In Total Surrender by Anne Mallory

Redonk Nutshell: Underworld boss meets his match when a Lady inserts herself into his life

Andreas Merrick is, in short, a bad ass.  He and his brother-from-another-mother run London’s underworld.  Andreas has taken over temporarily while his bro is on his honeymoon, and while under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be a problem, it becomes one when Miss Phoebe Pace enters the picture.  The Pace family owns and runs a successful carriage manufacturing business, and Andreas has been working behind the scenes to take them over (with the ultimate scheme to seek revenge against a totally different guy who has been also trying to seek ownership).  What no one knows is that Pace Carriages has been under the guidance of Phoebe Pace since her father began suffering from, er, mental instabilities.   When Andreas makes continual effort to see Mr. Pace, Phoebe inserts herself in his place.  What follows is a match of wills, a battle of sweet versus sour, kindness versus bullying.  It is, in a word, hilarious.

Phoebe Pace is a piece of work.  Brilliant, really.  She’s knowledgeable, witty, and whipsharp smart.  She’s not at all frightened by Andreas’s terrifying facade, which in turns irritates Andreas like nothing he’s ever encountered.  The term “kill them with kindness” is really the perfect way to describe their relationship.  Until things turn serious.  And more heated.

This was my first read by Ms. Mallory, and I would say over all I immensely enjoyed the first 2/3 or so of the book.  The last bit blurred and dragged for me, but this may be due to the fact that In Total Surrender is part of a series, and likely there were things going on that didn’t really mean much to me.  I was invested in Andreas and Phoebe and wanted to see how they made out in the end, and that’s what ultimately kept me going.  This book is worth reading if only for the priceless exchanges between the two, as well as Andreas’s internal dialogue with himself.  Priceless.

Overall, In Total Surrender was a fun read, though one that I probably would have understood more had I read some of it’s predecessors.  There was little romance (Andreas isn’t one for romance), and the raunch factor was artfully glossed over.  The focal point of this novel are the exchanges between our main characters,  and it definitely shows.

In Total Surrender by Anne Mallory, 384 pgs, 9/27/11

Rating: C

Romance: 1/5            Raunch: 2.5/5

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