I am absolutely in love with this cover. The more I saw this book, the more I wanted to read it—even if it was just a novella. I was thrilled that I was able to get it in over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend so that I could start getting in the mood for more holiday reading.
This book was super shot (just over 100 pages) and I could easily have read it in one sitting, though it did take me two sittings, but only because I started it late at night. This was a quick, fun read full of Christmas cheer and love.
A Dutiful Daughter
Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run of the mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things. After all, even a dutiful daughter has her limits.
A Taciturn Tradesman
Ned has come a long way since his days working as a draper’s assistant. He’s wealthy, ambitious, and eager to take a wife. But the courtship advice issued in The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquetteisn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Though he’s followed it to the letter, Miss Appersett still doesn’t wish to see him again. Frustrated and hurt, he’s more than happy to oblige her.
A Christmas Courtship
Severing ties with her former beau isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to the annual Christmas party at Appersett House and give him one more chance to win her? But this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are (summary from Goodreads).
I haven’t read anything by this author before, and honestly I’ve seen a couple of her books and even featured one on my blog, but I wasn’t entirely sure that I would find anything that sets her apart from other historical fiction/romance writers. I love when I get to be proven wrong.
This book had a believable, sweet romance that made me believe in true love. Was it cliche? Yes. Was it cheesy? No. I loved Sophie’s independence and maturity, and found that Ned was tender and mysterious but we find out what he’s about rather quickly. I loved watching their romance come alive in this book and the only regret that I had was that this book wasn’t longer. I would have loved to see how their relationship grew if the author had more time to build the tension.
With novellas, sometimes I feel like they tend to run a little flat because of the length. However with this book, I felt the opposite. I thought Matthews did a superb job writing a believable romance with well drawn characters and tension in only a few pages! I loved how the story started and the ending was so fitting. The actions of the characters tied up loose ends and put a pretty bow on the romance.
This was such a pleasure to read and I am excited to read more by this author. While the troupe might be cliche, the characters and the story were so well executed especially considering the constraints of the length, that I was excited to see what this author can do in a full length novel! Sign me up for more of her books!
And one final note…..that cover gives me all the heart eyes!
Book: A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own. This book was read as part of the HFVBT book tour.
- Recommendation: 5 out of 5
- Genre: romance, holiday romance, victorian lit, gaslight lit, historical fiction
- Memorable lines/quotes