Guest Review: Once Upon a Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare

Posted August 6, 2012 by Ames in Reviews | 3 Comments

Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors)

Ames’ review of Once Upon a Winter’s Eve (Spindle Cover #1.5) by Tessa Dare.

Some wallflowers bloom at night…


Violet Winterbottom is a quiet girl. She speaks six languages, but seldom raises her voice. She endured bitter heartbreak in perfect silence. The gentlemen aren’t beating down her door.

Until the night of the Spindle Cove Christmas ball, when a mysterious stranger crashes into the ballroom and collapses at Violet’s feet. His coarse attire and near-criminal good looks would put any sensible young lady on her guard. He’s wet, chilled, bleeding, and speaking in an unfamiliar tongue.

Only Violet understands him. And she knows he’s not what he seems.
She has one night to draw forth the secrets of this dangerously handsome rogue. Is he a smuggler? A fugitive? An enemy spy? She needs answers by sunrise, but her captive would rather seduce than confess. To learn his secrets, Violet must reveal hers—and open herself to adventure, passion, and the unthinkable… Love.

I really enjoyed A Night to Surrender and this novella is part of the Spindle Cove series, although under a different publisher.

I have to admit, Violet Winterbottom did not hit my radar while reading ANtS and was a bit hazy on her details. Fortunately, Tessa Dare does an excellent job of jogging the reader’s memory.  And for those wondering, you can definitely read this novella without having read ANtS (but go read ANtS anyway!).

So Violet likes corners in crowded ballrooms and she’s already staked out her territory at the Spindle Cove Officer’s Ball.  She’s good at hiding in plain sight but when a menacing, dark, blood-stained stranger staggers into the ballroom and collapses at Violet’s feet, all eyes are on her.  But her attention is focused on the stranger – he seems eerily familiar, but he claims to be a simple Breton farmhand.  As this tale takes place during England’s war with Napoleon so there’s some fear that this stranger is a potential spy.

Be that as it may, Violet is the only one who can understand this stranger and so she’s stuck with him.  She takes the time to try and unravel his mystery, and more and more she’s feeling like this stranger is the boy next door that broke her heart a year ago – the reason why she’s in Spindle Cove to begin with.

I thought this story was super cute and yet sexy with enough of a plot to keep the story moving along.  And the length was perfect.

A year ago Violet could have been termed a wallflower, but her time in Spindle Cove has changed her for the better.  She’s got a confidence in herself that lets her stand up for herself.  Which is my kind of heroine!  Mr. Tall Dark and Ruggedly Handsome Stranger wasn’t so bad himself.

I don’t want to give the whole thing away so I’ll leave things there – this is a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.  4.5 out of 5.

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Samhain Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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