Spindle Cove, nestled in a peaceful corner of Regency Era England, has long been known as "Spinster Cove," due to its preponderance of unwed ladies of "delicate constitutions"--and that's the fictional setting for a delightful historical romance series by Tessa Dare.
‘Spindle Cove’ is the historical romance series by Tessa Dare, which started in 2011 and currently stands at five books.
So, I read first book in the ‘Spindle Cove’ series way back when and loved it. But at the time there were only two books in the series – ‘A Night to Surrender’ and ‘A Week to Be Wicked’ – and I remember deciding that I’d keep buying all the books, but put the aside for a huge binge read when the time was right and I was in the regency romance mood.
Well, my friends – that time came and I am one happy, happy reader.
I inhaled the first three books in this series – ‘A Night to Surrender,’ ‘A Week to Be Wicked’ and ‘A Lady by Midnight’ – over the course of one month. Books four and five are next on my list, but first I just wanted to rave about where I’m at right now.
So ‘Spindle Cove’ is exactly what it sounds like – a remote seaside village in England that’s part nature-convent and part bluestocking-hideout for young women who are past their “prime” or have little chance of ever reaching it. The Cove is run by Susanna Finch, who had a troubled upbringing in and out of institutions for various medical conditions, and vowed to create a more holistic approach for other young women and shy wallflowers.
But Spindle Cove’s idyllic setting is interrupted by the presence of militiamen, and someone across the seas called Napoleon who is causing some troubles … Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, is in charge of the militiamen and finds himself drawn to Ms Finch and the rabble of local men and spinsters who are enlisted to help protect the Cove.
The series pivots around various spinsters and militiamen, and it’s as scrumptious as it sounds. Particularly as Tessa Dare has basically decided to write about a regency feminist outcrop where modern ideals are presented as outliers to the times, but utterly accepted within the confines of the Cove. It’s bloody marvellous and ingenious.
I also love that the various spinsters are all the types of women you don’t get to read a whole lot of in regency/historical romance … Susanna in the first book is an out and out feminist, waaaaaay ahead of her times. Second book heroine is Minerva Highwood; a young geologist who prioritises her studies above all else and is currently set in discovering evidence that “giant lizards” may have once roamed the earth. Kate Taylor of third book ‘A Lady by Midnight’ was an orphan now Spindle Cove music teacher, with a distinctive birthmark on her face. And I just love that Tessa Dare’s setting has allowed her to basically throw out the confines of traditional historical heroines, and also romance dynamics. With all the romances so far, I wouldn’t categorise the men as “pure alphas” because there’s so much back-and-forth between the heroes and heroines, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a series in which the men and women are on such an equal standing with one another.
Second book so far is my favourite, for the romance between Minerva Highwood and Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne. She’s the bookish wallflower, he’s the womanising militiaman – but though that’s a very typical trope in historical’s, there’s nothing typical about Minerva and Payne;
“Don’t you do that.” She turned away from the mirror, toward him. “Don’t you dare make a joke. It took a great deal of courage to say what I did. And you don’t have to speak a word in return, but I will insist you be man enough to take it. I won’t have you making light of my feelings, or making light of yourself—as if you’re not worthy of them. Because you are worthy, Colin. You’re a generous, good-hearted person, and you deserve to be loved. Deeply, truly, well, and often”― Tessa Dare, A Week to Be Wicked
I am head-over-heels in love with this historical romance series. Tessa Dare is one of the best in this genre, and ‘Spindle Cove’ is the kind of series that could convert a romance naysayer, while making true fans squeal in delight.