Author: Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Part of a Series: MacGregor Quartet
Type of book: miracles, christmas, England, Scotland, Victorian Era, late 1800s, business, mills, romance, adult, sensual, English lady/Scottish lord, traditions, family, marriage
Year it was published: 2014
The Best Gifts are the Unexpected Ones...
To escape a scandal, Lady Joan Flynn flees to her family's estate in the Scottish Highlands. She needs a husband by Christmas, or the holidays will ring in nothing but ruin.
Practical, ambitious mill owner Dante Hartwell offers to marry Joan, because a wellborn wife is his best chance of gaining access to aristocratic investors.
As Christmas—and trouble—draw nearer, Dante and Joan's marriage of convenience blossoms into unexpected intimacy, for true love often hides beneath the most unassuming holiday wrapping...
The main characters include Lady Joan, sister to Tiberius (otherwise known as Spathfoy,) a talented designer who has head for learning business and is passionate about creating dresses. She is practical and doesn't seem to care much for wealth, but instead people are far more important to her. Dante Hartwell is a Scottish man who has his own business as well as a kind heart and is very driven by work and trying to take care of his family of two children. Other characters include Joan's siblings and their spouses as well as Dante's sister Mary and his worker Hector. All characters were well drawn and very memorable.
Miracles happen when you least expect them
The story is written in third person narrative, primarily from Joan's and Dante's points of view, although other characters and stories did intrude. I do wish that I would have read other books in the series because I really like to know what's going on and get to know the characters. While the story is heavily character-driven, other aspects of the story such as dialogue, genuine connections and attraction also fill these pages, and I also was really surprised by how fast the pages flew through my hands. Also, I really enjoyed the historical tidbits that the author included in the story.
(From her website)
I am the sixth out of seven children and was raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life I spent a lot of time reading romance novels and riding a chubby buckskin gelding named—unimaginatively if eponymously—Buck. I also spent a lot of time practicing the piano. My first career was as a technical writer and editor, a busy profession that nonetheless left enough time to read many, many romance novels.
It also left time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.
While reading yet still more romance novels (there is a trend here) I opened my own law practice, acquired a master’s degree in Conflict Management (I had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing…. romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World a few years ago. (“Mom, why doesn’t anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?”)
I eventually got up the courage to start pitching manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in “the call” started out: “I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing—and if that doesn’t narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought.” (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)
Please feel free to contact me. I love reader mail!
Okay, this is another romance novel that I really enjoyed reading. What I enjoyed is the fact that its focused more on characters than sexual scenes and the characters really shone in my opinion, convincing me how perfect they are for each other. Also, while this does contain a wedding, the book also contains scenes where Joan and Dante try to get to know one another after becoming married to one another. I was a bit confused about the blackmail scenes, but overall a sweet and enjoyable holiday book. Also, I don't celebrate christmas, but I like how I didn't feel alienated from reading this particular story, and how the author focused more on universal traditions of family, gifting and others instead of religion.
I would like to thank Morgan Doremus for a chance to read and review the book
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)