Lord Xavier is a bored aristocrat who wastes much of his life wagering with his friend Lord Lockwood. He is rich and has a reputation as a scandalous rake. He encourages this reputation in every way. But when his friend Lockwood talks him into a wager about whether or not Xavier can get a respectable lady to spend two weeks at a house party, Xavier’s life takes a dramatic and unexpected turn. Louisa Oliver, the lady in question, is not the shy bookworm that everyone believes. She sees beneath Xavier’s carefully construction reputation and pushes him to be a better man.
While Xavier does agree to the wager, he has no desire to ruin anyone’s reputation. As such, he changes his plans for the party, inviting a mix of people, some slightly scandalous, but several respectable people as well. Unfortunately, Xavier underestimates Lockwood’s desire to win the bet and underestimates Lockwood’s level of resentment. By the time Xavier realizes his feelings for Louisa, Lockwood’s actions may have driven a permanent wedge between the two.
When I first started reading this story, I admit that when I got to the part where Xavier and Lockwood make their wager I groaned. I was thinking “Another wager? I’m tired of this trope.” However, Romain did something interesting here. Xavier starts to regret his impulsive wager almost from the moment he makes it. He truly has no desire to ruin an innocent. Additionally, Louisa learns about the bet early on, turning the tables on Xavier. I found these aspects of the wager plot uniquely satisfying. Romain surprised me, in a very good way.
Once Louisa learns about the bet, she devises her own plan. Despite her bluestocking reputation, Louisa is no shy, retiring miss. She seems something good and strong within Xavier and is determined to bring it to the surface. And of course, Xavier responds almost involuntary to Louisa’s teasing and unwitting seduction. Louisa is a fabulous heroine, one who takes control over her own destiny. She is a wonderful character.
“Season for Surrender” by Theresa Romain does take place over the Christmas season. While the holiday references aren’t overwhelming, the house party and some of the activities do evoke a warm, festive feeling. The story did help but me in a holiday mood (which is excellent as I have a Christmas part to attend today).
“Season for Surrender” is a delightful and inspiring read. Its heroine, Louisa, shines as she inspires Xavier, her scandalous rake, to be a better man. Romain did an excellent job with the villainous Lockwood as well. He had hidden evil side that made me quite angry. If you are looking for a read to warm the heart and inspire good cheer, “Season for Surrender” is just the thing.
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Book Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided by the author.