Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wish Upon a Snowflake - Christine Merrill, Linda Skye, Elizabeth Rolls (HH #1207 - Nov 2014)

The Christmas Duchess - Christine Merrill

Her daughter recently jilted, widowed Generva feels anything but festive--until the unexpected arrival of Thomas Kanner, Duke of Montford, transforms the Marsh household. Might there be a Christmas wedding after all?

Good story. Generva is coping with the scandal created by the young man who was supposed to marry her daughter on Christmas Day. It turned out that he was already married, leaving her daughter to face the gossip. Two days before Christmas, his uncle, the Duke of Montford, appeared with the special license, having no idea of what had happened. Thomas is horrified at what his heir has done and offers to marry the girl himself. 

Generva had been widowed for several years and was accustomed to dealing with things on her own. I loved the way she went after Thomas with the broom when he first got there. When she calmed down and heard Thomas out, she couldn't believe that he was willing to go so far. It was also disconcerting to her to realize that he could become her son-in-law, especially when she discovered that she was attracted to him herself. She couldn't see someone like him being interested in her, so tried to keep her emotions under control. It was a losing battle for her.

I really liked Thomas. He was a good man, had a marvelous sense of humor, and wanted to make things right. I loved the way he fit right in with the family. He was patient and fun with Ben, very kind to the jilted Gwendolyn, and very intrigued by Generva. He quickly becomes very glad that Gwendolyn turned down his proposal because Generva appeals to him much more. I loved the way that he spoke to Ben about being the man of the house and how he told Ben about his intentions toward Generva. His actions at the church were funny and sweet.

I really liked that Thomas and Generva are older than the usual hero and heroine. It's great to see more mature couples get happy endings too. 

Russian Winter Nights - Linda Skye

Russian princess Ekaterina Romanova sees through the gilded facade of the Winter Court. An intimate encounter with Andrey Kvasov offers a moment of escape, and soon this Yuletide brings the promise of something thrilling…and forbidden.

Ekaterina is the niece of the Empress and stuck in the service of the Empress. She is a kind young woman, disgusted by the actions of her cruel aunt. One day she happens on a young man who is an apprentice architect, working on a special room in the palace. They are instantly attracted to each other, but any contact between them is dangerous.

Andrey is a good man stuck in a bad situation. He wants to be with Ekaterina, but the Empress wants him for herself. If he refuses, both he and Ekaterina could be sent to Siberia or even killed. 

I liked the connection between them and the intensity of their feelings. The danger they were in was real, and I was curious to see how they were going to get out of it. Ekaterina had been at court long enough to learn how to be pretty devious, and I really liked the solution she came up with. I would have liked another chapter or an epilogue to show the completed resolution.

A Shocking Proposition - Elizabeth Rolls

Madeleine Kirkby must be married before Twelfth Night--or forfeit her family estate. After a chance encounter with the man she lost her heart to years ago, she has the perfect prospective husband in mind.

Maddy is desperate to save her home from being taken by her nasty cousin. She has until Twelfth Night to marry, but can't marry without his permission until she's twenty-one - on Christmas Day. That doesn't leave her much time to find a willing groom, especially since Edward has succeeded in trashing her reputation among the local men. An encounter with Lord Ashton, newly returned from the war and the man she adored as a child, gives her an idea.

Ash has returned from war plagued by nightmares. All he wants to do is find a small estate along Hadrian's Wall where he can indulge his love of searching for antiquities. He is surprised by the grown-up Maddy and his attraction to her, but feels that he's too damaged to pursue her. He's stunned by her proposal that they marry, saving her home and giving him the perfect place for his searching.

I loved Ash and Maddy. The heat between them was intense, and their shared history gave them the base from which their attraction could grow into love. I really liked the way that Maddy took charge of her own destiny. I loved seeing Ash adjust to the grown up Maddy. Besides her beauty he also loved her independence. His love for her showed through so strongly, especially in the ways that he protected and supported her. I loved seeing him stand up to Edward and the scene in the church was great. His determination to go through with the marriage, even as he worried about what Edward might have done to her, was fantastic. The final showdown with Edward was pretty intense, but it did force Ash and Maddy to admit their feelings to each other.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters, especially the people who worked for Maddy. It was obvious how much they all loved her, which said a lot about her character. I also liked Ash's brother and his attempts to make Ash see that marrying Maddy was right for him.

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