Author: Tessa Dare
Original Title: Once Upon A Winter's Eve
Release Year: 2011
Literary Genre: Romance
Setting: England (Spindle Cove), regency
Series: 1,5° of Spindle Cove series
Splendid, absorbing, touching.
Another Dare's short story, from lucky Spindle Cove series.
Violet Winterbottom is the daughter of a wealthy and respectable family, her dowry is remarkable and she is beautiful; so she has everything it takes to be a good catch, instead she lives in Spindle Cove for a year, the place where many noble girls go to live a quite life far from London society where they don't feel comfortable. Violet is there on her own initiative: she was regardless seduced and then abandoned by the man she has always loved and worshiped, the man she grew up with; that's why she moved to the peculiar village in Sussex, to heal her broken heart.
During a ball hosted by Lord and Lady Rycliff (A night to surrender), where as always the young Winterbottom act as a wallflower, happens the unthinkable: a man, covered in blood and severely wounded, bursts into the room, falls at Violet's feet and then faints. Shortly after he wakes up, surrounded by a crowd, and is immediately obvious that he's a foreigner who doesn't speak english at all and Violet, surprisingly good with languages, comprehend that the handsome man is Breton...and in the Continent the napoleonic war is erupting so isn't safe to keep a french nearby, that's why he, although beaten, is locked and tied up and Violet, who's the only one who can understand what he says, has to discover his identity and it's pretty clear that moreover he is taken with her and wants her company.
There are many surprises in store for Violet: the man is Christian Pierce (we know that since the beginning, so this isn't a real spoiler), the man who broke Violet's heart a year before and now she wants to know why he hides his true identity, why he speaks breton and why he seems to want to spend time alone with her.
I loooooved it, it's magnificent! There is a part that I particularly adored :
"I adored you. All my life, I adored you. I asked nothing of you. No promises, no courtship. I surrender my virtue. I gave you my trust. And you left me with a note. Twenty-six words!" [...] "I did hate you. I hated you for making me feel cheap and foolish. I hated you for making me feel so ashamed, and distance from my own family. And I hated myself for allowing it all to happen. But forget? How could I ever forget? You broke my heart in twenty-six pieces that day. But you know something? Over the past several month here in Spindle Cove, I've stitched those pieces back together"
It's Violet speaking. Her reaction and her words are absolutely amazing and Christian response to this new Violet is priceless! I love her!
Spindle Cove series: 1. A night to surrender (Susanna, Victor)
1.5. Once upon a winter's eve (Violet, Christian)
2. A week to be wicked (Minerva, Colin)
3. A lady by midnight (Kate, Samuel)
3.5. Beauty and the blacksmith (Diana, Aaron)
4. Any duchess will do (Pauline, Griffin)
Tessa Dare's bibliography