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

Genre: MF Historical Romance, Explicit

Title: Once Upon a Winter’s Eve

Author: Tessa Dare

Release Date: 15 November 2011

Previous Book in the Series: A Night to Surrender



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.

What I Liked:

This novella was a lot of fun.  At first, I was afraid that I wasn’t going to like Violet because she seemed kind of meek.  I was so wrong about that!  Violet is actually pretty awesome.  She’s clever, daring, and kind of a bad ass.  Her bit in the beginning about “The Disappointment” was a bit over-dramatic, but once the action started happening, she became a very spunky and likable heroine.

 I was also really happy with the pace of the story.  At 113 pages, it’s a novella, but it is fast paced and long enough to have a fully developed story that feels satisfying.  I like the espionage and sneaking around elements, even if the story probably wasn’t very realistic.

What I Didn’t:

I felt like maybe our hero’s identity shouldn’t have remained a mystery for quite so long.  I mean, I loved the reveal, but it felt like it took such a long time to get there!  It was less suspenseful and more frustrating.


I enjoyed this novella even more than the first book in the series.  I think part of it had to do with the length.  I do adore long books, but sometimes it’s great to find a shorter story that is fast paced and fun.  Sometimes novellas are too short and feel like they’re missing something.  This book is the perfect length for the story that it tells.  The characters and situations are interesting and entertaining, and I chuckled out loud a few times.  This was a very satisfying read, and it’s made me excited to read more books in this series.

My Rating: 4/5


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