Book review: Surrender by Abigail Barnette

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From the description of the book:

Deaf since infancy and condemned to spinsterhood by her father’s will, Honoria has one last chance to experience the carnal passion she’s read about in scandalous novels. She enlists an unlikely man to be her companion for five days and nights of wicked pleasures and fulfilled fantasies, never dreaming that her desire could become something far more complicated.

Esau isn’t a man acquainted with the finer things in life. Common and proud, he’d rather work on the docks than bed a rich woman for money. But Honoria is unlike any woman he’s ever known, and the only one who’s ever stirred him to tenderness—something he never dreamed he could feel.

But another man has fallen in love with Honoria. Her interpreter, Jude, is torn between responsibility and the secret desire he harbors for her. Though he’s tormented by the knowledge that Honoria takes another man into her bed every night, Jude knows that his true feelings could destroy her happiness.

Faced with an impossible choice, Honoria won’t let her future be decided for her again. And despite their differences, both men must learn to share Honoria’s heart…or risk losing her completely.

This book was previously published as Silent Surrender.

I have wanted to read this book for a while, but I knew that Ellora’s Cave (which published Silent Surrender) forced Abigail to relinquish her rights to royalties in exchange for the rights to the book, so I waited until Abigail had published the book herself.

I really enjoyed this book. It is unusual for me to read about a deaf heroine. It doesn’t come without its challenges, but I thought Abigail did a really good job of showing how Honoria’s world is, especially in a time where disabled people were given even less rights and status as they are now.

I found Honoria a bit of an enigma and I would have liked more from her point of view. The book is written from three points of view: that of Esau, Jude and Honoria and although I don’t usually like many POVs, I think it worked very well here. It was a good way to show how each person in the menage feels about the situation. But I went into the book expecting it to be primarily about Honoria, and although she is definitely the heroine, I would have liked to get to know her better. She is presented by Jude as a girl who knows her mind, but from Esau’s POV we see a much more shy person. And because Honoria’s POV is limited, I never really got the feeling I got to know her well.

The story is very sweet, and the sex scenes are definitely steamy. I am not usually a fan of M/M/F menages, but it was very well done here. I especially liked the interaction between Jude and Esau. Their first encounter together with Honoria was very realistic: there is some discomfort between the two men, but they are willing to put that aside for the sake of the woman they love. That was very sexy.

There are only a few things I would have liked differently. I would have loved it if the book had been longer; I was not done with the three main characters by the time the end rolled around. And while I understood Honoria’s choice in the end, I question whether it would have been possible in that time period. I thought Jude’s reasoning was far more sound. But that is only a minor quibble.

On the whole I can really recommend this book.

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