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REVIEW: Since the Surrender by Julie Anne Long

Dear Ms. Long:

I took a small break from reading your books, albeit unintentionally, a couple of years ago. I think once a reader falls off the bandwagon of an author, you start hesitating to start reading her again, believing that you must have stopped for a very good reason. My reason for stopping, though, was simply forgetfulness and having read Since the Surrender I am kind of kicking myself for having missed the last couple books. The benefit, of course, is that I can go back and purchase said backlist titles and enjoy a weekend of reading.

Since the Surrender excels at the character portraits of its lead protagonists: Captain Chase Eversea and Rosalind March but stutters at the plot execution. Fortunately, the character portraits and the romance arc is enough to overcome.

Captain Chase Eversea has been banished to London by his exuberant family. They no longer want him moping about the Eversea properties in the country, making them all sad and gloomy. Ever since the war has ended and Chase has returned, he’s not been the same succumbing to his temper more than once at what seems like a nonsensical jest. He has been instructed to check out a cousin for a potential vicarage position at his family home at Pennyroyal Green. What does he know about vicars, though?

His ennui is shaken when he is delivered a note penned by a woman, requesting he attend her at Montmorency museum. Intrigued Chase meets up with the woman only to find that she is Rosalind March, the subject of his “truest and least honorable thing he’d ever done.” To some degree, his post war emotional struggle stemmed more from his encounter with Rosalind because “honor had at one time been the thing that defined him.” Once he stepped past that boundary, Chase lost sense of who he was and where his place in life was.

Rosalind was the wife of Chase’s commanding officer. Captain March was well admired as was his wife. Rosalind was young, beautiful, and in love with her husband but Chase and she had an attraction that they fought up until the time in which they parted because of war and death. Rosalind sent for Chase because her sister, Lucy, has gone missing. Lucy was arrested for petty theft of a bracelet, sent to Newgate to await trial. Lucy never made it out of Newgate, but went missing. Rosalind believes that an intimate of Chase’s, William Kincade, may know what happened to Lucy. Chase refuses to assist Rosalind at first, but she will not be deterred.

To Rosalind, Chase represents all that she ever truly wanted but denied herself because of duty and responsibility for her family. To Chase, Rosalind represents his moment of dishonor. Over the course of the story, this both changes and stays the same. I’m not sure that it fit well for me. Chase has never truly forgiven himself for his lapse of honor. Chase and Rosalind kiss once, a very passionate once, while Rosalind was still married. But the dynamic changes as Chase decides that he wants Rosalind but Rosalind kind of rebuffs him because she wants choices in her life. Frankly, I didn’t understand this conflict particularly when Chapter Three ends with this:

Even cliffs were vulnerable, Captain Eversea, she thought. The sea gets at them, eventually, reshaping them inexorably, giving them no choice at all in the matter.

He hadn’t reckoned on the woman she’d become.

The sea, she thought, had nothing on Rosalind March.

There was another very discordant note in the book that I can’t really well articulate without giving away spoilers but suffice to say that the location and timing of the sex scenes were bizarre to me and drew me out of the story.

Having said that, these complaints really were minor because of how well the characters were drafted. Rosalind and Chase seemed like living, breathing characters. B

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

8 Comments

  1. charlotte
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 19:39:05

    It doesn’t sound like there’s anything original about the plot. I’ll pass.

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  2. Amanda
    Jul 31, 2009 @ 09:10:50

    I enjoyed this book very much. Long’s prose style is lyrical and lush. And I totally agree about the character portraits. She’s great at creating heroes and heroines I really care about. Plus she visits parts of the London that you don’t see very often in the typical Regency historical. She does have some ball/ton entertainment scenes but they aren’t nearly as interesting as the ones set in low taverns or the streets. Great review.

    ReplyReply

  3. Tinabelle
    Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:17:16

    I pretty much agree with the review – both positives and negatives. Unfortunately for me, the negatives outweighed the positives and I would grade the book lower at a C+. It just didn’t grab me emotionally and the mystery disappearance plot wasn’t very mysterious; I pretty much figured out what was going on pretty early in the book. The climax of the mystery plot really rubbed me the wrong way; everyone just seemed so “ho-hum” about it and it didn’t ring true emotionally. I would have expected more intense reactions from all parties. So, STS fell a bit flat for me.

    I like JAL and have read the other books in the series. Like No Other Lover was one of my all-time favorites from last year. I think she is a very good writer and will continue to read the series. Can’t hit a home run every time.

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  4. Michelle
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 18:15:06

    I finished this last night and found it to be a good romance with two, well-drawn, main leads whom I cared about a lot. The external plot was predictable, but the romance and characterization kept me happily turning the pages.

    Yes, I couldn’t believe when and where they chose to have sex as well.

    ReplyReply

  5. Heike M.
    Aug 18, 2009 @ 09:15:53

    I can’t believe that I overlooked this book and this review. That’s really, really weird, cause I like JAL too, Like No Other Lover was one of my favourites last year as well, and I loved the first in the series (Perils of Pleasure, even if this is a dumb title IMO). And To Love a Thief may well be under my top 10 romances ever…

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  6. Scarlett
    Aug 25, 2009 @ 13:09:03

    I think my expectations for this book were probably too high, because I was a little disappointed.

    I’d probably give it a B- or so. I enjoy Long’s style a lot, but it really pales in comparison to THE PERILS OF PLEASURE and LIKE NO OTHER LOVER, the previous two books in the series. Both of them were much better than this one. I liked Chase and Rosalind okay, but I agree with Jane that the sex scenes were so odd (they’re doing it now?) that it took me out of the story.

    Chase’s fear of puppets was pretty funny though.

    ReplyReply

  7. Lizzy
    Aug 28, 2009 @ 14:26:36

    Gah. This book was a serious, serious disappointment to me. I think it’s Long’s worst, especially as a follow-up to Like No Other Lover, which I feel may be her best work to date.

    There were so many levels on which this book didn’t work for me. As always, Long’s writing was great; no problems with that. But there just was no life to these characters. Chase paled in comparison to Long’s last two heroes, Colin Eversea (lively; sexy; has burning hot sex in stable lofts) and Miles Redmond (stuffy; sexy; has burning hot sex in chairs). To be quite honest, my face has STILL not returned to its normal color after reading Long’s last two books.

    And then there was Rosalind. Yes, Rosalind. What to say about this … nice … person? She was so … nice. I liked her. We should have tea. We could work a charity event together. Maybe something involving hats and gardens.

    But other than that, blah. These were not the characters I am accustomed to in a Long romance. Of course, maybe if they didn’t have such a soggy, boggy plot to contend with (it’s a mysterious painting! no, it’s puppets! no, it’s a prostitution ring! no, it’s actually OK, because there’s a certain moral ambiguity about it all!) they would have had more to work with.

    Also, can I just say — SPOILERS AHEAD — the big mystery at the end was female sex slavery. And at the end, everyone’s just like, well, you know, female sex slavery happens. I mean, ostensibly, the villain got a kind of punishment, but I still felt like I got shit-disguised-as-chocolate in my peanut butter. Not what I expect from Long, who usually gives me a pretty light, satisfying read. I respect a writer’s right to stretch herself, but I feel taken out of the story when you decide to introduce sex slavery into a plot that has previously included puppets, animal husbandry and a man who may or may not be the ghost of Henry VIII.

    Well, whatever. I’m going to get an ice pack for my cheeks and read Like No Other Lover again.

    ReplyReply

  8. Jane
    Aug 29, 2009 @ 07:49:41

    @Lizzy I did think that the sex slavery thing was a bit glossed over, as if it really wasn’t that bad of a thing. Maybe that would have been historically accurate response.

    ReplyReply

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