Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander

What Happens At Christmas
by Victoria Alexander
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: October 16, 2012
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository


A blazing fire, an English country house … and the ultimate game of charades. In this charming holiday novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander, a beautiful widow finds her plan for a Christmas proposal going perfectly awry …Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas—an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which leaves the lovely widow with a slight problem. The last thing Camille wants is for the prince to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille intends to pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions. At least until Grayson Elliot shows up. A dozen years ago, he declared his love on the day before her marriage to another man, then vanished from her life. Now he’s back, gate-crashing Camille’s already chaotic house party, playing absolute havoc with her scheme—and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was quite bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable. And he’ll find a way to show her they belong together—for this season, and every Christmas yet to come …
I love holiday themed books, and this is the first I have read by Victoria Alexander, but I can assure you it will not be my last. What Happens At Christmas was a deliciously, hysterical, heart-warming tale that quickly put me in the holiday mood. I adored the characters the author brought to life in 1886 London and would love to meet them all again.

We first meet Camille, Lady Lydingham and her twin sister Beryl, Lady Dunwell in the Ladies Tearoom at Fenwick and Sons, Bookseller. While they were not drinking coffee my beverage of choice I was so delighted that woman even then knew the coolest place to hang out was in a bookstore that serves hot beverages! Camille is a wealthy widow who is scheming to have a prince from an obscure country propose to her. Both she and her sister married the first time for financial security and this time she wants to marry for adventure. She is plotting to create the perfect Dickens’s Christmas to host the prince at their country home.  Beryl sees this as yet another one of Camille’s clever plots that always seem to go awry; but none the less she finds herself assisting. In their discussion Beryl confesses that she and her husband are smitten with each other and that maybe this time Camille should marry for love. The events that take place between December 21 and Christmas day had me laughing and turning the pages as one complication after another arouse. The biggest complication of all occurs when a man whom she once loved shows up on her doorstep after eleven years..

I adored Camille; she really does not know what she wants and has to figure everything out the hard way. She is oh so clever and the trouble this girl creates was brilliant. Long ago her heart was broken and she has never truly forgiven the man. Beryl is snarky and I loved her remarks and fierce loyalty to her sister. Gray, an orphan raised by his uncle as the second son, took off to the Americas after the woman he loved rejected him. He has made his way and is quite successful but has never forgotten the woman who broke his heart. I loved the interaction between Camille and Gray and at times wanted to shoot them both. While the prince was also vying for Camille’s hand he became a secondary character. The cast of characters who appear at Camille’s country estate were all unique and I enjoyed their mannerisms and the complications they added. Alexander takes the time to add depth to even the secondary characters and I so appreciate that about her.

What Happens at Christmas had a very clever plot and the twists the author added at every turn had me completely enthralled.  It was so much fun to see what event would occur next, and I quickly connected with the characters right down to the butler. I have always loved feisty, strong heroines who seem to get themselves in a pickle and Camille was remarkable. There was not as much sexual tension as I would have liked, and we are only treated to a mildly steamy scene. I loved the romance and the race to get my happily-ever-after.

If you love historical romance and holiday themed novels with feisty heroines and lovable heroes then What Happened At Christmas is definitely for you. Victoria Alexander has been added to my must read holiday books authors list.

I want to thank Kensington for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

Four hot cups of cocoa out of five topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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29 Comments:

At July 17, 2013 at 10:01 PM , Anonymous Debbie Haupt said...

Kimba, I'm just now reading this too. It's a hoot.
Great review

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM , Anonymous Aurian said...

Lovely review, thank you. That blurb has me putting it on my wishlist immediately, as it sounds like a fun read. It has been years since I read one of Victoria's books, but I still buy them and will read them someday.

 
At July 17, 2013 at 10:35 PM , Anonymous Jenea Whittington said...

I love the cover on this, it is beautiful. This sounds really good too. I like the MC to have some spunk to her. Great review.

Jenea @ Books Live Forever

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:32 AM , Anonymous Michelle@ Book Briefs said...

Haha! as soon as this post showed up in my email, I read the summary and said, "I love holiday themed books" and then the first sentence of your review was just that :) I love that you say this has a clever plot. I won't be able to read it before the holidays but maybe when I am in a mid year christmas slump.


Thanks for the great review. Hope all is well

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:55 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

O.o this was really good, and I learned later that she is favorited for her Christmas tales. I love Kensington books!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:56 AM , Anonymous A Voracious Reader said...

Kensington is awesome! I'm glad you're enjoying them and that I pointed you in their direction. :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:56 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

She really knows how to write a delightful holiday novel!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:56 AM , Anonymous Turning the Pages said...

I have been trying to get my hands on this book for ages! It sounds soooooo good! Great review Kimberly :D

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:56 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

It was delightful and thank you!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

O.o I am so gonna make sure that you do!!!!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Christy (Love of Books) said...

You know what... next year I'm going to read at least 2 holiday themed books. Just remind me. lol

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks this was such a delight to read.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Barb says the same thing! This was fun and I hope you enjoy it.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Nick said...

The main character sounds like so much fun. I like that she's troublesome. The hero too seems very loveable! I need to stop coming on your blog these days. My to-read list seems to increase on a daily basis! -_-

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

Me too Dee, hope you get to read it!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Dee said...

I love reading Christmas books and this one sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

O.o i hope you get a chance too!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Heidi..i hope you get to read it too see why.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Heidi said...

Hey characters that drink hot beverages in a book store are okay in my book. I am glad the characters were all good including the butler.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

You are welcome, this is my second book by her that I featured on blog and I enjoy her books.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Jenny @ Supernatural Snark said...

I haven't read anything by Victoria Alexander either, but I'm in the mood for a great historical romance. Plus, HUGE bonus that the heroine is feisty, I always gravitate toward those types of women! Thanks for the holiday recommendation:)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

I have another book of hers for February ..i like her style.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf said...

This is the first that I'm hearing of this author...love feisty heroines though...so I'll have to keep her in mind!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous A Voracious Reader said...

When this came up at Kensington a few months ago I gave it a pass. Then again and again in each month's email. The blurb just didn't do it for me though I've enjoyed other books by Alexander. I may need to give it a whirl though after reading your review. :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

This was spectacular and I hope you get a chance to read it.

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Julie ..it has been so much fun reading and writing them :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Julie H. said...

Your reviews really have gotten me in the Christmas spirit :)

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous kimbacaffeinate said...

thanks Blodeuedd...this was a really excellent read!

 
At July 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM , Anonymous Blodeuedd said...

It sounds fun :D Though I think she should go with the prince..the prince! But then I do not know him, lol

 

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