In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit, that I picked this book up about a month ago, maybe a little more, and didn't get past the first chapter. I bought it on the strength of recommendations by two of my favourite authors, Heidi Cullinan and Bree Bridges (one half of Kit Rocha and Moira Rogers). They were so totally enthused by this book, how could I not? But I must not have been in the right frame of mind for it, because I set it aside and went on to read other things.
So I came back to it and this time, I couldn't put the damned thing down! I don't know that it touched me quite as deeply as it did Heidi and Bree, I didn't shed a ton of tears, but there were a few. This book was FUN, pure, unadulterated FUN. It was romantic, it was steamy, it was edge-of-your-seat adventurous at times, but mostly, for me, it was fun.
Tessa Dare writes men like Nora Roberts writes men. That's not something a lot of het romance writers can do, in my experience. Colin Sandhurst is a charming rogue and I fell in love with him right quickly. He sounded like a real guy, he thought like a real guy and was as uncertain and frightened as a real guy at times - so kudos to Ms Dare!
And I was pleasantly pleased with the characterisation of the heroine, Minerva (even though at times she did remind me of Temperence Brennan from the "Bones" TV show.) I loved her quick wit as much as Colin did, I think. :) Their dialogue made me chuckle out loud so often - one of the joys of this book.
There were a couple of things that bugged me, I have to admit. First off, back in the days of the Napoleonic War, did people really use the term "cracked" to mean crazy? I assume they must have, because Ms Dare seems to have done her research on everything else, but it it just sounded damned odd to me. Too modern. I also found most of the scenes introducing the protagonists of the next novel in the Spindle Cove series to be most intrusive in the story, like they didn't fit. Maybe they should have been included as part of the next book, letting the first few chapters run parallel to the last few of this book.
Also, I have not read any other Spindle Cove books - I was told that this one could stand alone and it does for the most part, I suppose, but the initial meeting of Minerva and Colin seems to have taken place in the first book of the series and as it was referred to on more than one occasion and sounded pretty darned important to Min and Colin's story,... I would have liked to read whichever book it was in... be it in Vol 1, A Night to Surrender or Vol. 1.5, Once Upon a Winter's Eve.
And the last thing that bugged me was that we were introduced to Sir Alisdair Kent and I thought he'd have been perfect for Minerva's sister Diana, but in looking at published novels/novelettes in the series, that is not to be. But Sir Alisdair needs a story! (See, that's how I think series should be handled, not this shoehorning in of the next pairing into the current pair's story.)
But all that being said, in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the name Tessa Dare gets added to my list of authors I want to read more from. More of? More stuff of theirs. WHATEVER! *LOL*