Monday, October 13, 2014

A Christmas Reunion by Susanna Fraser

Gabriel Shepherd has never forgotten his humble origins. So when he discovers a war orphan at Christmastime, he resolves to find a home for her—even if that means asking help from the very family who found and raised him, only to cast him out for daring to love the wrong woman.

Lady Catherine Trevilan has spent five years poring over the British Army's casualty list, dreading the day she sees Gabe's name. She's never forgotten him, and she's never forgiven herself for not running away with him when she had the chance, though she's agreed to a marriage of convenience with a more suitable man.

When Gabe returns home on Christmas leave just days before Cat's wedding, a forbidden kiss confirms their feelings haven't been dimmed by distance or time. But Cat is honor-bound to another, and Gabe believes she deserves better than a penniless soldier with an orphan in tow. How can Cat reconcile love and duty? She must convince Gabe she'd rather have him than the richest lord in all of England…

Publisher and Release Date: Carina Press November, 24, 2014

Time & Setting: Regency, England 1810

Heat Level: 1.5

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Review by Vikki

I received this novella from Net Galley for an honest review, and I’m so glad I had the privilege of reading this delightful Christmas tale. Susanna Fraser has a graceful, flowing writing style that engaged me from the first page and kept me in its thrall to the last. She has penned a heart-warming second chance at love story. This story has an incredible twist near the end that I never saw coming. Since the book blurb does an excellent job of conveying the gist of the story, I have chosen to refrain from doing a recap.

Ms. Fraser sets up her scene with expertise, painting a clear picture of the regency period with verbiage appropriate for the time and setting. She tells an enchanting tale of lovers separated by Lady Catherine’s guardian with delicacy and emotion. The lovers are extremely young. She is only eighteen and Gabriel is twenty when a kiss shared under the mistletoe turns passionate beyond what the two lovers are ready for.

When they meet again, their attraction for each other is immediate and as strong as it was five years before. The author does a superb job of building sexual tension with barely a kiss. The passion between Cat and Gabe crackles on the page every time they are in the same room.

Now for why I could not give this sweet Christmas story full crowns. Since the story is short, only 29,000 words, the author is not able to fully flesh out her characters, and plot is a tad underdeveloped. With just a bit more time I’m positive she would have accomplished this.

If you are looking for a Christmas story to warm your heart and get you in the holiday spirit, this is one that you will not want to miss. Happy reading!

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