REVIEW: The Christmas Stranger by Anna Campbell
At Christmastime, a stranger crossing the threshold means good fortune…
When Josiah Hale, society’s favorite aristocratic architect, stumbles upon an isolated manor house in the middle of a snowstorm, he feels like he’s entered a fairytale world. And Sleeping Beauty in this secret corner of Yorkshire is lovely, vulnerable Maggie Carr, surely a princess disguised as a humble housekeeper. Is Josiah her prince – or the man who will break her heart and leave her life in ruins?
But is the stranger’s arrival lucky for the girl Christmas forgot?
Maggie Carr has worked as a housekeeper at isolated Thorncroft Hall since her beloved mother died five years ago. No matter how often she tells herself she’s accustomed to being poor and alone, Christmas always stirs poignant memories of a time when she had a place in the world and a family to love. But this Christmas, a handsome stranger bursts into her solitary world and makes her feel like a desirable woman. Maggie has already lost so much to cruel fate. Now as the season advances and she finds herself in thrall to the man who challenges her loneliness and turns winter nights to sultry summer, what price will this irresistible passion demand of her?
Will the Yuletide enchantment vanish with the season’s decorations? Or have Maggie and her Christmas stranger discovered a magic to sustain them through a lifetime of happiness?
Dear Ms. Campbell,
I’ve never tried any of your stories before but this Regency novella looked fun and I enjoyed the excerpt. A bookish Oxford Don tries to help out his old flame by matchmaking her gruff son with a young distant relative who he’s paid to look after a property in the wilds of Yorkshire. Of course a HEA ensues but how would they get there?
Josh Hale is a rough-around-the-edges architect in Regency England who is tired of his mother trying to match him up with simpering misses. Maggie Carr is the destitute distant relation of the owner of a isolated Yorkshire estate who has acted as the housekeeper since her widowed mother died. She isn’t looking forward to a Christmas alone yet when a brute of a man suddenly arrives on the doorstep, she’s both alarmed and annoyed. Since Dr. Thomas Black forgot to send word of his arrival, Maggie has no idea who Josh is or why he’s there.
After getting off on the wrong foot – and being hauled over his shoulder down to the warm kitchen, Maggie reluctantly accepts that since he knows who owns the place and he hasn’t killed her, he must not be an ax murderer. A few days of détente and growing attraction later, they’re fated. She’s tired of being good since what has that got her while he’s trying to be noble and not despoil this woman he might be coming to care for. An attempt to leave through a snowstorm later and Maggie is using the old Romance “I want one night of love to remember when I’m old and gray” excuse to come knocking on his bedroom door. Of course multiple orgasms and bliss ensues but they’re not to their HEA quite yet.
Silly excuses follow to drag out the conflict for a few pages which is followed by the standard “happy, happy, joy, joy” epilogue full of family and children. The by-the-book end didn’t match the droll humor of the beginning. C+