Oh! This was a warm, uplifting, romantic, and wonderful read. The writing is excellent, the story is well-told, and the characters are warm and loving. I absolutely adored the four children in the tale, and I think you will as well.
Sometimes, what someone might view as their unselfish act of love is really a selfish act born from their own despair and insecurity. When you, alone, make a decision that affects both of you, that is selfish because that takes away the other person’s choice. That is what we have in this story. Michael Stanton, Duke of Wakefield, and Lady Clara Marshall have known and loved each other all of their lives. Their lives were the stuff of fairy tales and they reveled in every minute of it. At least they did until two years ago when there was a horrendous phaeton accident that gravely injured Clara and took the life of the friend who was driving.
Left grossly scarred and unable to ever walk again, Clara breaks off her betrothal to Michael and becomes a recluse. She allows herself to wallow in self-pity, feel sorry for herself, and become totally dependent on others taking care of her. She never gave Michael a chance to agree or disagree with the breakup. No, she just decided it was in his self-interest and sent him a letter canceling their betrothal.
Clara hasn’t set eyes on Michael since the accident. She’s still desperately in love with him, but she knows he needs to marry someone who can give him the full life and family he deserves. As she and her brother Anthony are traveling north to Scotland for the Christmas holidays, a terrible snowstorm begins, temperatures drop, and the bridge they need to cross is damaged. Since they cannot stay in the carriage and all of the inns are full, Anthony decides to take Clara to Northbourne Park – Michael’s estate. Clara fights the decision but finally has no other choice.
Then, a wonderous Christmas miracle begins when Clara has to stay at Northbourne Park while Anthony continues north. You’ll totally fall in love with Michael as you see him unabashedly manipulate Clara into coming out into the world again. It is little by little, but she leaves her room more often and finds she can enjoy things again. Michael loves Clara as much as he ever has and he’ll do whatever he can to help her – even if it means she’ll decide to leave him again.
When you add Michael’s four precocious nieces and nephews into the mix along with Michael’s abiding love, you come up with a totally epic Christmas story. Your heart will swell as you see Clara grow and learn that her life can still be full and meaningful even if she can no longer walk.
If you are looking for a wonderful, heart-warming, romantic Christmas story, then this is just the book for you. I hope you will read it and love it as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.