Jason Moran was the son of poor Irish immigrants, who was given a rare opportunity to study at Harvard. Jason's best friend from college, Hale Prescott, invited him to spend the Christmas holiday with his family who were members of the Boston elite. There Jason met Hale's youngest sister, Laura, and fell in love at first sight. Knowing that her family looked down on him for his humble beginnings, Jason knew that the only way he would be able to marry Laura was by working hard to make his fortune and basically buying her.
Several years later, Jason accomplished his goal, but after two months of marriage, he and Laura are like virtual strangers. Jason's self-esteem is low, making him believe that Laura's rebuffs of his amorous advances are due to her being as disgusted by his heritage as the rest of her family is. Because of Jason's hot temper, Laura believes he is a cold-hearted bully whom she simply can't please. Together, they must learn to overcome the mistakes and pain of the past to build a new life with each other based on honesty and trust, so that they can share the greatest gift of all, love.
For a short story, I thought that Surrender was quite well written. It can be difficult in the novella format for an author to fully develop the characters and plot, but Lisa Kleypas has done a masterful job. I found both Jason and Laura to be likable characters. For all his brooding cynicism on the outside, Jason was kind and sensitive on the inside, and for all her tension and fearfulness on the outside, Laura was spirited and passionate on the inside. I enjoyed reading the story of a couple, who even after two months of marriage really don't know each other at all, but were able to discover new levels of intimacy in their relationship. Being part Irish, I also liked reading about the Irish immigrants of that era, including all the prejudices and poverty that they suffered. This element just made the story seem more realistic. The "opposite sides of the tracks" aspect of the story was very appealing, and I found the Victorian Boston setting to be rather unique, as I haven't read any other romance stories in that setting. The story is also infused with plenty of Ms. Kleypas' trademark loving sensuality, which I personally find very beautiful.
Overall, I thought that Surrender was a wonderfully romantic novella that is on par with Ms. Kleypas' full-length novels, and one that I highly enjoyed reading. It reminded me in many ways of her book, Again the Magic. Surrender has earned a spot on my keeper shelf alongside several of Ms. Kleypas' other works. This novella was orginally published in the anthology, Christmas Love Stories, and was later reprinted in the Gifts of Love anthology.
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