REVIEW: The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth EssexTuesday, December 24, 2013 0:00
Sandy M’s review of The Scandal Before Christmas (Reckless Brides, Book 3.5) by Elizabeth Essex
Historical Romance novella published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks 8 Oct 13
This is my first Elizabeth Essex book, and I’m quite unhappy about that. I really enjoyed these characters, how they meet, which would never have happened under normal circumstances, and the gentle but heartfelt way they learn about each other and to then look forward the future.
Ian is a second son and has made the military his life. Bad news has just been delivered – his brother has suffered an accident and it is now up to him to marry and produce an heir. Finding this true, Ian laments the situation to a friend and fellow officer, discovering the man has a daughter who sounds too good to be true but who fits the bill perfectly for Ian and his seafaring life. They make arrangements quickly, because Ian has until Christmas to be wed.
Hoping she is finally going to be married with a home of her own, Anne’s first meeting with her betrothed does not go well. Ian mistakes her for the maid. Her plainness and shyness are not working in her favor today. Then she overhears Ian talking about those very qualities and her hopes are dashed, forcing her to seek refuge on the shore below this house she’d love to call home.
Unintentionally causing Anne pain has settled on Ian, and he knows he must put things right. I love that first real conversation between them as they walk the shoreline, re-introducing themselves and then getting on with the business of getting to know one another. Ian is the first man to see past that plain and shy exterior of Anne’s, seeing the intelligent and proud woman beneath, who Anne truly is. I love these kinds of stories, where the handsome, confident hero is taken with the painfully shy, not-so-beautiful heroine. It’s his gentleness in luring her out of her protective shield that tugs at your heart, then his desire for her pushes through to give their growing relationship a rough, sharp edge, suddenly showing the heroine how she affects this man she never though she could have. This and so much more happens between Ian and Anne. And Ms. Essex doesn’t hold back, giving the reader every ounce of emotion possible when this couple realizes what they have and more.
I’m definitely going to be reading more of Elizabeth Essex. It’s a rare author who can convert me with just a novella, and she’s done a very fine job of that. I look forward to more stories just as wonderful as this one.
Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas, and he can’t afford to be choosy. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea—all within a matter of days. Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, and nothing and no one to recommend her but her own self. She accepts the lieutenant’s hasty offer only for the comfort and security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm snows her and Ian in, they both find they got much more than they bargained for—laughter, light, and a Christmas filled with honest to goodness true love…
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: