Surrender to Me by Sophie Jordan
When I learned that the heroine of Surrender to Me was the same Lady Astrid Derring who was a villainess in Too Wicked to Tame (one of my very favorite historicals), I wondered if Sophie Jordan had lost her mind. Okay, at least made a bit of a mistake. I should have had faith. She pulled Lady Astrid’s transformation off brilliantly.
The lady in question was left penniless and shamed when her no-good duke of a husband fled to the continent one step ahead of the noose. For years she’s struggled to survive only to learn her husband has assumed a new identity and is about to marry a rich Scottish noblewoman. Determined not to let him ruin another woman’s life, she heads to Scotland to stop the marriage. On the way, her coach is waylaid by highwaymen bent on rape and pillage until Griffin Shaw, a sinfully handsome American, appears and saves her. She’s resisted lots of men in the past few years and guarded the only thing she has left—her honor—but when she’s forced to accept Griffin’s protection, she’s irresistibly attracted to him and torn between the conventions of her world and the freedom his offers. Griffin has his own ghosts and a personal mission to complete before he can return to Texas. The last thing he needs is to fall in love with a haughty Englishwoman who reminds him of his biggest shame.
One of the things I respect about Ms. Jordan’s work is her characters always remain within the social conventions of the time. Astrid doesn’t have the option of divorce, getting a job or taking a lover if she’s going to maintain her respectability. Her choices are restricted to those available to women of her day and class and therein lies her predicament and her conflict. Griffin has his own baggage, also a product of his world. And they are both strangers in a strange land— Scotland. The plot is both original and believable. I cheered these two people through insurmountable problems to a very satisfying and heartwarming conclusion. Once again Sophie Jordan has given us a story you won’t be able to put down until the very last page!
~ Reviewed by Lark Howard