Title: A Twelfth Night Tale
Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.
Lucy knows that she owes it to her sisters to encourage Lord Bexley’s attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and Lord Bexley.
Andrew has returned from the Peninsula War with emotional scars to deal, not just a lame arm. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend “little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy when he can't help noticing that Lucy’s grown up into a lovely young woman. But with an eligible viscount courting Lucy, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.
Author: Susana Ellis
Published: 13 November, 2013
Genres: Historical Romace
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I’m addicted to these Christmas shorts, and having the elements of the outer counties mixing with more fashionable London is always a boon. Lucy and her best friend Jane are neighbors, and both of an age to marry. While Jane is affianced, Lucy is being courted by Lord Bexley, a man older than her mother. Although not finding him particularly lovely or horrid, Lucy is aware that her mother is relying on her marrying well, with little money and 4 younger sisters, there isn’t a way to present the girls with dowries for advantageous matches.
The one fly in the ointment is a childhood crush that Lucy has held for Jane’s brother Andrew: in fact she so fancied herself in love with him that she asked him to marry her when she was all of 5. Recently returned from the war with a damaged arm and a faithless ex-fiance, Andrew has been laying abed and drinking too much: railing at the unfairness of it all.
When a chance meeting places him in contact with Lucy once again, he sees her as she is, a young and beautiful woman of marriageable age, not a 5 year old hoyden stuck in a tree. Even more impressive is Lucy’s personality: kind and helpful, solidly logical and caring, she brings calmness to everyone she encounters. But, his esteem is low, and he doesn’t believe Lucy could possibly want him.
Lucy, however, is more certain of her love for Andrew, but believes that she is not what he wants. Their attraction is palpable, spiked with Andrew’s best efforts to make a hash of things, gentle nudges from his valet and sister, as well as some contrivances from her family put the two into contact repeatedly until they both realize the truth of the matter.
Another sweet regency that takes time to show the country side of life, with traditions and characters that bring the scenes alive while whiling away an afternoon.