Title: A Christmas Surprise
Author: Emily Murdoch
Format: eBook, 77 pages
Published: September 28, 2015 by Endeavour Press
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Every year for thirty years Lord Robert, the Viscount of Marchwood, throws a Christmas Ball.
But this year the Marchwood Christmas Ball holds extra importance.
His daughter, Lady Audrey, has just turned eighteen, and it is time for her to be introduced into society.
It is Audrey’s first, best, and potentially only chance of securing a husband.
Especially seeing as there are rumours that the Marchwood money is running dry.
But headstrong Lady Audrey is not sure she wants a husband.
Ever since her mother died she has been left to her own devices.
Though she is very close to her father, it was often the servants she turned to for companionship, particularly Thomas, who, five years older than her, was always the person she depended on for conversation.
She is not ready to leave everything she knows, and the thought of abandoning her father breaks her heart.
She is determined that only someone truly special will take her away from her home.
But with the ball centred around a masquerade theme, everyone is in disguise.
And a handsome stranger threatens to steal Audrey’s heart.
Could he hold the key to her heart?
And when she unmasks him will it be a good, or bad, Christmas Surprise?
Lady Audrey is eighteen and about to have her coming out Christmas Ball. With rumors swirling that her father is having some financial trouble, she hopes to meet her future husband on the same night. A late decision to make the Ball a mask sets up a night full of intrigue and magic. Thomas has been the valet to Audrey's father for the last five years and developed a close relationship with Audrey. With her turning eighteen and beginning the search for a husband, he feels the urgency to examine his feelings. The Christmas Ball will be a night neither will forget.
At fewer than one hundred pages, A Christmas Surprise is a short novella that will require you to be very forgiving with its regency period setting. I was curious how the daughter of a viscount would/could be set-up with her father's valet, the story for the most part decided to not address it and went with "luv". Audrey's father had no objections as Thomas must really love Audrey because he still wanted to marry her even when he thought she was poor. Having characters with these roles was an intriguing idea and to have the author flake out on providing the meat of this situation was disappointing.
Audrey and her father were the most fleshed out characters with Audrey coming off a little flighty. Thomas was disappointingly missing; he was a pencil sketch of a character. There is talk of how Thomas and Audrey grew close because of their conversations but we are never shown any of them. I was left bereft of any reasoning as to why these two cared for one another.
The language used by the characters felt off but the overall writing flowed well, you'd have no problem finishing this in an hour. I was looking for a shorter story with a holiday feel, this was both but it also read more as a pitch for a story, rather than an actual story. I needed more depth of character from Thomas and for him and Audrey to have more interactions and evidence of feelings between them.