E-Originals, October 12, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Readers will easily fall for Sophie and Ned in their gaslit surroundings—suitable for a clean reads audience; recommended for anyone who enjoys medieval romances, especially set in Scotland

Week ending October 12, 2018

redstarMatthews, Mimi. A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella. Perfectly Proper. Nov. 2018. 169p. ebk. ISBN 9780999036464. $2.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
After a two-month courtship, Sophie Appersett, daughter of an impoverished baronet, ends her relationship with the austere but wealthy merchant Edward Sharpe, believing him indifferent to her. Ned is perplexed when having strictly followed all the rigid protocols of high Victorian society etiquette he is flatly rejected by the woman he longs to marry. Sophie later decides to give Ned a second chance by inviting him to celebrate the Christmas holiday at her family’s country estate. Raised by caring but abstemious parents, Ned must learn to show his true feelings to Sophie, or he will have his heart broken again. Matthews (The Matrimonial Advertisement) pays homage to Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South with her admirable portrayal of the Victorian era’s historic advancements in addition to courtship struggles arising from societal castes. Revealed incrementally throughout are family circumstances molding the characters of both Sophie and Ned, allowing their genuine identities to evolve naturally, just like their sincere and sweet romance.
VERDICT With this stand-alone novella developed into a full-length novel, readers will easily fall for Sophie and Ned in their gaslit surroundings. Suitable for a clean reads audience.—Eve Stano, Indianapolis P.L.

Mecca, Cecilia. The Protector’s Promise. Altiora. (Border Series, 7). Sept. 2018. ISBN 9781946510150. 99¢. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Mecca brings a flair for fantasy to her “Border Series” with this latest installment (after The Warrior’s Queen). The story centers on an emerald said to contain the very heart of Scotland and the two unlikely characters the stone brings together. Lady Marion Rosehaugh has been called as the next protector of the stone. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one the stone has called out to—Lord William Thornhurst, known as Court, has just taken the stone, believing it is the key to winning a battle that could determine his future. As the story continues, the battle for the stone soon turns into a struggle with their hearts. Will Lady Marion get the stone, or will Court have his true love?
VERDICT An entertaining story with a mystical element and likable characters. Recommended for anyone who enjoys medieval romances, especially set in Scotland.—Sonnet Ireland, St. Tammany Parish P.L., Mandeville, LA

LJ Reviews
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