A NIGHT TO SURRENDER - Tessa Dare
England - 1813
Spindle Cove is a refuge, of a sort, for wealthy young women who may be having trouble with their place in life, be it shyness, overt interest in the wrong man, or those losing interest in their marriage. The sea air and the regimen that Susanna Finch has established for them helps the ladies face the future with better health, more of a grip on reality, and inner strength. Susanna is content with her life, living with her eccentric inventor father, and not having to answer to a husband. That is until the arrival of Victor Bramwell.
Victor is struggling with dealing with his future. Badly wounded in battle and still recovering from the damage done to his knee, he is intent on returning to battle one way or the other. When he, his cousin, and his corporal arrive in Spindle Cove, also known to the outside world as Spinster Cove, Victor is frustrated with the delay to get supplies to his old regiment, but astounded to find the eminent weapons inventor Sir Lewis Finch living there. He’s even more surprised to be informed by Finch that he, Victor, is the new Earl of Rycliff. But he is completely taken aback by Finch’s gorgeous and very independent daughter, Susannah, who makes it perfectly clear that she is in charge of the village, and she’s not happy to have men invading.
When Victor is charged with developing a militia for Spindle Cove, his first challenge is to find men, which is difficult. It seems the village has been transformed over the years to something resembling a ladies’ retreat. The pub is now a tea shop, the blacksmith makes jewelry, and one of the only other men about is the vicar. Finding enough able bodied souls for this militia is going to take some searching. Meanwhile Susannah is trying to keep her girls from going all atwitter over the arrival of Bramwell and his men.
Can two people as stubborn as Victor and Susannah meet in the middle and compromise some? Their immediate sexual tension does help a little, but Susannah is still unwilling to give up the freedom she has fought for. Working together to build the required militia is both humorous and heart-stopping as the small village and its inhabitants come to grips with reality.
A very fun story with a different premise, A NIGHT TO SURRENDER is a perfect beach blanket book. Entertaining, interesting, and filled with unique characters, I highly recommend this latest jewel from Tessa Dare.