mind that after so much brandy, I'm sure you'll be feeling fine. ;)
Lucas' room and Vicky's has the adjoining door, like they did in those times. But why did it seem like they didn't have a regular door leading out into the hall? I mean they were going back and forth using the ledge because Vicky kept putting a dresser in front of the adjoining door.
The best line 'I think I knew it (that Lucas loved Vicky) the night I took you to that inn and made love to you.' Um, was that suppose to be romantic? I mean you're getting ready to have sex with someone and that's when you realize that you're in love with them? Not all the time you've been spending together having adventures and whatnot? Vicky didn't even notice.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Very disappointing. I'm dismayed to say that I haven't finished this novel. There was no way I could continue reading, if the first three hundred pages were so torturous. Victoria, a reckless female, longs for adventure. Lucas, Earl of Stonevale, has the precise remedy for Victoria. Okay so the summary I found on Goodreads for Surrender was misleading. It hinted at mystery, suspense, and a fiery, passionate romance. Sad to say those were all lacking in the actual novel.
Good points: Lady Rycott was an interesting sort of female. She would no doubt have made a better female lead than poor Victoria. Lucas, the rare times he showed some backbone, was an impressive character. However that is lost beneath his pathetic attempts to woo Victoria and placate her. He's far too patient with her and agrees to her most ridiculous commands.
Bad points: The main character Victoria or rather Vicky (what a retched nickname) was frustrating. Unbelievably so. She's very immature, spoiled, and entirely insensible. It's implied from other characters' POVs that she is an intelligent female, well the butter truth is she is not. Absolutely not smart and makes terrible decisions. She's reckless to the point of stupidity and doesn't think ahead to the consequences. Once she's saddled with the repercussions of her poor choices, she has the nerve to bemoan her fate and the unfairness of it all. There was too much I disliked about this particular character and her very poor choices to bother reading past the initial three hundred or so pages. Another character who annoyed me, even more so than Victoria, was Jessica. She was Lucas's former love and blindingly superficial. A scene in the novel that made me want to gnash my teeth happened between my two least favorite characters. This scene would have been Victoria's chance to redeem herself in my eyes. But no, after this horrible woman, masquerading as a paragon, insults Victoria, Victoria takes pity on her and comforts her. I do not find that in the least realistic. It was so ridiculous I wanted to fling the book. What woman would comfort her husband's former love after said woman insults, demeans, and basically informs her that her husband doesn't love her in the least. Jessica is a terrible woman, I don't understand how she's viewed as a paragon. What further pissed me off was how instead of showing her ire to Jessica, Victoria instead lashes out at her husband. While it was somewhat deserved, Jessica should have been the recipient instead. Anyways i never did figure out the plot or Victoria's backstory. For a woman so set against marriage, she never does really explain her reasons. And if what I think is true and her reason for not marrying is the abusive relationship of her mother and stepfather, then Victoria agreed to wedding Lucas quite fast, without really thinking it through. She's also blasé about a statement she makes implying Lucas's high-handedness with a whip. It was an innuendo to which Lucas responds that he would never whip her. If Victoria's reason against marriage was abuse then that was certainly a strange and out of context remark to make. Victoria changes her mind too much and is impulsive, rash, and very very immature.
I usually devour Amanda Quick novels, but this was just terrible.
I picked up this book the other day off of a free book cart in Bagley Hall at NSU, and for a free romance I have to say I am quite pleased. However, the ending was terrible. I would suggest reading till they are mostly happily married and not a page further. Once Ms Quick decide that she wanted to add murder and mystery it felt more like an episode of Scooby Doo, when the villain pulled off their mask and said, "And I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for you and your meddlesome dog." lmao
I read this book two decades ago for the first time, when I was a student in a college. Then I liked the story, but when I reread I found something annoying about the heroin.
The heroin was a kind of stubborn bluestocking. She was kind but like to make hasty action that caused many troubles to the hero. And she did not learn anything from her mistakes. Smart but sloppy what I told you about heroin's character.
A quick and enjoyable read; a sort of book to shove in the middle of classics. The plot is simple but still I liked Quick's easy writing style. This is my first read of hers and would like to try on few more.
3.5 stars Victoria and Lucas. I enjoyed their story, but something was missing from this one. Lucas was demeaning to her a lot. For example, he let the woman he had asked to marry him four years ago host a party for him and Vicky. To show her approval of the match. Vicky did not want to attend such party, but he overruled her and her feelings. So she had to back down and attend the party. He is also a smidgeon of a jerk because he was so involved in marry her for her money that he was willing to have sex with her in hopes that it would bind her to him. Then in the big reveal he says he "thinks" he feel in love with her the night they made love-which makes him a jerk if he did not already love her before having sex with her since they were unmarried and was courting her for the money that came with her. Vicky was too much of I want an adventure at all costs. I did like the amber lady parts. The mystery parts where meh.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Lucas Colebrook has just claimed his new title of Earl of Stonevale. This title comes with a large manor house, acres of land, but no money to run it. There are many people depending on him and he needs to marry an heiress now. His choice is Victoria Huntington. Lucas uses her love of adventure to court her.
After being pursued for years by fortune hunters, Victoria has sworn never to marry. But Lucas is getting harder and harder to resist. After being compromised and dragged to the altar for a quick wedding, Victoria believes that Lucas is just like the others who only want her for her money.
I liked the first half of the book when Lucas agreed to take Victoria to places such as a gambling hell and a brothel. But after the marriage, it felt like he was so caught up with the estate, he would not let Victoria be herself and tried to mold her into the usual by-the-rules regency wife. My rating: 3.5 Stars.
This Amanda Quick has an unusually dictatorial hero, once he gets the heroine, that is. I enjoy the adjustments they make to each other, both before and after marriage. Very true to life. Their skirmishes are sometimes hilarious. There is a mystery, too. What more could a reader want?
This was assigned reading for a women's club discussion about the Romance genre, or else I never would have chosen to look at it. I much prefer Historical Fiction, and what I appreciate about that is good research. All my notes on this book (and they are legion) are nit-picky complaints about misplaced modern day jargon and attitudes. I guess lovers of this genre don't mind historical inaccuracies because they are in it for the story (to quote another romance novelist, Maya Rodale): "We read for relatable characters. We read for scorching, hot passion (that would never have been spoken of in the polite society we write about, let alone written down). We read for true love blossoming and over coming obstacles. We read for happily-ever-after." Well, none of that fits into my own set of criteria; I feel sorry for giving this book only 1 star, when it's the genre I don't like. Sorry Amanda Quick!
Although for the author I do have questions: Why would an ex-fiancee go to such lengths to get Lucas married? Why does Victoria wear the same color every single day? Why give a character one cardinal rule and then have him break it? Why would Victoria be attracted to a man with a temper who drinks port by the bottle considering how traumatized she was by her alcoholic, raging step-father? How contrived is it that both main characters happen to suffer from very specific nightly recurring dreams? Must the bad guys be so two-dimensional and cartoonish as they expound upon the details of their evil plan?
At four and twenty, Victoria Huntington is on her way to being a spinster. Wary of fortune hunters and men as dastardly as her stepfather, she has spurned any potential suitors. That is, until Lucas Colebrook comes along.
Victoria chafes under the restrictions imposed upon the proper young women of the ton. She wants adventure and excitement and Lucas offers just that. Victoria and Lucas strike a bargain where he agrees to show her the sights of London that no gently bred maid should see...brothels, gaming hells, gentlemen's clubs...Ultimately, their agreement leads to them being found in a compromising position and they must wed.
The H needs to marry an heiress, and h doesn't want to marry him, asks him to have an affair. He's not in love with her, but he does like her and agrees to give her some 'experiences'. They had a number of adventures and it was good fun, but of course they were compromised. That's when the h became difficult for him - and for me. She fought him...just because, and he was so patient with her, I thought she was childish, he could have done better. There was a mystery and eventually they worked to resolve it. I liked it, but her constant arguing with him annoyed me and I thought she nagged. Ugh!
I really enjoyed reading this. The dynamic between the two main characters, Victoria and Lucas; I liked his steadiness in the face of her adventurous nature. It was quite entertaining how it played out, especially early on in the book. It was really fun to see how they bounced off each other. Victoria in particular was a very charming character for me - I liked how bright and bold she was. There was also a solid amount of conflict between them that felt genuine and worked for me, particularly when they - and the plot - moved to Yorkshire. The external plot was good and, whilst I saw where it was going, I was kept interested in it till the very end.
I did have some issues with the book, but they don’t seem to have been the other issues I’ve seen reading reviews of this book. I didn’t find Lucas any more controlling as a hero than most other heroes in a historical romance - I actually could see their ‘adventures’ continuing even when they’re married, and from my perspective, he came across as quite indulgent. A lot of his more ‘controlling’ actions weren’t necessarily wrong even if he was heavyhanded with his methods; for example, I don’t think (if they were real people!) not wanting her to spend £15k on an unwise investment was that bad a choice (although I do wish some of his methods had been less blunt).
I did, however, have a problem with one scene midway through the book, when Lucas takes her to a brothel.
I also found something off about the pacing of the book. I enjoyed it as I read it but as a fast reader it felt like it was taking me ages to get through it. I think the first half and the second half didn’t quite work well as a whole - I enjoyed them both separately for what they were, and ultimately the plot worked, but the tone of the two parts felt quite different. I think that impacted the pace of the book a bit - the first half felt quite fast-moving with lots of things happening, whilst the second was a bit slower and more introspective, with a lot more focus on their characters and past traumas. I just think the transition between the two could have been worked on better.
Overall I did enjoy it; the dynamic was interesting and the conflict worked well. There were a few choices on the author’s part I wasn’t keen on, though, and a slower pace that stopped me from giving it a higher rating.
Content Notes: Marriage of convenience, bargains/deals/wagers.
Lucas, the new Earl of Stonevale, is a former military officer desperately in need of money to get his newly inherited property and title up to reasonable working condition. The best way to accomplish this is to marry an heiress with dowry enough to help him achieve his goals. Victoria is a 24 year old orphaned heiress whose one desire in life is to NOT get married. The beginnings of this book read like numerous other historical romances. Lucas starts to court Victoria for her money but quickly realizes he wants her for much more than that. Victoria finds herself falling for Lucas even while stubbornly keeping marriage out of the picture as an option. Quick, however, takes this standard beginning and elevates it to a book that is better than most. I liked Lucas as a character. He is a man who has been forced into a position he'd never considered - one responsible for lands and tenants - but handles himself with a good amount of honor and self awareness. He knows what must be done, and he sets out to do it. Furthermore, he, more than anyone else except for her eccentric aunt, understands and appreciates who Victoria is and could be. For a large part of this book, I couldn't stand Victoria. She is naive, immature, and reckless all the while believing herself intelligent and worldly. She is incredibly self-centered with very little true understanding of the potential consequences of her actions or the scandal that could result. Lucas is all too aware when he agrees to escort her on her "adventures," but feels this is the only way he can win her heart. It takes true talent as an author to make me appreciate a character I didn't like as much as Victoria, but I found myself drawn into her development. I started to understand Lucas's patience with her (even when I wanted to beat sense into her myself) and came to like them as a couple. As much as her actions and reactions annoyed me at times, I couldn't help but be fascinated by how the reality of life outside of her bubble - from her understanding of how difficult life can be for those not in her financial position to how freedom is often coupled with great responsibility to others - changed and matured her.
As with many of Quick's books, the side plot involving murder and revenge were underdeveloped. The happy baby epilogue is a cliche I wish would end. Overall, though, well done Amanda Quick.
As a rule, I really enjoy reading the historical romances written by Amanda Quick. Unfortunately, Surrender has proven to be somewhat of an exception to that rule. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but by the time I'd completed about 60% of it, I found I was reading just to finish it. Essentially, the story is about two strong willed characters who, although they supposedly care for one another, spend the bulk of the book attempting to manipulate and outmaneuver each other. Victoria is presented as a intelligent, independent woman who, after meeting Stonevale and with his assistance, begins to engage in reckless behaviour. When faced with the consequences of that behaviour she becomes angry and bitter. I'm not sure I ever really warmed to Stonevale, although I was inclined initially to give him the benefit of the doubt, as he is after all, a Quick hero. He seemed to be motivated by little more than acquiring an heiress and saving his estate. In any romance novel, I expect incidents of misunderstand and conflict, but the essence of the story should be the growing attachment between the main characters. In Surrender, the latter half of the book can be summarized as follows: Stonevale is controlling and harsh, Victoria becomes angry, Stonevale attempts to placate her with a 'midnight adventure'. Repeat. The few displays of affection, especially by Stonevale, seem more self-serving than genuine. Because I never really warmed to either Victoria or Stonevale, their HEA ending felt flat. The more interesting side story about Victoria's nightmares and the attempts to frighten her received insufficient air time. In summary, Amanda Quick has written some lovely historical romances. Surrender is one of the weaker ones.