Title: A Kiss at Christmastide
Series: Connected by a Kiss #1
Author: Christina McKnight
Format: Kindle, 152 pages
Published: September 27, 2016 ( La Loma Elite Publishing)
ISBN: ASIN: B01JX6FOCU
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Lady Pippa Godfrey has suffered the most ruinous London Season. She escapes to her Somerset estate for a quiet Christmastide holiday with her family, away from society’s prying eyes. But before her parents can join her, a storm crashes down on Somerset to destroy any hope of Pippa’s white Christmas dream. The roads have flooded and travel is impossible, leaving her stranded and alone. But a muddied, angry and devilishly handsome lord appears at her door demanding shelter.
Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been summoned by his parents, the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont, to attend a holiday party in the wilds of the country, far from his London townhouse. He suspects they command his attendance for far different reasons than a simple country party. When a storm strands his carriage, he’s forced to seek shelter at the only home for miles around, a local manor called Helton House.
When Lady Pippa is reluctant to admit him, he does what he’s been raised to do—demand she provide him and his servants with shelter until the storm passes. But the beautiful woman draws his interest far more than he’s willing to admit. Can Lucas find a way out of the predicament his parents are planning?
As Lady Pippa scrutinizes another arrogant, demanding lord, she is bombarded with memories of betrayals in her past. Can she forget those difficult life lessons to claim a Christmastide kiss from a perfect stranger?
“Life – and love – are much like a storm. The clouds, the wind, the rain may make it impossible for you to see a clear path to your fated destination, but with time and a lot of faith, you will find the correct path once more – or a better path, one that could not be seen before the storm made it visible.”
A Kiss at Christmastide is a charming historical holiday read. The cover is gorgeous and drew me in right away. The story is well-paced with a few surprising twists. It’s the first book in a three-book series of standalone - but connected – holiday novellas set in Somerset, England. The other books in the series are by Amanda Mariel and Dawn Brower.
Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been betrothed to Lady Natalie - sight unseen - by his parents from whom he is estranged. His trip to meet Lady Natalie at a holiday party and to have their betrothal announced is sidelined by a raging thunderstorm which breaks the wheel of his carriage. He unhappily seeks and takes refuge at the home of Lady Pippa Godfrey who is home alone save for her servants. Lucas does not make Pippa privy to his betrothal and she remains entirely unaware that he is betrothed for most of the story.
Pippa and Natalie were previously best friends and confidants. However, they had a falling-out when Natalie decidedly ruined Pippa’s first season by perpetuating lies about Pippa. Lucas’ and Pippa’s chemistry grows hotter as the storm continues to keep them sequestered inside growing to where Pippa enjoys a first kiss with him fulfilling a Christmas legend: Kiss under the kissing bough and a lady is guaranteed to be wed before the following Christmastide. Will the legend hold true?
Here’s a short favorite snippet from A Kiss at Christmastide:
“Lucas,” she started again. “You may release me now.”
“And if I refuse?”
“Then we shall be found in short order in a position most scandalous by my servants.”
“And we do not want that to happen?” This time, it was a question, not a statement.
Pippa wanted nothing less than to be released. “Surely, the wisest decision would be that.”
“Are you a wise woman, Pippa?” he asked, his breath fanning her face. “Because, I assure you, at this very moment, I do not feel like a wise man.”
A Kiss at Christmastide is a sweet, easy read. While it is a Regency novella, it doesn’t strictly adhere to historical facts. Since I just wanted to escape into a festive romance for a short time, I ignored those aspects that I knew to be untrue and just enjoyed the tale. If you are looking for a quick, magical Christmas read with a delightful warm-fuzzies happy-ever-after at the end, you may want to check out A Kiss at Christmastide.
Suggested Reading Order:
• A Kiss at Christmastide - Book 1 by Christina McKnight
• How to Kiss a Rogue - Book 2 by Amanda Mariel
• A Wallflower's Christmas Kiss - Book 3 by Dawn Brower