My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Welcome to Spindle Cove, where the ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are... nowhere to be found. Or are they?
Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men; it is a haven for those who live there.
Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn't belong here. So far as he can tell, there's nothing in this place but spinsters... and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It's a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram's makeshift army.
Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle... but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?
(Just moving the review I posted on Goodreads to this blog ..)
How is it there's only five stars available? I'd pluck some more from the night skies if I could because this is just made of so much win. The kind that really awesome romances are made of. The kind that would engage your mind and not just yor heart. You know the one. Yup, that's the kind that would make you laugh out loud, swoon and sigh and grin goofily because your heart is just so, so full of love. I still have so much to say but I'm feeling indescribably happy and I'm just bursting with joy that review will just have to wait. Hehehe.
ETA - actual review
A Night To Surrender is a gem of a read. It will take you to dizzying heights of happiness, laughter, and love (and likely even some tears -- oh, Bram!). I found ANTS to be a brilliantly written story set in a charming little seaside village, teeming with distinctive characters bound to capture your heart with their humor, tenacity, passion, and spirit.
I have a profound love for Susanna and Bram, two amazingly beautiful survivors: damaged and vulnerable, stalwart and duty-bound. From the moment they meet, each has shaken up the others' world, challenging each other in every clever way possible. Their attraction is undeniable, genuine. Their connection is substantive, vital. It's very clear that their lives will never be the same again, simply as their encounter has brought a change in them. The journey they had to take for them to be able to let love in, is not to be missed. What an adventure it was, to go from being able to recognize their own weaknesses, break down solidly built defenses, overcome their fears and let go of their insecurities, to knowing the truth that one doesn't have to be perfect to be exactly what they need, and being able to trust unequivocally, and meet in the middle without sacrificing who they are at the core. I absolutely love the flirtatious banter and the witty repartee between the two (I can't pick favorites because there's just so many, but a laugh-out-loud moment that comes to mind would be when Susanna and Bram have a conversation with Sir Lewis, The One With The 'Proposal'. Heehee.) To tell the truth, these two didn't just make me laugh, they made me cry too. Look out for that moment when Bram confronts Sir Lewis, and tell me that your heart didn't just swell even just a little, that you didn't feel even just a bit of ache, a bit of sympathy, and a lot of respect. And love. Love, that goes without saying.
The secondary characters are an awesome bunch, truly. Some had me hooting with laughter, some were very appealing and charming, some I found to be very intriguing, and some were even deceiving; vexing and disappointing and not at all perfect or how we thought they'd be. Just like in life, we have those people we love who are maybe blinded by their own passion, or perhaps who simply cannot understand us. Those are the people that force us to adapt and change, and help us be better and stronger. And oh, to have all of these people reside in a place such as Spindle Cove ... I found myself pausing at certain moments in the book, wishing SC was an actual place I could visit, real and inviting as it is. If only.
I have already recommended this to everyone I know, and I even went out to buy it for some of my closest friends, because I just couldn't contain my excitement for this book and I couldn't wait for my friends to experience the satisfaction for themselves. What an excellent way to start the series, and I cannot wait to read about Colin and Minerva's story. :D
Favorite quotes, and there are so many to choose from:
* ... with everything ...
"No, Susanna," he said. "I cannot love you just a little. If that's what you want, you must find a different man." His green eyes were breathtaking in their intensity. His thumb brushed her bottom lip. "Because I can only love you entirely. With everything I am, and everything I will be. Body, mind, heart, soul."
* ... at last ...
"A beast is just what you want. A big, dark medieval brute to throw you to the ground, tear the clothes from your body, and have his wicked way with you. I know I’m right. I haven’t forgotten how excited you were in the aftermath of that blast."
The nerve of him!
How could he tell?
She lifted her chin. "Well, I haven't forgotten the sound you made when I first touched your brow. It wasn't even a moan, it was more like . . . like a whimper."
He made a dismissive sound. "Oh yes. A plaintive, yearning whimper. Because you want an angel. A sweet, tender virgin to hold you and stroke you and whisper precious promises and make you feel human."
"That's absurd," he scoffed. "You're just begging to be taught a hard, fast lesson in what it means to please a man."
"You're just longing to put your head in my lap and feel my fingers in your hair.
He backed her up against a rock. "You need a good ravaging."
"You," she breathed, "need a hug."
They stared at each other for long, tense moments. At first, looking each other in the eye. Then looking each other in the lips. "You know what I think?" he said, coming closer. So close she could feel his breath wash warm against her cheek. "I think we’re having one of those vexing arguments again."
"The kind where both sides are right?"
And this time, when they kissed, they both made that sound. That deep, moaning, yearning, whimpering sound.
That sound that said yes.
And at last.
And you are exactly what I need."
* ... have a guess ...
"Tonight," he announced, "is the night we take back that village. And we're not going to do it by marching in lines or committing acts of brave idiocy. We're going to do it by being men. Manly men. The kind of men a woman wants to take control."
Brows wrinkled in confusion.
"But . . ." The blacksmith looked around the group. "We are men. Last I checked, anyhow."
"It's not just a matter of having the proper equipment. It's using the equipment properly." Leaping up on a crate, Colin spread his arms wide. "Look at me. Now look at yourselves. Now look back at me. I am the man you want to be like."
Dawes crossed his arms. "Why is that, precisely?"
"Do you know how many women I've bedded?" When Rufus and Finn perked, he waved at them. "Have a guess, boys."
"Seventeen," offered Finn.
"Er . . . nineteen?"
"Oh, for the love of God," he muttered. "We'll be here all day. Let's just call the number more than you can imagine. Because clearly, that is the case." Under his breath, he added, "Perhaps higher than you know how to count."
* ... not wounded ...
"My pride's not wounded, for God's sake. And no, I'm not disappointed. Nor haunted, nor embittered, nor threatened. Stop trying to pin all these emotions on me like frilly pink ribbons. I'm not one of your delicate spinsters, Miss Finch. This isn't about my tender feelings. I have things to accomplish, and you"--he poked a single finger into her shoulder--"are hindering me."