Tag Archives: Christmas

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

I really like Cecilia Grant’s Regency romances, so I snapped up this novella over Christmas. She is a very strong writer and I buy or borrow everything she writes. In particular, she has a facility for changing tone and style according to the story she is telling. In this case, that means a light and droll spirit for a Yuletide sliding awry. A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong is a prequel novella for Grant’s Blackshear Family series. I read the books out of order and would recommend each of them.

Uptight and cautious Andrew Blackshear is traveling at Christmas to buy a gift for his engaged sister. Stopping by a gentleman falconer’s home to purchase a pet, he is taken aback to discover himself overwhelmingly attracted to the delightful daughter of the house, Lucy Sharp. Eager to attend a house party, Lucy overrides Andrew’s stuffy objections to the unseemliness of traveling alone together and they head out, falcon on hand, to drop Lucy off at the event on the way to Andrew’s family holiday. As is the way of things with road trips in romance novels, anything that can go wrong does. Stranded by weather and carriage trouble, Andrew and Lucy find themselves spending more time together and in much closer quarters than they had expected as they rely on the kindness of strangers for accommodations. Lucy uses logic and savvy to quickly and quietly dismantle Andrew’s priggish tendencies. He had unknowingly been on his way to a happier future from the very start.

Each of the siblings in the Blackshear books wrestles with expectations of their own behaviour and the restrictions society has taught them. Theirs is a fractured family and it is only by standing up individually that they are able to come back together. A Christmas Gone Perfectly wrong predates the family scandal which is crucial to the other books in the series and allows another view of their starchy eldest brother. Andrew and Lucy made a lovely pairing and Grant shows, as she does in the other books in the series, how a good match can help people find a balance in their lives. Grant also does very well in creating the historical atmosphere that some of these books take more seriously than others. Her Regency feels real.

The Blackshear Family series:
Book .5 – A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong
Book 1 – A Lady Awakened
Book 2 – A Gentleman Undone
Book 3 – A Woman Entangled  – I write about romance novel sex in this one.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful which includes the aforementioned observations.

A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh (with Bonus Romance Review Template)

I decided to fashion a fill-in-the-blank romance novel review to make these posts easier to write:

Part A. The Summary: (Title) is a romance of the (“you are everything I never knew I always wanted”/opposites attract/love story balanced with a strong subplot/teach me how to love/I know I am unworthy, but I love you so) variety: Boy meets girl. (Specify relationship obstruction). (Oblique hint at resolution). Boy and girl move forward together secure in their love and commitment.

Part B. The Introduction: A (historical/contemporary/paranormal) romance set in (location and time period) and written by (author’s first and last name), (title) is my (first/second, etc.) book by this author. (If this is an author you have read before, please complete the following:) I generally find her work (pleasant/a good time filler/spectacular/reliable/fun/vile, but the book was free). (Comment on previous work and link to other reviews where possible). I found (title) (suggested descriptors that can be supplemented as needed: enjoyable/lacklustre/misogynistic/soporific/,and/or romantic). I (will continue to/will not) seek out (author’s last name)’s other novels because this one (was nothing special/showed promise/was really good/passed the time pleasantly enough), (and/but/although) I (would/would not) recommend this particular effort.

Part C. The Plot: The main plot of (title) focuses on (the reformation of a rake/the awakening of a wallflower/a revenge plot/a road trip/an intrigue or mystery/their marriage of convenience/and/or the healing of a tortured hero and/or heroine). (Hero’s name and title, as appropriate) is (that rake/a protector). He is (insert three adjectives). (Comment on his general appeal or lack thereof, specify traits leading to this conclusion.) The heroine, (name and title, as appropriate), is a (wallflower/victim of circumstance). She is (choose three adjectives with special focus on her relatability). (Insert MacGuffin.) (Hero and heroine’s names) (are/are not) instantly attracted to each other. Over time, they come to discover that despite any challenges they face, they make an excellent team.

Part D. The Subplot: (Continue to Section E, if there is no significant subplot, or if it is uninteresting.)

The subplot in (title) revolves around (the reformation of a rake/the awakening of a wallflower/a revenge plot/a road trip/an intrigue or mystery/their marriage of convenience/and/or the healing of a tortured hero and/or heroine) It was (an excellent addition well-executed/cumbersome and got in the way of the main story).

Part E. Conclusion: (Reword opinions stated in Part B. The Introduction.) (Make general comments on the quality of the writing either positive or taking pleasure in being cleverly derisive). (If the book is not recommended, provide a suggestion for a romance with a similar theme more successfully presented.)

Part F. Closing: (Insert link to annotated list of available reviews for readers’ edification.)

© 2013 Mrs. Julien Presents

Let’s give the format a go with the Christmas novella A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh …

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