Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell

Avon Historical Romance Nov 30 2010

384 pages By Cathy Maxwell


Anything can happen at Christmas!

When her father threatens to marry Abigail Montross off to a man twice her age (and with thirteen children!), she decides to elope instead with the irresistibly handsome BarÓn de Vasconia. She knows all about his notorious reputation. He is the most seductive man in all of London, but he's vowed to protect her, so she allows herself to be tempted into his bed, promising to guard her heart at all costs.

Andres believes he's entered into nothing more than a marriage of convenience with a charming and very wealthy young woman. But the days—and nights—Abigail spends in his arms soon reform this rogue. He'll do anything to gain her love—until they each discover the truth about the other and old wounds are revealed.

It's the season of miracles and passion—when love not only awakens the senses but delivers the greatest gift of all . . .



Review posted at the Season newsletter for December HERE

With most Christmas themed romances, I am willing to dive into the sentimental pool and go with the flow very easily. Most Xmas romances are as sweet as a frosted sugar cookie with red and green sprinkles. Cathy Maxwell's offering delivers here in the Christmas confection department.

It is the fourth book in her 'Scandals and Seduction' Series, but this stands on its own.

Andres is referred to as "Apollo" so stunning are his Castilian looks. So much so women swoon into his arms, and pass notes secretly into his hand, hoping for an assignation. But never has a woman like Abigail Montross stumbled into his arms.
Abby comes across Andres in a study of a house party they are attending, he is playing around with the host's dueling pistol, Abby thinks he is about to do the unthinkable, hence her throwing himself into his arms.
Andres inadvertently overhears Abby being given the brush off from a society fop, who to add insult to injury, will be announcing his betrothal to her cousin instead. A Duke's daughter, whereas Abby is the daughter of a banker, but a successful one. The party goes downhill quickly after that, in which Andres finds himself well involved.

Abby's father has had enough, and at her age, she is getting married, and he arranges an alliance with a middle aged man with 13 children. Abby defiantly refuses to do this, and when Andres shows up at her door with a bold proposal, Abby throws caution to the wind and accepts.

Yes, it's been done many, many times. The marriage of convenience, the race to Greta Green, he's flat broke, she has an inheritance from her grandmother. Andres has been given a property in Northumberland with the promise to stay out of London (and away from his mistress, a Viscount's wife) and he is anxious to start fresh. Breed horses. And he needs Abby's inheritance to get the enterprise off the ground.

I found Andres and Abby to be enchanting. Andres himself called it that night at the ball, he sensed that both of them were lonely. Abby is not your typical English rose with her unruly carrot topped hair and freckles, but Andres is attracted right out of the gate. And the more they get to know each other, the more they fall in love.

This couple does not have it easy, obstacles arise, such as Abby's banker father showing up in Scotland and announcing he found a way to temporarily finagle her inheritance out of her possession. Make a choice, and Abby chooses to stay with Andres.

The trip to the house Andres now owns and has never seen is harrowing, they have no money, and are reduced to selling watches and jewelery for travel and accommodations. But nothing prepared the young couple for the condition of the house, overgrown and in a state of disrepair.

I was touched by the vulnerability of Andres in particular, stunning specimen he may be, but deep down wounded by the secrets of his past, that haunt him still. No one had ever stood by him in his life...until Abby.
Abby is a delightful heroine, she has her own doubts and vulnerabilities, but is in essence, strong, courageous and capable of great feeling and love, just what Andres needs.
However it is not a smooth ride to true love and happiness, both have doubts, regrets, vulnerabilities that threaten to drive them apart permanently, including the appearance of Freddie, the society fop who threw Abby over, who suddenly has a fresh interest in her.

The love story culminates with a Christmas Day reunion that was sweet and lovely. Just go with this, yes, the happy ending is like a neatly wrapped Christmas package, maybe a tad too tightly wrapped, but Christmas is magical, a season for deeply felt feelings and passions.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying read. Cathy Maxwell crafts another deeply felt, richly told story.

The perfect book to read some snowy night with a cup of hot chocolate, while the Christmas tree illuminates the room.

3 and 3/4 stars out of 4 for the book

KOVER KUDOS: Very lovely, Xmasy cover, and the models are as described in the book.

3 out of 4 stars for the cover


Deb said...

Excellent review, Karyn. I enjoy reading Cathy's books because she writes with humor, passion, and tenderness. I'm looking forward to adding this to my TBR pile.

Karyn Gerrard said...

Thank you so much Deb. You nailed it exactly, humor passion and tenderness, lots of that in this book. Cheers~