Book Review: Once Upon A Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare (Spindle Cove Series #1.5)

Tessa Dare is an author that has been coming up every now and then in the historical romance scene but I have not until now had the opportunity to read any of her work. I decided to start with a novella, to enable me have a feel of the author’s writing style, etc before I commit to more voluminous adventures.

The protagonist Violet Winterbottom is an experienced wallflower  who has found a haven in Spindle Cove, away from her family who are in London. She has a secret that has led her here, one that involves being heart broken by her “Love” whom she now secretly call “The Disappointment”. However, on winter’s eve, right at the start of the last Ball she will attend at Spindle Cove before returning to her family in London, a strange man interrupts the affair and falls at her feet. This man speaks a strange language no one else can understand except Violet who speaks 6 modern languages and several dead ones. Violet is now saddled with the responsibility to find out who this stranger is, where he has come from and why he reminds her so much of “The Disappointment”. Almost the entire story happens in one night and Violet proves to be braver then she seems both in her actions and with her heart.

This was a quick and enjoyable read but did not have the punch I usually desire from historical romance. The mystery with the stranger added some form of suspense to the story which made for interesting reading but in totality it was just ok. The fact that it is only a novella and not a full novel may also have affected my feelings about this book because a full novel may have developed the characters more. I am willing to try out another book by this author but this time a novel and then I will finally decide if she is a keeper.

This is a good read when you want a quick breezy read that you can finish at one sitting.

Rating: 3 Stars

Published: November 15, 2011 by Samhain Publishing

Pages: 133

Genre: Historical Romance (Novella)

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The Author: Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages. A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.


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