Title: The Christmas Wager
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Series: Happy Christmas #1
Genre: Victorian Romance
A mysterious key to an attic that cannot be found…
A ghost with good but overly ambitious intentions…
And a forgotten wager that is about to turn Miss Barrington’s life into a holiday mess.
Are you ready for the outrageously funny and Happy Christmas Series?
WARNING: THERE IS A LOT OF MAGIC AND ROMANCE IN THIS BOX.
London, England – Winter of 1860
When all the ladies of London realize that handsome and refined gentleman, the Duke of Ainsley, is formally looking for a wife, only weeks before Christmas, a mad dash to claim him begins. Miss Barrington knows her chances with the duke are incredibly good given what her close gypsy friend had once foretold, but a forgotten wager with her greatest nemesis, American millionaire, Mr. Redstone, is about to bring on complications and…chaos.
Will she claim the dashing and respectable duke once foretold by the stars? Or will she fall for Mr. Redstone and go against destiny? Only the days leading up to Christmas will tell!
Source: Review copy via NetGalley
This is a sweet historical romance packed with Christmas spirit and some added magic to move things along. It all starts with Felicity in a foundling hospital where a rich relative has miraculously shown up to save her. Even though she’s understandably worried about the whole thing, her best friend assures her all will be well, because she has all kinds of foreseeing powers and can talk to ghosts and all will be perfect. In six years. Oh, and there will be a duke at her wedding.
On her first night out of the hospital, she meets a ghost who leads her next door and into the path of Mr. Redstone. This section of the story was definitely my favourite. I loved the first meeting between Felicity and Maxwell, it’s cute and fun, with a little bit of tipsiness and some pretty responsible behaviour from Maxwell (well, after he gets Felicity drunk anyway). True, it doesn’t end as sweetly as it begins, but the pair of them are so fun together that my hopes were high for the rest of the book.
Then it’s six years later, Felicity is about to get engage and Maxwell has been away for three years. Which, I have to admit, I found a little disappointing. I wanted to see Felicity adapting to her new life,see Maxwell trying to win his way back into her affections, perhaps see how things changed for her in the years when Maxwell were away.
Instead everything gets bound up in the ghostly plot, there’s a bit of flirting and to be honest it was hard to really care about either of them because of the huge gap and the fact that they’re both different. If the book had started at this age I might have enjoyed it more, or if there had been a little bit from the intervening years. However, that isn’t what happened, and while it was nice to give Felicity time to grow up I was left wondering why six whole missing years was necessary.
Plot aside, Felicity starts off quite fun and independent, but she becomes a bit uptight before Maxwell works his magic again. She’s okay, but I much preferred Maxwell. He’s funny and different and I just liked him. I also really liked Felicity’s young cousin, he was fun. It might have been nice to have seen more of the duke and Felicity’s uncle, though I suspect they’ll be back in future books.
Overall this is a fun, sweet historical read with ghosts and Christmas and an orphan – and yes, the Dickensian parallels are intentional. It didn’t bowl me over, but I enjoyed it. The vast majority of the action takes place in two scenes between Felicity and Maxwell, and though I enjoyed the pair of them together, I do wish there had been more background and development around them. I did like the book, but I can’t help thinking about how much more I would have enjoyed it if more of the story had been added. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a historical Christmas story, this one certainly has something to offer. I look forward to seeing where the series goes next year.
The Christmas Wager is Out Now!
Visit Delilah Marvelle for more details.