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I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
Elinor Conley is in the unenviable position of being the second of five impoverished sisters in a town with no unmarried men...desireable or not. So when a handsome, unmarried earl happens to stop in her brother's blacksmith shop when his horse throws a shoe, Elinor hatches a mad plot to take matters into her own hands. Feigning a desire to attend the deathbed of an aunt she had never been particularly close with before, but who happens to live within a few miles of the earl in question, Elinor dashes off to the country. But as she approaches the estate of Grantham Wendell, Earl Chelford, she engineers an accident that lands her entire carriage in his kitchen. But Grantham is in the middle of hosting his annual Christmas baccanalia--a notoriously inappropriate fortnight-long orgy of debauchery, and all are trapped in by a snowstorm. As Elinor naively hoped, Grantham is taken with her at first sight. But how will Grantham keep an innocent from discovering his predilection towards debauchery with his baccanalia going on in her midst? How will she emerge from spending the night under his roof unchaperoned with a group of notorious degenerates with her reputation intact? As for Elinor, once she realizes the gravity of the accident and how much more serious the harm could have been, she knows her role cannot remains hidden forever. Will Grantham still think her the innocent and love her the same once he knows her secret? Will she be able to convince him that she loves him and is not just another fortune hunter?
This is a fun and light novella that is a delightful departure from typical holiday-themed stories out there. The limited length makes the progression of the love story a bit too rapid--Grantham and Elinor fall in love so quickly, it requires a great deal of the Christmas spirit to indulge in the belief that their love-at-first-sight story is even possible. But the baccanalia guests and their bawdy humor are a great foil for Elinor's naïveté and innocence and are the perfect backdrop against which the author can showcase the differences between her and the usual women of Grantham's set, making it easier to see why he falls for her so quickly. The performance given for the audiobook version of the novella was excellent. Marian Hussey excels at giving each speaker a unique voice that matches the personality ascribed in the novella, no h directly and by more subtle means such as though what they say and do to others. This novella is an excellent way for Regency romance lovers to indulge their love of the holiday season without sacrificing the quality of of the work. I'm looking forward to more of The Naughty Girl series.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The narrator, Marian Hussey, has a lively, compelling interpretation of the voices of the characters and you can hear the wit and liveliness in her voice as the banter takes place. She definitely made a less than stellar story worth listening to.
I did enjoy the story, but if you are looking for historical accuracy to the time period, you will be grossly disappointed. You just have to suspend your beliefs to make the story work for you. The heroine is the daughter and sister of the village blacksmith and yet she’s going to end up with an Earl. I’m sorry, but to me, that just isn’t believable. Had she been the impoverished daughter of some local gentry or something I MIGHT be able to buy it – but the blacksmith’s sister and the Earl just doesn’t do it for me. They also do not adhere to the correct forms of address in this book. So, while I liked the story, it was not believable for the time period – 1814.
I did like Elinor Conley who has the far-fetched dream of becoming a lady. She is so totally naive that it is unbelievable. As she looks out the window of their small home, she sees a flaxen-haired gentleman getting his horse shod at her brother’s smithy. He’s quite an eye full and she just has to find out more about him. As she reads about him in the gossip columns, she devises a plan to meet him – and when she does, he’ll fall instantly in love with her and they’ll marry.
Grantham Wendell, Earl of Chilford, doesn’t deal well with Christmas. He lost his much-loved younger sister at Christmas time five years ago. Now, he’s all alone in the world – no family at all – not even distant cousins. So, to fill the hours and try to forget each Christmas, he has what is basically a month-long orgy at his home in Yorkshire. He fills it with debauched, rakish male friends and light-skirts. However, he’s becoming tired of the whole thing. So, when an ancient, rickety coach plows into his kitchen, ruining the hearth, he is surprised to find that there was a lone woman in the coach. She is injured and the servants have placed her in the servant’s quarters in order to protect her from the debauchery going on in the house. Again, suspend your beliefs. Why would they think she was anything but a servant? She was I a cheap threadbare gown – definitely NOT the gown of a lady, but she was dismayed when she thought they had mistaken her for a servant.
The dialogue was witty and the characters were lively and interesting, but the plot just left a lot to be desired. The ‘love at first sight’ just fell flat for me – I didn’t feel the passion. Then, it just ended too abruptly.
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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 publisher.”