Review: Once Upon a Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare


Title: Once Upon a Winter’s Eve: A Spindle Cove Novella

Author: Tessa Dare

Publisher: Samhain Publishing



May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Some wallflowers bloom at night…

A Spindle Cove Novella

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.

Warning: The heroine packs a pistol, the hero curses in multiple languages, and together they steam up a cold winter’s night.


Once Upon a Winter’s Eve is the first Samhain title that I’ve read, and it’s also one of the growing number of novellas that I have read in.  After recently discovering the appeal of shorter length stories, I have been snapping them up as I see recommendations from bloggers I follow.  I can’t remember where I learned about this particular one, but I’m happy I gave it a try.  At under a dollar, it was a fun read, and a great introduction to both Tessa Dare and Samhain.  I’ll have to go back and read the first Spindle Cove book, A Night to Surrender (which is an Avon release, go figure).

Violet Winterbottom  has retreated to Spindle Cove, where she is nursing a broken heart.  The love of her life, who she now refers to as The Disappointment, loved her and left her, with hardly a word.  Ruined, she is trying to come to terms with her feelings, and is resigned to heed her parents’ demands to return to London.  They are determined to find a match for her, unaware of Violet’s turmoil and her unrequited love for their young neighbor.  When an injured stranger bursts into the Christmas Eve ball she is attending, she’s stunned when the man collapses at her feet.  His incoherent babbling slowly begins to make sense to her.  Gifted in several languages, Violet is tasked with quizzing the man – is he a spy?  What is he doing in Spindle Cove?

This is a fun, fast-paced read with an abundance of action and adventure.  After Violet decides to assist the stranger, she is sent on the adventure of her life.  She is an intelligent and capable young woman, and I quickly began to like her.  And to dislike the man who kicked her to the curb and left her and her bruised heart to fend for themselves.  When Violet is drawn into intrigue by the handsome stranger, she is given the spark that her life has lacked for the last few months.  She embraces the danger and the adventure, and becomes a willing participant in the suspected spy’s attempts at escape. 

While there’s not a lot of depth to this story, there is a lot of fun, and for 79 cents, you can’t beat that.

Grade: B

Review copy purchased from Amazon