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Book CoverSandy M’s review of His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell
Historical Romance published by Avon 30 Nov 10

What a delightful read this is. From the first meeting of the hero and heroine through their marriage of convenience and watching their love blossom, we’re carried through fun, heartache, hardship, revelations, forgiveness, hope and, of course, love and romance.

The first chapter of this book starts a tad introspective and disheartening for the hero, Andres. He’s come to England under false pretenses, but who could it really hurt, and he’s failed at nearly everything he’s tried to restore his family name and title. At a ball in his host’s library, he’s contemplating taking the same way out of life like his father when suddenly he meets the heroine, Abby. She literally tackles the man to keep him from the ultimate sin and the ensuing banter set the tone for these two. In the middle of this, Abby’s current love enters the room to talk with her and Andres plays the gallant, promising to keep silent so as not to besmirch her reputation.

As Andres lies on the floor forgotten by Abby, she learns her beau is about to propose to her cousin, despite the fact he says he loves Abby. Of course, all the while Andres hears their entire conversation, at the end of which he pops up from behind a piece of furniture and asks Abby to dance. I have to tell you, I did laugh out loud. I fell in love with Andres right then.

But things go from bad to worse after this for the man. His former lover, who thinks she’s anything but former as far as he’s concerned, pitches one spectacular hissy fit when he rebuffs her for Abby. It’s Abby, however, who suffers the most though Andres believes he’s defending her. Abby takes a last shot at Andres and leaves the party humiliated, believing she’ll never see him again. But that doesn’t stop his words about her from flowing through her head and remembering the man himself. Handsome as sin and the talk of society, both good and bad.

When Andres is confronted by the hissy-fit-thrower’s husband, he takes the man up on his offer of land hours away from London, thinking his dream of owning stables and horses has finally come true. He still needs money, however, and remembers that Abby is an heiress through her banker father. Not wanting to marry the man her father has chosen – he’s twice her age and has thirteen children – Abby chooses to elope with Andres to begin the adventure of her life. Though that life begins with her father chasing them down on their way to Gretna Green and then finding the property given to Andres in shambles, they start to make a go at a new life together. It’s Abby who keeps Andres going when he’s close to giving up.

That’s what I love most about this hero. He still goes through that doubting stage when things go wrong. He’s still very vulnerable, a residual of his early years, but now that he has Abby in his life, he doesn’t give up. He picks himself up and continues on. Even when he goes too far in his jealousy later on, an emotion he’s never had to deal with before. Now he figures things out and owns up to his mistakes, all because he needs Abby in his life. I love the scene at the Christmas Ball when he arrives disheveled from traveling hard for days to get to her and declares his love for her in front of the entire assemblage. A wonderful scene.

Though I’m going on about Andres, Abby is also a beautiful character. She’s grown up sheltered, has the kindest heart but stands her ground, even against her father. She becomes Andres’ rock from the beginning due to her steadfastness. But she’s also fiery and sensual in his hands. I enjoy their realizations about the other throughout the book, giving them more insight into their mate, thereby making their life more substantial for the long haul.

A thoroughly pleasant holiday read.

SandyMGrade: B+


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 Baron de Vasconia. She know 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 . . .

Read an excerpt.