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REVIEW: Christmas Angel for the Billionaire by Liz Fielding

Dear Ms. Fielding:

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I’m not sure if you were inspired by Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck but there are a lot of similarities. Audrey plays a princess who, struggling under the strictures of her position, decides to flee. Princess Ann falls asleep on a park bench and is rescued by Joe Bradley, a reporter. He takes her back to his apartment. Over the course of a day or so, Ann and Joe fall in love, but they can’t be together because of Ann’s duty to her people. Cue bittersweet ending. (I always thought that Ann shipped Joe in for regular loving because what’s the point of being a princess if you can’t bone your lover from time to time?)

Roseanne Napier is the daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of St Ives who died during a humanitarian effort when Rose was 6. Lady Rose, or Annie to her intimates, grew up to be the people’s princess. Unfortunately all that Annie does is smile, shake hands, smile, kiss babies, smile, go to parties. Her only skill is looking good and being polite. Every part of her life is rigidly controlled and now it seems time for her to get married and have children. Her grandfather has the perfect candidate picked out, one Rupert Devenish, Viscount Earley. The crushing weight of the public expectation is making her crazy.

After one event, Annie runs into her double. There is a professional lookalike that Annie’s handlers have hired for security purposes but Annie asks her what she charges, just in case Annie would like to have “a day off.” Lydia, the lookalike, gives Annie a card and tells her to call anytime. Annie tells her grandfather that she just wants a week to think about her future, but in reality, Annie just wants a vacation from everything. She gets in a car and drives until her car breaks down in Maybridge.

Stranded, Annie is ultimately rescued by George Saxon and his truculent daughter, Xandra. George has been an absentee father, at first because he was working hard to provide for his young wife and child; and later, as his wife and he parted, Xandra, turned to other men for guidance including George’s father. In the end, George drifted away from Xandra completely providing financial support and occasional visits. Xandra was essentially raised by George’s parents but what she desperately wants is her father and she engages in classic teenage behavior to get his attention.

George has been at odds with his father since his high school years when it became apparent that George had no intention of carrying on his father’s mechanic / car repair business. Xandra is, however, and it is just one more source of conflict between the two. George resents his father’s easy relationship with Xandra and is filled remorse for his failed relationship with Xandra. He doesn’t know how to reconnect.

George knows right away that Annie is lying about who she is and why she is in Maybridge and initially can’t wait to usher her out of the door but in the end forces conspire to place Annie in George’s home. Through Annie’s help, George comes to realize that there is a relationship that can be repaired with his daughter, even if it will take time and commitment on his part.

Annie has to come to grips with what she feels like she owes her grandfather and the public. She’s been the people’s princess, always striving to please everyone as if good deeds will fill the hole left in her heart by her parents’ death. She’s unprepared to really let go. The week’s vacation is just that, a temporary respite from her duties. But in order for her to be with George and live the life that she has always longed for, she has to let go.

I felt like Annie’s path to emotional fulfillment was easier than George and I was disappointed at how quickly it seemed that Xandra and George would patch things up given the long history of dereliction. I wondered that Xandra wouldn’t have been resentful of the attention that George was paying Annie or if I was supposed to believe that Xandra saw Annie as a way to secure George’s presence in Xandra’s life.

I did love   the Roman Holiday feel to the book and I thought Annie and George’s characters were sweet and honest. As a holiday themed book that riffs off one of my favorite movies, I can’t help but be fond of it despite its flaws. B-

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased at eHarlequin.com or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

11 Comments

  1. Carolyn
    Nov 05, 2009 @ 18:10:46

    I haven’t read this book, but as I read the review I was reminded, not of Roman Holiday, but Nora Robert’s Cordina’s Crown Jewel. Both involve runaway princesses who find true love with someone without a title and learn more about themselves in the process.

    I’ll be sure to check this one out.

    ReplyReply

  2. Dude
    Nov 05, 2009 @ 19:27:36

    ATTENION: ALL SERIOUS ROMANCE WRITERS AND READERS.

    I just saw this “If literature can’t manage to drag a reader away from trashy romance novels, that’s certainly not the reader’s fault. It’s literature’s fault.” This is a direct quote and I saw it here: http://www.therejectionist.com/

    And I’m posting it here and spreading it around because I think it’s time romance lovers showed these types what we’re all about. One romance writer already left a comment about the Princeton Symposium, setting this guy straight. Be nice if a few more did, too.

    The blog post also mentioned a decline in book reviewers.

    Sorry for hijacking this way, but I thought romance readers and writers might be interested. But I did read your the review and I liked it…

    ReplyReply

  3. Carolyn
    Nov 05, 2009 @ 20:41:28

    They seem to be more interested in Batman vs Wolverine …

    ReplyReply

  4. Nell Dixon
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 08:29:16

    I really enjoyed this story and like all of Liz’s books I wished it were longer.

    ReplyReply

  5. Liz Fielding
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 10:21:05

    Thanks so much for reviewing my book, Jane. Oddly it wasn’t inspired by Roman Holiday — that was an earlier book, The Ordinary Princess — but I can see how you might think that.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyReply

  6. Sunita
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 11:24:23

    Thanks for reviewing this, Jane! Even a less highly rated Fielding book is well worth reading. She’s at the top of my autobuy HMB list.

    I also think that Fielding does aristocratic/rich/famous heroes and heroines particularly well; they conform to the HMB requirements but they have a lot of depth and richness of characterization.

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  7. Jane
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 11:29:25

    @Sunita: Maybe it was you who first recommended these books to me? I just can’t recall. I do enjoy her. I think my favorite series is of the family … god, I can’t even remember the names of the stories now. Sometimes I get them mixed up with the Napier Marlowe family.

    @Liz Fielding: I’ll have to pick up The Ordinary Princess. I did see some initial similarities (and convinced myself it had to be related when her name was “Annie”).

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  8. Jane
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 11:29:55

    @Carolyn: I’ve never read that Nora Roberts. I haven’t had a ton of luck with Roberts’ categories so I haven’t made any real effort to seek them out.

    ReplyReply

  9. Sunita
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 12:45:16

    @Jane: Yeah, that was me. I think I recommended Reunited: Marriage in a Million (still one of my favorite HMBs EVER) and The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella.

    Another rec: I’m really liking Kelly Hunter’s M&B Moderns. They are published here as HPs, so you may already have read them. I just reread Bedded for Diamonds, which is the second in a series, and liked it as much as the first time. The first was pretty good but fell apart for me in the later stages, plotwise. I’m still keeping the third of the series in reserve. I think Lynne Connolly reviewed Hunter’s latest at Sybil’s place and liked it a lot.

    ReplyReply

  10. Jane
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 13:57:55

    @Sunita I’m all over it. Kelly Hunter. Done.

    ReplyReply

  11. Liz Fielding
    Nov 08, 2009 @ 01:33:52

    Was the heroine in Roman Holiday Annie, too? It’s so long since I saw it I can’t remember. What a weird coincidence.

    ReplyReply

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