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Sandy M’s review of Deck the Halls with Love (Lords of Pembrook, Book 2.5) by Lorraine Heath
Historical Romance novella published by Avon Impulse 22 Jan 13

I have to admit that I didn’t think about the Marquess of Chetwyn being hero of his own story when I read him in Lord of Temptation. He was marrying Anne out of a sense of duty, because it was his brother’s dying wish, and he treated her like a piece of property, pushing his wants and needs on her. So, needless to say, his character at that time didn’t endear him to me, even in the end when he became a gentleman – too late in my eyes. But as usual, Lorraine Heath is able to turn that character around and make him hero material. I suddenly love Lord Chetwyn.

What I didn’t read into Chetwyn’s scenario in Lord of Temptation is though he was coerced into marrying Anne, he didn’t make me feel it was an undue hardship for him. In reality, he felt guilty over his brother’s death, thus would do anything to make up for the fact he hastened his sibling’s demise, no matter how unknowingly that may have been. What we also find out in this book is that Chetwyn has been in love with Lady Meredith since the first time he laid eyes on her. He courted her the prior year, knowing he’d ask for her hand. That’s when the letter from his late brother arrived, much later than usual because it was hand delivered. So he reluctantly but nobly left Meredith behind to wed Anne.

Now Meredith is betrothed to Lord Litton, a man whom she feels will suit. She’s obviously settling, because the one she loves suddenly left her pining away. When Chetwyn begins to slowly pursue her once again, Meredith has to steel her heart against him; she can’t allow that delicate organ to break again. She wouldn’t survive it. But as adamant she is about ignoring Chetwyn’s attentions, he is just as adamant in finding her alone to work his charms on her and perhaps encourage her to change her mind about marrying someone else.

It’s not until they’re caught in a snow storm that Meredith relents, and what a lovely scene this is all the way around. Their lovemaking is sweet and tender and their parting is the same, with Chetwyn refusing to ruin Merry’s reputation, though that would guarantee getting him what he wants. He loves her that much, and that’s when I fell in love with him myself. I enjoyed Meredith’s test of Litton, setting her free to do what her heart desires. And Chetwyn’s proposal is romantic and heartfelt, lovingly done.

As I learned when Ms. Heath turned Stephen from her London’s Greatest Heroes series into a hero in Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman, garnering my love for him with only one page, when I started reading this novella, I knew Chetwyn would suffer the same fate. She’s one of those authors who can pull emotion out of a reader even in a novella, nearly as well as she does in full-length form. The feeling of Christmas is present in this holiday story, the ball where Chetwyn begins his pursuit, the snow, ice skating on a frozen pond, and lovemaking in front of a roaring fire all come together to give you the joy of Christmas spirit.

Though Amazon is listing this book to be released January of next year, Ms. Heath has announced it was released yesterday. I’m hoping that’s the case, because this is a lovely, warm story to romance up your holiday. It also gets you in gear for the next book in the series, which should be out later in 2013. So be sure to  get your copy as soon as you can!

SandyMGrade: A


Christmas is a time for miracles … and second chances at love.

In her dazzling first Season, Lady Meredith Hargreaves gave her heart to Alistair Wakefield, the Marquess of Chetwyn, only to have it shattered when he proposed to another. And now that he’s free to pursue her? It matters little, because she’s on her way to the altar, heartbreak be damned.

Chetwyn once set aside his dreams in favor of duty and honor. But as Christmas approaches, he is determined to put his own desires first and lure Lady Meredith back into his arms, where she’s always belonged.

First he steals a dance; then he steals a kiss. But when they find themselves alone in an abandoned castle during a snowstorm, reignited passion consumes them both. And Chetwyn will have one last chance to steal back Meredith’s heart, once and for all.

No excerpt available.

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