Book Review: A Libertine’s Christmas Miracle by Emily Royal.
Last year I made a vow to widen my reading experience. I wanted to try new genres and new authors, and as such I was introduced to the wide and varied delights of Terry Pratchett (I know – how could I never have read any Pratchett?) Robert Harris and Barbara Cartland.
This year I’m moving forward with my reading education, and I’m taking a leap … no, perhaps a genteel spring … into the world of Regency romance. Which is huge, varied and not just Jane Austen. With the amazing popularity of Bridgerton on Netflix, isn’t everybody going a little bit Regency this year?
I chose a novella by Emily Royal “A libertine’s Christmas miracle” which is part of O Night Divine, a collection of novellas published by Dragonblade publishing. I’ll be honest that I chose it because Emily is a friend, and I therefore knew before I started that I was in for a dramatic plot, a dark hero and some scenes of an adult nature. I didn’t expect a cute puppy called Twinkle, but that’s another story …
Unlike Bridgerton, A Libertine’s Christmas Miracle is not set in the world of the “Ton”, but in a Cornish country house, at Christmas, in the snow. It’s a atmospheric setting for a Christmas romance, and I loved the little details that brought home the feeling of the period. The scents, the sounds, the feel of a country house at Christmas are beautifully evoked:
“The quiet, soft sounds of Pengannon – the longcase clock ticking in the hall, the crackling of the fire and the distant footsteps as the servants rushed to and fro, preparing warming pans.”
Although the story is told largely from the point of view of Alice, the spirited mistress of the house, my favourite character was Susan, her somewhat crotchety spinster visitor. Susan doesn’t hold back from saying what she thinks, and declares that she doesn’t need men to fight her battles. I’d love to have known how her story continued!
An atmospheric opening, reminiscent of Wuthering Heights or A Christmas Carol, a satisfying ending and plenty of mulled wine and a roast goose in between. What more could you ask of a Christmas novella?
I thoroughly enjoyed my foray into Regency romance, and it reminds me that I still have Georgette Heyer on my to-be-read list, and several other novellas in the collection yet to investigate!