Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Surrender (The Spymaster's Men #3) by Brenda Joyce

Surrender (The Spymaster's Men #3)

Once a penniless orphan, Evelyn D’Orsay became a countess and a bride at the tender age of sixteen. But the flames of revolution forced her to flee France, with the aid of a notorious smuggler. Recently widowed and without any means, Evelyn knows she must retrieve the family fortune from France so she can raise her daughter in Cornwall—but only one man can help her… the smuggler she cannot forget.


Jack Greystone has been smuggling since he was a small boy—and he has been spying since the wars began. An outlaw with a bounty on his head, he is in hiding when he becomes aware of the Countess’s inquiries about him. He is reluctant to come to her aid yet again, for he has never been able to forget her and he wants to avoid her intrigues. But he soon realizes he’ll surrender anything to be with the woman he loves.

Being together is dangerous—being apart is impossible.

Surrender had a very interesting story, mixed seamlessly into the political and military setting of the time. I loved the plot and the romance was on fire. However, I had a problem connecting with the characters.

Let me first discuss the heroine, Evelyn. She was a fine heroine. She weathered tragedy after tragedy and always landed on her feet. She would do anything to help her daughter, even if it meant going into a dangerous country. But, for some reason, I couldn't connect with her. I sympathized with her, but I couldn't muster up enough sympathy to become emotionally invested. Maybe the problem was that she was a crier. She cried all the time, about everything. I could understand why she was upset, but I also wanted her to be able to toughen up and face her problems head on without breaking down into tears. Also, she would claim to love Jack, then believe the worst of him a minute later. She didn't even give him the benefit of the doubt. And that carried on into the entire second half. She would say that she loved him, then curse him for what she believed of him, then say she just couldn't believe that of him, then start over again. It became very frustrating.

I had a similar issue of connecting with the hero, Jack. He was a perfectly fine hero. He cared for Evelyn and did whatever he could to protect her. He was sweet to both Evelyn and her young daughter. And he had a whole dangerous thing going for him. But, it was so frustrating how he would constantly pushed Evelyn away. Mixed messages doesn't even begin to cover his tendency to run hot and cold. I knew why, but it didn't feel like a valid justification. He would say he didn't want to put Evelyn in danger, then go to meet her, then make a dramatic goodbye, saying that he had to protect her, then meet her again. It wasn't terrible, but it was a bit of a peeve. 

Now, after making it sound like I hated Surrender, I will assure you that I did like the book just fine. The plot was interesting. The political and military secrets kept me interested and on the edge of my seat to find out the truth. And the ending was sweet. But, because I had trouble connecting with the two main characters, I couldn't say that I loved the book. I definitely liked it. I just didn't adore it.

So, a solid 3/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for a copy!

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