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?
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.
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?
Comment: I've got this book some time ago after seeing some discussion on a message board about the unconventionality of some of the romances in this series. Although some readers might find the concept as too much fantasy, for me it was like a beacon and I got the first story right away. Eventually time went by and only now I managed to read it.
The story presents us Bram, his cousin and an officer who's been with Bram forever during the war. Bram arrives at Spindle Cove to ask the help of Sir Lewis Finch, a renowned inventor of artillery. Bram wants to return to war despite his knee and doctor's advice to retire. Bram doesn't want to even think about it so Sir Lewis might be the key to put him on battles again.
Before that Bram meets Susannah and feels very attracted to her, not knowing she's Sir Lewis' daughter. Susannah is a woman with a mission, she wants to help the ladies who arrive at Spindle Cove to cure themselves for whatever ails them in the city but in truth Spindle Cove is the place for them to breathe, to be themselves without pressure or disappointments. Bram's arrival disturbs the peace and the routine but what Susannah fears the most is her own feelings about him...
I liked this story a lot! I especially liked the idea of a place where ladies can be without the pressure of living in a city where those with some kind of apparent handicap, like a facial birthmark or shyness or spinsterhood are targeted by the society. Susannah tried and achieved her goal of creating a place where that doesn't happen and ladies have a weekly routine of chores where they can be on their own, with friendly faces and peace. All this in the disguise of being away to be cured. I really liked how Susannah behaved like the hostess of a never ending possibility of freedom and peace.
Susannah was quite the character. She had all the evidence of being a women ahead of her time, she wanted the best for those ladies because herself had bad experiences in dealing with society and even more so about curing what others thought was illness. All she needed was time and peace to be herself. After returning to Spindle Cove she envisioned that for other women in need. This shows the kind of person she is and how she would try to create the best she could to help others.
Men weren't part of the picture because in Spindle Cove there were no alpha men, so that scenario wasn't even a thought, but with Bram things change. Susannah keeps an eye on him but she can't help but fall for him and his nobility of character.
I think their relationship was well done, it felt phased, not rushed, not even the seduction scenes seemed forced or there just for the sake of the romance, when they actually are exactly that. But while many authors can't disguise this with talented writing, I had the feeling ms Dare could and the seduction between Bram and Susannah seemed cute and romantic to me. Plus, it looked like they belonged together and I was happy when they reached their HEA.
Bram wanted to go back to the life the knew, he wanted to stay away from dealing with different responsibility, but he wasn't prepared for Susannah or the feelings Spindle Cove and its inhabitants would set on him. He has character and a good heart and throughout the story it was evident to see and cherish.
There are many secondary characters with the magic possibility of good plots and I can't wait to read about them. I think the author did a good job, thought about a good plot and set up an interesting place and environment. Some might feel this was too much fictional to be labeled simply historical, but honestly I liked it a lot and I don't think it's to different from so many other books in the genre out there. As with everything, it's a matter of personal taste and, in this case, it did work for me perfectly.