Blurb: On Harlow Ausby’s fortieth birthday, she still feels as out of place in polished Charleston as the moon in a midday sky. From her strawberry-red hair to the matching birthmark that seems to swallow her left leg, Harlow’s uncommon looks have always made her feel less than worthy of the image-conscious Ausby name. As her often cruel and critical mother, Vivian, lies dying in a hospital bed, Harlow reexamines the choices—or lack thereof—that have brought her to a crossroads in her life. She is freshly divorced from a social climber she never loved, nursing a newly empty nest, and shocked to run into the love of her life—a man whose heart she broke twenty years earlier—and his wife, her former best friend.
What she doesn’t realize is that everything is about to change. Over the course of one monumental day, a secret as old as Harlow surfaces. Moving from the present to the past and then back again, Harlow’s story explores rich female friendships, deep rifts between mothers and daughters, and simmering under-the-surface social scandal.
Terms of Surrender is a novel that women will want to discover, because it’s a story they may already know. They just haven’t read it yet.
Review: Terms of Surrender: Harlow takes places over the course of one day. One entire love story wrapped up in a mere twenty-four hours. It's a style of romance novel that I've never read before and I enjoyed wondering how things would wrap up as I watched the hours tick by in the chapter headers.
This novel is a second chance romance between the newly forty, newly divorced Harlow and her best friend's husband, Jade. I really found myself questioning whether it was possible for these two people to find happiness with so much standing in their way, but thankfully--as it's a romance novel--they find their happy ever after eventually.
The book follows Harlow's point of view in its entirety as she struggles with her mother's impending death, the love of her life popping back into the picture with her estranged best friend, her recent divorce and cheating ex-husband, and the loss of everything she's worked for her entire life. It's an insane amount of shit for one woman to wade through, but Harlow is one strong woman.
Terms of Surrender is a feel good story, but it isn't without its triggers. For readers sensitive to subjects like rape, cancer, infidelity, and domestic violence you may want to find your kicks elsewhere. I took some issue with the way that these issues were dealt with/glossed over by the characters involved, but I guess it's more realistic that way--no one person deals with, or works through, issues the same way as anyone else. But I'll still put it out there because it wouldn't be a one hundred percent honest review if I didn't mention how much I wished the rape/domestic violence had been addressed in a more upfront manner by the characters.
Still, minor fault--in my picky opinion--aside I thought this book was quite unique. It had a perfect amount of drama and the characters were likable and relatable. Bad people got their comeuppances, good things happened to good people, and the reader gets their happily ever after. What more do you need from a romance novel?
You can purchase Terms of Surrender here. And keep an eye out for the next books in the series.