Andreas Merrick is, in short, a bad ass. Â He and his brother-from-another-mother run London’s underworld. Â 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 whenÂ Miss Phoebe Pace enters the picture. Â 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). Â 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. Â When Andreas makes continual effort to see Mr. Pace, Phoebe inserts herself in his place. Â What follows is a match of wills, a battle of sweet versus sour, kindness versus bullying. Â It is, in a word, hilarious.
Phoebe Pace is a piece of work. Â Brilliant, really. Â She’s knowledgeable, witty, and whipsharp smart. Â She’s not at all frightened by Andreas’s terrifying facade, which in turns irritates Andreas like nothing he’s ever encountered. Â The term “kill them with kindness” is really the perfect way to describe their relationship. Â Until things turn serious. Â 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. Â The last bit blurred and dragged for me, but this may be due to the fact that In Total SurrenderÂ is part of a series, and likely there were things going on that didn’t really mean much to me. Â 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. Â This book is worth reading if only for the priceless exchanges between the two, as well as Andreas’s internal dialogue with himself. Â Priceless.
Overall, In Total SurrenderÂ was a fun read, though one that I probably would have understood more had I read some of it’s predecessors. Â There was little romance (Andreas isn’t one for romance), and the raunch factor was artfully glossed over. Â The focal point of this novel are the exchanges between our main characters, Â and it definitely shows.
Romance: 1/5 Â Â Â Â Â Â Raunch: 2.5/5