Spanish Surrender by Rachel Spangler

Este libro es asombroso! That could be Spanish for ‘this book is amazing!’ or it could be Spanish for ‘I have travelled to Spain through Rachel Spangler’s fabulous novel ‘Spanish Surrender’ and you must as well, I implore you’.

What was the book about?:
When Simone Price lands in southern Spain, she has one job upon which the future of her entire career rests: She must convince a small, Spanish publishing house to sell their business to her much larger American corporation. The job should be easy, but many others have failed. Refusing to repeat their mistakes, she hires a guide, translator, and purveyor of Andalucan culture for the week leading up to her big meeting. The plan seems simple enough until she meets Loreto Molina, and it quickly becomes apparent that Loreto knows more than her casual demeanour might suggest. The complications only escalate as the two set out on a scorching path through a region that shatters all expectations. As their time together stretches on, both women must confront not only their assumptions about each other, but also their own world views amidst a steamy landscape of temptation, power, purpose and raw attraction. Spain acts as both catalyst and conduit for unearthing desires long buried and threatening carefully planned futures. As the stakes and emotions rise like the hot, unrelenting sun, Simone and Loreto fight to hold onto the ideals they hold dear, but what if the only way for either of them to truly win is to surrender? 

This book is a sort of follow-up of ‘Spanish Heart’, which Spangler published in 2012. The main characters from that story appear briefly in this novel, as they are the reason for Loreto and Simone being matched together as employee/employer.

Featured Tropes: Sort of an enemies-to-lovers, employee/employer, tourist/travel guide, instalove

Book Strengths:
Coincidentally, I read ‘Spanish Surrender’ only two weeks after reading ‘Spanish Heart’, and if I hadn’t checked the front covers, I would have stated categorically that two different people had written the stories. This is how much Spangler has improved as an author. Clearly, she has a deep love for Spain, the culture and the language, but instead of sounding like a travel blog where the writer travels to Spain, meets a couple of locals, eats some tapas, and declares themselves a citizen with voting rights, this novel is a beautiful tapestry, where the stories of the people, their connection to their country and the psychology of place is woven around Loreto and Simone’s relationship. 

Book weaknesses:
The relationship is quick. Like, speak-glare-drink-eat-glare-kiss-sigh-sex-angst-sex, then moving-continents-uprooting-my-whole-life level of quick. But, if it’s love, it’s love. Right?

Character Chemistry:
The MCs have a baking-soda-and-vinegar-level of chemistry for half the story, which is explosive, and fun to watch, but then when Simone stops being so bloody obtuse and judgemental, and Loreto pulls her head out of her arse, they are delightful together. Cheering on love from the sidelines.

Heat Rating: 4

I had to Google the Spanish that I used at the top of this review, which is terrific because it means that the novel didn’t try to teach me a foreign language. Instead, this novel invited me into the language’s home, offered me a drink, and told me a story.

Star Rating: 5 stars