A Belated Christmas Pleasure

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm a little behind on my holiday reading so I just finished up Cathy Maxwell's His Christmas Pleasure.

For those who follow Maxwell's books, this is Andres' story. You might remember him as Gillian's rejected suitor in The Earl Claims His Wife.

When her father threatens to marry Abigail Montross off to a twice-widowed man with with thirteen children, she decides to elope instead  - with the seductive but penniless Baron de Vasconia. They strike a deal, he marries her for her money while she escapes the old guy and his baker's dozen.

In Abigail, Maxwell has created an outspoken, down-to-earth heroine readers can identify with - especially after the man she loves rejects her in favor of a more advantageous match with her cousin. And beneath that confident and beguiling exterior, we discover the real Andres - a man fighting to overcome insecurities stemming from his illegitimacy and a somewhat shady past.    

The set up - from the couple's initial encounter to their growing attraction and decision to marry - is engaging and nicely paced. However, once the couple arrives at their dilapidated marital home, it feels like someone pushes the fast-forward button.

The couple, now unexpectedly penniless, must build their relationship while enduring hardship as they create their life together. I expected some meatier scenes as all of this played out. Instead, it passes in a quick blur.

Still, His Christmas Pleasure remains a worthwhile read. Maxwell has an accessible, comfortable writing style and her books make me feel as if I'm settling in with an old friend who can always be counted on.

I just wanted more of a good thing. And His Christmas Pleasure is a good thing.


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