Title: A Kiss at Christmastide
Author: Christina McKnight
Series: – –
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: 27th Sept
Lady Pippa Godfrey has suffered the most ruinous London Season. She escapes to her Somerset estate for a quiet Christmastide holiday with her family, away from society’s prying eyes. But before her parents can join her, a storm crashes down on Somerset to destroy any hope of Pippa’s white Christmas dream. The roads have flooded and travel is impossible, leaving her stranded and alone. But a muddied, angry and devilishly handsome lord appears at her door demanding shelter.
Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been summoned by his parents, the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont, to attend a holiday party in the wilds of the country, far from his London townhouse. He suspects they command his attendance for far different reasons than a simple country party. When a storm strands his carriage, he’s forced to seek shelter at the only home for miles around, a local manor called Helton House.
When Lady Pippa is reluctant to admit him, he does what he’s been raised to do—demand she provide him and his servants with shelter until the storm passes. But the beautiful woman draws his interest far more than he’s willing to admit. Can Lucas find a way out of the predicament his parents are planning?
As Lady Pippa scrutinizes another arrogant, demanding lord, she is bombarded with memories of betrayals in her past. Can she forget those difficult life lessons to claim a Christmastide kiss from a perfect stranger?
Source: ARC via NetGalley
This is a sweet, if unremarkable, Christmas novella with a nice historical feel that doesn’t really bother much with accuracy. Pippa has had a terrible first Season in London, because her best-friend is awful and essentially ruined her on her first night in town with a nasty remark – the reason for which we never discover, though I suspect it has something to do with that music master who was in attendance at the ton party, which seemed pretty unlikely.
Almost as unlikely as a young, unmarried woman staying at home completely on her own without even a maid or chaperone to watch over her while her parents are away. Add in the wandering scoundrel who happily stays all alone with her in the house (aside from a few very lax servants) and it’s no wonder her reputation is ruined! Not that either of them seem to think about any of that, because they’re too busy lost in their own thoughts about each other and their separate issues with life, love and family.
There’s an awful lot of lone brooding in this book. They don’t spend a vast amount of time together, for all that it’s a novella and takes place over a few short days. When they are together, it’s all quite sweet. Pippa is a nice character, if a little too accepting of Natalie’s nasty behaviour, while Lucas certainly grows through his short time with her.
If I wanted to be super picky I could question why two dukedoms are situated so very close together, with only a seven minute ride between their houses (really?) and the fact that they seem to share a village (unlikely). I might also mention the fact that the spelling of Bowmont made me wince every time I read it, wonder just how long it was since Lucas spent time with his parents (two years, eight, since he left home at seven?) and the Americanisms that slipped into the book every so often. I also really hope this book was given another copy edit after this ARC was released, else it really, really needs another.
On the whole, though, this is okay. If you like a Regency feel and want to pair that with Christmas, then give this a go. If you’re more for accuracy and details, then it might not be quite what you’re looking for. Regardless, it all makes for a sweet and easy read.
A Kiss at Christmastide is out September 27th.
Visit Christina McKnight for more details.