A Christmas Kiss by Elizabeth Mansfield
Published by Open Road Media Romance
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
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During the holiday season, a governess loses her heart to an earl with no intention of marrying again, in this Cinderella story set in Regency England.
After defending her virtue by striking the besotted son of her employer, Miss Evalyn Pennington is discharged from her position under a cloud of scandal. With no place to go and no prospects for the coming year, the impoverished governess accepts an invitation from Jamie Everard, heir to an earldom, to spend the holidays at his family’s estate. But Evalyn has barely settled in at Gyllford Manor when she catches the eye of Philip Everard, the fourth Earl of Gyllford—and Jamie’s father.
After his wife died, Philip vowed to never marry again, despite his sister’s best efforts to reintroduce him to London society. Then, his son brings a guest home for Christmas. Is the lovely, intelligent Evalyn the woman to make his footloose son settle down at last? But why does Jamie treat Evalyn in such a cavalier manner? And what is Philip to do about the reigning beauty of London who has set her cap for him—and is about to set in motion a scheme that will have far-reaching consequences for them all?
A witty and warm tale about morals, mores, marriage, and mistaken intentions, this classic Regency holiday romance introduces a woman who refuses to surrender her ideals, and a man in danger of losing the one thing he swore never again to give: his heart.
Evalyn Pennington is let go from her position of governess after she is accosted by her employer’s son. (Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either.) Two of the son’s friends, Jamie and Reggie, are in residence when this happens and feels bad that she got sacked without a reference because of their friends’ stupidity. They make a plan to take Evalyn to Jamie’s house for Christmas thinking that Jamie’s aunt will get to know her, like her, and then be willing to give her a letter of reference. He writes to his father and aunt and they agree to let her be their guest thinking that Jamie has finally found someone he’s fond of.
When Jamie gets to Gyllford Manor and talks to his father, Philip, he hems and haws about why Evalyn is there and by the end of the talk Philip is under the impression that after Christmas Jamie and Evalyn will be announcing their engagement. Philip and his sister are thrilled but then Philip gets to know Evalyn and realizes that he’s having feelings for her. He’s a widower and hasn’t had feelings for anyone since his wife died so it’s strange. Of course he feels immense guilt because she’s Jamie’s woman.
The story is a mish-mosh of misunderstandings, love growing between various couples and of course a plot to discredit someone. It was a bit confusing at times but all in good fun and it definitely made me laugh from time to time.
Evalyn was a sensible woman but still had a romantic heart. She, of course, had no clue that Philip was under the impression that she was going to marry Jamie so when it seems he has feelings for her and then pushes her away, she’s confused.
Then there’s Reggie, Jamie’s friend, who starts to fall for the daughter of another house guest but he thinks that Jamie has his eye on her and refuses to infringe.
Of course the aunt has a love interest as well and it all makes for a very interesting holiday for the family and their guests. I did find the story to be very light and airy, despite some of the misunderstandings. It was all in good fun and was well done.
Rating: 3 out of 5
(Originally released in 1990)