The Earl’s Complete Surrender: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #2 by Sophie Barnes with Excerpt and Giveaway

The Earl's Complete Surrender: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #2 by Sophie Barnes with Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I have Sophie Barnes with the second in her Thorncliff Manor historic romance series. Please read on for a review and excerpt to discover more about the book, check the tour stops to see what other readers thought of the title and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win $25.00 eGift Card to  eBook retailer of choice. But first….

The Earl’s Complete Surrender

I think I first discovered Sophie Barnes through her Kingsborough Ball series, and after reading and enjoying the first in her Thorncliff Manor series, I knew I would read The Earl’s Complete Surrender.  This book combines mystery, romance and a bit of atmosphere to bring the story to fruition.  James, an Earl, is a former spy, but at Thorncliff to find a particular book that contains evidence of a conspiracy within the aristos.  Chloe is just a year into widowhood, not particularly comfortable in a return to society, but also desperate to find a particular journal.

Both of these characters are more unusual than common in historical romance: Both are bookish, logical and quieter people, although they come to those traits for different reasons.  While it would be logical to find a book in the library, as the two search that particular room and try to hide their own reasons, the moments for them to interact give a tentative and testing feel to their romance.

As with the first in this series, Barnes has built secondary characters and the setting nicely, giving the couple a ‘star billing’ while not necessarily diving headfirst into the romance. In fact, the romance in this story is often sent to the back burner in lieu of the mystery, as danger levels increase and the two combine forces, more than a bit reluctantly, to find the book.

Slowly we are given bits of both Chloe and James’ backstories and history, all the better to help us understand their reluctant attitudes toward relationships.  This is a story that allows the connection to build slowly, and while I found that the ‘big OH” moment that solidified their connection with vivid and visceral chemistry never really rose to the levels I hoped for, the path and build of their connection was solid and well-defined. Not as sexy or exciting as some, but certainly a relationship that is built on solid foundations, if not explosively passionate.

Certainly a solid book in the series, with a touch of hesitation and restraint in the chemistry of the lead couple that kept the romance secondary to the threads of mystery and grand plots as we watch a spy unravel clues with a greenhorn accomplice.

The Earl’s Complete Surrender: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #2 by Sophie Barnes with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: The Earl's Complete Surrender
Author: Sophie Barnes
Series: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #2
Also in this series: Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires, His Scandalous Kiss
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
ISBN: 0062358901
Published on: 29 December 2015
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 26 minutes
Rated: three-half-stars
Heat: One FlameHalf a Flame

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An unexpected passion ignites as secrets are exposed in Sophie Barnes's captivating Regency-set romance...

Despite the diversions offered at Thorncliff Manor, former spy James, the Earl of Woodford, has one purpose in staying there. He must find an encoded book that exposes a conspiracy within the British aristocracy. And he must do so without revealing his purpose to the clever, tempting Chloe Heartly. The lady has a knack for appearing wherever it is least convenient. In the library. In the salon. And, especially, in his arms...

Somewhere within Thorncliff's labyrinth of rooms lies the journal Chloe desperately seeks. When she realizes the brooding, handsome earl is hunting the same quarry, Chloe enters into an uneasy partnership. But in the face of public danger and enemies hiding in plain sight, both must decide how much they're willing to risk to solve the mysteries of the heart.

See the Secrets at Thorncliff Manor Series on GoodReads

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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Chloe considered telling her sister that there was such a thing as knowing too much, but she bit back the rejoinder and kept silent instead, unwilling to take their conversation in that particular direction.

“In all likelihood you’ll be right and my interest in whoever he is will prove pointless.” Fiona said as they passed a row of elm trees. Like a curtain pushed aside, they gave way to an impressive view of Thorncliff, the towering walls dwarfing anyone standing before them and likening them to ants. “Come to think of it, he did seem rather dull—as if it made no difference to him that he was about to arrive at the most fantastic estate in England. He should have been staring out of the window of that carriage with keen enthusiasm. Most young gentlemen would do so, but he did not.”

“No,” Chloe agreed as they turned onto the driveway that would take them straight up to the front door. “Perhaps coming here disagrees with him.”

“I can’t imagine why,” Fiona said. “It’s the most fascinating place in the world!”

“You say so only because you have not traveled the world.”

“Perhaps that’s our answer,” Fiona suggested. “Perhaps the man we saw, whoever he may be, has traveled to so many fine places that Thorncliff fails to entice.”

“Or maybe he’s just not the adventurous sort,” Chloe offered. “He may simply enjoy reading a good book, in which case he has no need of coming here at all and probably considers Thorncliff a complete waste of time.”

The words brought Fiona to an immediate halt. “Do you find it a complete waste of time, Chloe?”

A rush of emotion swept through Chloe. It almost felt as if an ebbing tide was tugging at her belly. “Of course not. Why on earth would you think such a thing when I’ve already told you how happy I am to be spending more time with you and the rest of the family?”

A puff of air escaped Fiona in the form of a sigh. “Perhaps you wanted to be kind and spare my feelings?”

Taking her sister by the hand, Chloe held on fast as she gazed into her troubled young eyes. “No. I would never be dishonest with you.”

“Are you certain? Because I am well aware of your fondness for reading as well as your lack of enthusiasm for socializing at the moment. Are you sure you wouldn’t have rather stayed at home with your books?”

Closing her eyes, Chloe struggled to ease the nerves that threatened to send her heart racing. “No. I would not. The Thorncliff library is vast. I mean to explore it during my stay here. As for socializing . . . I’ve just spent a year in mourning, Fiona. I need time to readjust.”

“I’m sorry,” Fiona said, biting her lip. “I just wish that I could do more to make you happy.”

“I am happy,” Chloe assured her. At the very least, she was free now, and that was pretty much the same thing. “Come, let’s find out who Lord Hainsworth’s companion is so we can put your curiosity to rest.”


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About Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

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