WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS – Victoria Alexander
England, December 1886
When Camille, Lady Lydingham was a girl growing up, she loved the fairy tales where the heroine ends up marrying the prince. Some day she hoped to become a princess herself. However, her mother raised her, her twin Beryl, and their younger sister Delilah to make good marriages. And that is what Camille did. She came to be fond of her elderly husband well before he died and left her his fortune. Four years later, as an independent woman, she finally has a chance to fulfill her early ambition. A handsome and charming prince has shown a decided interest in her…Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky from some European kingdom she can never remember the name of. He also has a great interest in English Christmas customs. Camille invites him to her mother's country house to celebrate the holiday. She hopes to have a proposal from him during the visit. The fact that her mother and Delilah are in Paris is no problem; she gives the servants a paid holiday and hires a troupe of actors to take all their places…including mother, sister, and uncle. Beryl reluctantly goes along with what she considers one more of her twin's wild starts.
Grayson Elliott grew up on a neighboring estate. He and Camille were great friends. However, when she was about to marry, he realized she was more than a friend. He kissed her and told her so the day before the wedding. Camille was stunned! The scene did not go well, and Gray left for America to make his fortune. Now, eleven years later, he returns home and becomes just the first of the many complications that threaten Camille's plans.
WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS—part farce and part romance—has a large, colorful cast of characters. From the impulsive Camille to the borrowed “orphans” all add humor and/or emotional tension. The plot might have been tighter without the frequent exposition of Camille's thoughts and feelings, but the chuckles are worth it all as the comedy continues. One can't help wondering what happens next in this complex, engaging tale.