A Night to Surrender

A Night to Surrender - Tessa Dare

Maybe I shouldn't rate this, since I only got 20% of the way in before I gave up, but it seems about right. It's competently written, in the sense that the spelling and grammar are correct, the dialog sounds like speech and the characters are at least a bit compelling, and nothing about the story really offends me. That much generally earns at least two stars, even if the rest of the book is a lazy, cliched, big dumb mess. It's a bad book, but it's a harmless one, so two stars it is.


Despite what Avon says, this is not a historical romance. This is actually a time-travel fantasy. What this story does, rather than offer a window to the past, is confirm the contemporary reader's biases that People Back Then Were Stupid and that if they, the contemporary reader, had been born back then, They Would Have Known Better. It also features a cameo appearance of the perennial favorite Women Can Only Be Happy If They Adhere To Contemporary Values And Behavior. So, unlike a historical romance or historical fiction that has an actual relationship with history, this isn't about visiting the past. This isn't about women carving out spheres of influence or exercising agency from within the different rules of their time. This is about feeling good about living in the present day.


Our heroine just knows that bleeding is bad medicine despite it being the accepted science of the time. She is of course completely informed on the details of the wars with Napoleon and the United States, even arguing with the hero about tactics, despite living in a rural village. Naturally she and all her spinster friends in their Disney musical town are perfectly happy to be single. I guess they must all be independently wealthy with 100% control over their fortunes and not have interfering relatives to worry about. It's just tea and pianofortes and sea bathing and intelligent conversation for the lot of 'em.


So, like I said, it's a time-travel fantasy. Maybe that's your thing. We all like to have our biases confirmed--Lord knows I giggle every time one of those "family values" sorts gets caught with a rent boy--but this isn't a bias I share. I read this book, and it just strikes me as arrogant self-applause. YMMV