(A Happy Christmas, #1)
Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)
A mysterious key to an attic that cannot be found…
A ghost with good but overly ambitious intentions…
And a forgotten wager that is about to turn Miss Barrington’s life into a holiday mess.
Are you ready for the outrageously funny and Happy Christmas Series?
WARNING: THERE IS A LOT OF MAGIC AND ROMANCE IN THIS BOX.
London, England – Winter of 1860
When all the ladies of London realize that handsome and refined gentleman, the Duke of Ainsley, is formally looking for a wife, only weeks before Christmas, a mad dash to claim him begins. Miss Barrington knows her chances with the duke are incredibly good given what her close gypsy friend had once foretold, but a forgotten wager with her greatest nemesis, American millionaire, Mr. Redstone, is about to bring on complications and…chaos.
Will she claim the dashing and respectable duke once foretold by the stars? Or will she fall for Mr. Redstone and go against destiny? Only the days leading up to Christmas will tell!
THE CHRISTMAS WAGER has everything I love about Delilah Marvelle’s books…emotive and evocative writing, an innovative story, richly drawn characters, sparkling dialogue, a sensual love story and delightful humour plus that extra touch of Christmas magic.
I adored Maxwell and his sheer zest for life. After a near fatal accident at the age of twelve (he still carries the bullet), his parents expect him to become overly cautious, but Maxwell is even more determined to live life to the full. He indulges in all sorts of mad-cap adventures and pranks which find him constantly in trouble with the law but he doesn’t care because…
He was alive and worth three and a half million! Life was good.
The only thing missing is a woman to share his life with…one who isn’t after his money and doesn’t think he’s a lunatic.
I loved Felicity too. After being abandoned by her mother, she spent the first 16 years of her life in a foundling home…years that have made her tough.
She had made such a reputation for herself the boys always scattered the moment they saw her coming.
Her life changes drastically when she is given a home by the wealthy uncle she never knew existed and the events her gypsy friend, Marigold, foretold begin to unfold.
It is obvious from the moment they meet that Maxwell and Felicity are destined for each other. How they reach that destination when Marigold, Felicity’s gypsy friend, foretells that she will marry a duke or there will be dire consequences, is what makes this book so enjoyable.
In fact, there is never a dull moment and I loved:
– the memorable first meeting between Maxwell and Felicity with its great dialogue:
“I may be a foundling , but I’m repectable. So don’t expect us to do things in said attic.”
His mouth twisted wryly. “At your age, dearest, you wouldn’t know how. So pull your claws in, will you? If you don’t touch my buttons, I won’t touch your hooks. “
– Felicity’s drunken verbal attack on that jezebel, Mrs Mastin
– All the crazy things Maxwell does to win Felicity’s approval (I love a hero in hot pursuit of the heroine and Maxwell is nothing if not determined)
– the hair-raising sleigh ride
to mention just a few.
I don’t usually like paranormal elements in historical romances but, in this story, they work perfectly with the Christmas theme. There are plenty of twists and turns, some surprises and poignant moments, like the scene between Felicity and her mother’s ghost which reminded me of the movie “Ghost”.
There is a teaser for Marigold’s book which appears to be next, and I’m hoping that the Duke of Ainsley and Felicity’s Uncle Cedric will get there Happy Ever Afters as well. Perhaps there could even be a Christmas miracle for the self-serving Baroness Arlington.
This is the first book in Ms Marvelle’s A Happy Christmas series and, according to the Foreword, there are a further nine to come. So I’m sure of one delightful present to open each year!
MY VERDICT: An enchanting and entertaining story full of romance and the magic of Christmas. A veritable holiday treat.
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: WARM
Read December 2015
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.**