Review: What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander

What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher:  Kensington
Pages: 352
Source:  NetGalley

A blazing fire, an English country house . . . and the ultimate game of charades. In this charming holiday novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander, a beautiful widow finds her plan for a Christmas proposal going perfectly awry . . .

Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas–an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which leaves the lovely widow with a slight problem. The last thing Camille wants is for the prince to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille intends to pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions.

At least until Grayson Elliot shows up. A dozen years ago, he declared his love on the day before her marriage to another man, then vanished from her life. Now he’s back, gate-crashing Camille’s already chaotic house party, playing absolute havoc with her scheme–and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was quite bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable. And he’ll find a way to show her they belong together–for this season, and every Christmas yet to come . . .

 

Review:  It took me a while but once I got past the first few chapters of repetitive lines I found that this historical romance was a really funny story about what happens when you really have more money then you know what to do with. Well, actually it is a bond between women.

Who would think to hire a troupe of actors to portray their kooky family so that could impress the man you are hoping will propose? The only problem is that the actors are even kookier than your own family. As nutty as everyone was in this fast paced story I found them rather endearing. They were written in such a way that they seemed real. Almost as if you could find them in your own family or perhaps a little like a neighbor.

Camille has loved Grayson all of her life. She was just taught that you marry for money to procure your place in society. To ensure that you have enough to survive without a husband should he die early and that love isn’t necessarily needed to marry.

So Camille wasn’t exactly brought up with the best of intentions she really was rather fond of the man she married until he died. This is where we drop in on the story. She is trying to obtain a prince. After all isn’t it every little girls, or big girls for that matter, dream to marry a prince? Just like in the fairy tales? Well, Camille really is no different than you or I. She was beautiful and full of life and fun. She runs into a real prince or so she is lead to believe. The thing is he read Dickens’ and wanted a real traditional family Christmas. He wanted the family and trimmings…everything.

But, where was a girl to find these things when her own family was off on a trip and they really weren’t all that traditional. They were rather well, shall I say a mess. So to catch her prince Camille hatches a fool proofed plan. Hire some actors! Yes, that should work. Actually…I really wouldn’t want to spoil too much of the story. But I guess I can give a little bit away.

Camille has the actors she hired in place ready to fool the prince she wants a proposal from by Christmas. The woman hired to play here mom keeps changing her name. I thought that the prince would catch on but he was clueless. As we get into the story her first love comes back into the picture. Grayson (the love of Camille life, who didn’t have money) ends up helping Camille with her charade as does her twin sister. As the escapes keep happening and you find yourself laughing only to find that her real mom and sister cut their trip short for sentimental reasons, showing up at the house.

Will Camille win her prince? You just may be surprised how this story ends. There are many twists and turns, along with many delightful yet unexpected things happening all the time. I was never bored and found it hard to put this down once I got into the story. They decide to help Camille in this fiasco. Later her…here is where I will have to bow out in these somewhat funny antics of Christmas that just may turn out alright after all.

Family dynamics was a strong concept in this story; Ms. Alexander showed that in a house full of women you tend to lean on each other. Mother lets you know that she knows best whether it really works for you or not. Although in most cases it is better to trust your own instincts.

If you can get past the repetitive first part I know that you will enjoy this comical story with a cast of likable characters that bond family, friends and strangers into new friendships. Where you find that families forge though the past to find that forgiveness is all that is needed to put the past to rest so that you can then move on to the future.

Ms. Alexander’s story shows many things including that things aren’t always what they seem. But are things ever as they seem, really?