ROMANCE

The Widow’s Christmas Surprise

Zebra: Kensington. (Widow’s Club, Bk. 5). Oct. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781420149760. pap. $8.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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At age 19, Maria Kersey has the dubious distinction of being widowed twice and is now swearing off marriage. Her last husband was a notorious womanizer who was killed in a duel by a jealous spouse, leaving Maria to raise their unborn daughter alone. Unfortunately, the new Lord Kersey, a distant relation, could very well turn her out in the cold. Maria finds an ally in Hugh Granger, the estate’s steward, though as a second son he’s hardly a suitable match. Still, something undeniable sparks between them whenever they’re close, and they both share a responsibility to care for the estate’s tenants. As Christmas approaches, the new lord and his family arrive and make it clear they want Maria out of the way. The plot takes an unexpectedly dark turn as unwanted attempts at seduction and even murder plans are visited upon poor Maria.
VERDICT Expect as much sinister intrigue as romantic Christmas warmth—although there’s plenty of the latter, too. Those looking for a gothic take on a traditional Regency Christmas will find it here.

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