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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-06-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Kelly (Sex and the Single Earl) combines wit, innocent sensuality, and seduction in this tale of a forced marriage between a beautiful plain-speaking pacifist Quaker and a handsome war hero who inherits a rundown earldom. In 1817, Phoebe Linville leaves joyless Philadelphia and the strident lectures of her half-brother for a new life in London under the loving protection of her aristocratic grandfather. When her grandfather dies, she becomes the “possession” of Maj. Lucas Stanton, the new Lord Merritt. A challenging adventure ensues when a determined Phoebe and stubborn Lucas wind up in a compromising position that requires them to wed. Compassionate Phoebe has her hands full, between loving a lord whose heart was broken by another and hiding secrets about smugglers. Regency fans will enjoy the lessons on Christmas traditions, the art of seduction, and the triumph of reconciliation and love. Agent: Evan Marshall, the Evan Marshall Agency. (Oct.)
Love is the best gift of all
Give yourself a feel-good gift this December! Here we’ve highlighted six romantic holiday stories that are sure to add joy to your season.
Vanessa Kelly offers a sensual and sweet treat with His Mistletoe Bride. At the request of her grandfather, the Earl of Merritt, American Quaker Phoebe Linville sails to England to be reunited with family. Upon arrival, she discovers her grandfather is dead and a distant relation, Lucas Stanton, has inherited his estate. Saddened, Phoebe intends to return to America—until family members persuade her to prolong her visit, and Lucas admits he promised to look after her, even to the point of marriage. While Phoebe is attracted to the gruff man, she’s certain he’s an unsuitable match. Yet circumstances dictate a different path, and Phoebe finds herself a Christmas bride. Lucas enjoys his pretty wife, though he doesn’t think he’ll come to love her; he distrusts the emotion. But Phoebe wants it all, and this gentle pacifist is willing to fight to get it. A charmer.
An earl goes home for the holidays in ’Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries. Twenty-three years after being barred from his family estate, Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, is summoned to visit his ill mother. With his unfeeling father now dead, Pierce feels compelled to make the journey, despite his great resentment toward his family. His mood darkens upon discovering the illness a ruse; it was concocted by his mother’s pretty companion in hopes of prompting a reconciliation between mother and son. But the servant, Camilla Stuart, refuses to give up on the idea, and Pierce’s fascination with her makes him reluctant to return to London. Can the earl and the woman he finds so appealing bridge the class gulf between them? After all, it is Pierce’s closed heart that keeps Camilla from giving hers. This is a touching story of love, forgiveness and new beginnings.
A CHRISTMAS MARRIAGE
A Regency lady finds a man who truly appreciates her in Grace Burrowes’ Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight. Louisa Windham, the eldest unmarried daughter of her close family, decides to quit the husband hunt. Her intelligence and outspokenness are not appreciated—except by neighbor Sir Joseph Carrington. Though the former soldier doesn’t consider himself the equal of a duke’s daughter, when scandal threatens Louisa, he steps forward to offer a marriage of convenience. Louisa acquiesces despite a shocking secret she dares not share. Joseph has secrets of his own, but he marries his lady right before Christmas and hopes theirs will be a happy union. Then blackmail letters arrive for husband and wife, and exposure might be imminent. Can the couple trust each other enough to tell the truth? Burrowes has crafted a witty, sophisticated and sparkling story.
Debbie Macomber’s angels are up to their well-intentioned antics in Angels at the Table, a sweet, kisses-only story. Shirley, Goodness and Mercy take apprentice angel Will on a training exercise to Times Square on New Year’s Eve. But once surrounded by the excitement, the three Prayer Ambassadors are sidetracked, leaving the novice alone. When midnight strikes and people are hugging and kissing, Will feels compelled to nudge two who are alone in the crowd . . . two whom God had not intended to meet for several more months. Chef Lucie Ferrara is bowled over by Aren Fairchild, the handsome journalist she bumps into. They spend several magical hours together, but while both feel a magnetic attraction, they’re cautious. When circumstances prevent their second date, the intrepid angels have work to do. Then it’s up to Lucie and Aren to give themselves another chance in this lighthearted, warm-as-cocoa read.
The holidays come to Last Chance, South Carolina, along with a heroine on a mission in Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsay. Photojournalist Lark Chaikin arrives in town to scatter her father’s ashes. But before the deed is done, police chief Stone Rhodes interrupts—and also discovers that Lark is ill. While convalescing in town, she learns of the dislike some citizens have for her father. Curiosity piqued, Lark begins investigating the past, stirring up prejudices and fears. Her attraction to widower Stone only complicates matters, because he still grieves for his wife and Lark is a short-timer in Last Chance. Angels, old scandals and a dead body add obstacles, and it looks as if Lark will fly away before Christmas—or will she? Both poignant and humorous, this story will be a seasonal favorite.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
In Robyn Carr’s My Kind of Christmas, Angie LeCroix escapes family pressure with a visit to Virgin River—but there will be no escaping romance. Upon arriving, her glance lands on Patrick Riordan, a Navy flyer on leave. Like Angie, he’s trying to figure out his future after a traumatic experience. Unlike Angie, he’s certain that a short-term fling won’t help. But their fierce attraction means they’re soon spending days and nights together. Still, Angie can’t avoid her family’s concerns and their certainty about her future. The only thing that feels certain to Angie is her growing affection for Patrick, though she knows his obligations mean he’ll be out of her life by Christmas. Patrick battles himself over his next right step, even as he’s falling for Angie. Can they find a way to be together? My Kind of Christmas is another fabulous read from an author deft at mining deep emotion.