As far as Ethan Fortescue is concerned, his family’s seat in Cornwall is only a source of torment, one that he’s managed to avoid for two years. Now that he’s the Earl of Devon however, he can close the door on his haunted past by locking up the cursed place for good. But upon arriving at Cleves Court, he is shocked to find the house aglow with Christmas celebrations, filled with music and laughter. And right at the center of the holiday madness is the infuriating—and eternally tempting—Theodosia Sheridan . . .
Thea has always loved the town of Cleves, especially at the holidays. As a girl, she also loved Ethan with all her heart. It’s painful to see how his brother’s tragic death has embittered him. Still, she will do anything to make sure the town thrives—even if it means going to battle with Ethan to save Cleves Court. Now she has only until Twelfth Night to make a Christmas miracle happen—by proving that his childhood home can be a source of love and wonder. But before long, she finds herself wondering if she’s trying to save the house—or its handsome master…
Review: Christmas and historical romance. How could you go wrong? When I saw this title available for review, I knew it was right up my alley and jumped at the chance to read it. And I’m glad I did. This is the first of Anna Bradley’s books I’ve read, but I’m going to have to rectify that. This is the third book is a series, but I didn’t feel lost. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how this book fits into a series… but on to my review of this book.
Ethan is one of those heroes that was really hard to like in the beginning. He has demons from his past that are plaguing him, but they’re slowly revealed. So, his early behavior didn’t win me over and I was really wondering what I was getting into. As his past was revealed, I began to understand and cheer him along. Considering this was a short story, I found there to be good character development and growth,
Then we have Thea. She’s a strong willed woman. She and Ethan were childhood friends and she’s surprised to have him come home. And she’s determined to “fix” him. Thea was definitely easier to like since her backstory wasn’t shrouded in mystery and she was more of an open book. I won’t say that Thea’s character wasn’t as developed, but she definitely didn’t have the same growth as Ethan.
The romance between the two relied heavily on their history. There wasn’t really any wooing or that “dance” around each other than typically happens in a romance. In this, I was a little let down. I felt that they both kinda had this epiphany that they’ve always loved the other and *bam*, they’re in love. I’m not sure if this was due to the fact it’s a short story and a focus on character development.
All that said, I did enjoy the story. If you’re a fan of historical romances set at Christmas time, you may want to check this one out.