The Christmas of a Countess by Linda Rae Sande

The Christmas of a Countess (The Holidays of the Aristocracy Book 1)The Christmas of a Countess by Linda Rae Sande

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Holidays of the Aristocracy #1
Publication Date: 10/24/17

What a delightfully funny, totally unlikely and improbable tale. It reminds me of those zany old romantic comedy movies from the 1940’s (like My Favorite Wife with Cary Grant & Irene Dunn) where you have a handsome, sophisticated man, a beautiful wife and lots of witty banter. If you are a regency purist, it will probably make you a bit insane. However, if you can suspend that and just enjoy a funny, romantic tale you’ll find yourself chuckling. While you don’t get explicit sexual descriptions you definitely have a libidinous bunch of characters – think rabbits – with varied and sundry locations.

Milton Grandby, Earl of Torrington, had loved his best friend’s sister since she was a child. He’d missed out on his chance to win her hand and she married another. He never married – just assumed he’d die still unmarried. At the beginning of each season he would choose a different widow to escort to all of the functions of the season – and at the end of the season, he’d buy her a parting gift and go on his way. Then, Adele is widowed and he has his chance with her.

Adele Slater Worthington knew Milton Grandby and she also knew his reputation, so when he approached her, she assumed that he wished for her to be his widow of the season. Imagine her surprise when he proposes shortly after that – and declares his love. She doesn’t believe him at first but, over time, he proves that he really does love her.

Our story begins when Milton decides that they need to spend the Christmas period at his country seat. While making the arrangements Milton learns that his valet, Alonyius Banks, has a brother who is near death. Alonyius isn’t interested in stopping at his home to see his brother even though it is right on the way. However, the coach with the Earl and the Countess manages to get through the weather to the country seat, but the coach with the servants, valet and ladies maid, is stranded.

We actually have two romances – one between the valet and ladies maid and then the continuing romance of Milton and Adele. There is much more to Alonyius than it would seem at first and you’ll learn all about it as you progress through the story.

One of the things I really like about the story is that all of the main characters are mature – in their late thirties and even into the mid-forties. The author assures you are aware that they are older because she keeps referring to their grey hair — especially the grey chest hair.

There are so many inaccuracies and improbabilities that it isn’t worth the time to go through all of them, but I’ll speak of a few.

  • There are the conversations – they might take place today, but they would definitely not have taken place during 1816. I’m speaking of almost every conversation in the book – between servants, between masters and servants, etc. They are witty and funny and I enjoyed them, but they are definitely inappropriate for that time.
  • There is the interaction between Milton and Alonyius as well as between Adele and Alice Simpkins. Their conversations are much too personal to be believable. For instance, at one point Milton says “Good God, Banks! She just needs a good lay.” And then goes on to suggest that Alonyius give her (Alice) a tumble. Then, there is the encouragement of a wedding, sharing of expensive gowns and jewelry, etc.
  • There is the choice of Alonyius’ profession. It just isn’t a believable choice given his background. I won’t explain more, but you’ll see why when you read the book
  • There are ‘old sayings’ sprinkled throughout the book – some were true to the time period and others were not – for instance ‘The whole nine yards’ wasn’t a saying until the 1900’s – but – ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’, was period accurate. I didn’t check them all, but it was an easy enough thing to do.
  • There is the lack of proper address. It is dismissed as a concern because Milton doesn’t like it. I don’t believe that would have been honored during that time period and it would have been so easy to just get it right.

This was a fun and enjoyable read – as long as you can put aside any issues with period correctness.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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