I think I read this because I was despairing of coming to the end of the books that are universally acclaimed in Dare’s oeuvre, and because I missed the ladies of Spindle Cove (and, to be honest, the idea of Spindle Cove in general. There is something hilarious about a town in which copies of a hated etiquette manual are used for all manner of papier mache crafts, building projects, and bulk volume needs).
However, this book is a solid three star for me, without any sense of rounding one way or another, because I can’t really get behind the whole “he knows something about her which could RUIN her and CANNOT let her know” plot. It’s infantilizing in the extreme! It throws what is already a pretty unbalanced power structure (by virtue of the time period) even more out of order!
Kate Taylor has been trying her whole life to figure out where she comes from, as an orphan with no family and a ~mysterious past~. Corporal Thorne is the brooding man who says not much…but he knows about her past and has never told her.
Man just writing that out makes me grumpy all over again. And it was in the blurb, I should have known I would have had this reaction! But the allure of going back to Spindle Cove was too much.
There’s a whole plot of an Eccentric (definitely with a capital E) cast of fancy family members (maybe) showing up to rescue Kate as well, by giving her the family she never had (except for the Spindle Cove ladies, who have always been a sort of found family for her). It’s a bit needlessly dramatic because we already know Thorne is keeping something from her. And I didn’t end up feeling as much of the chemistry between the two of them, even though it was one of my favorite tropes re: “they’ve known each other for a while.”