Anthea Bryars is out for a walk near her Yardley Hall home when she notices a form laying in the snow in the woods. As she approaches, she sees that it’s a man and he’s unconscious and in desperate need of help. She arouses him and manages to get him back to the house despite his obvious head wound. She and her three half sisters, along with her former governess, work to nurse him back to health. The next day, he seems to have lost his memory. Unbeknownst to them, this stranger is Christopher Trant, Lord Denton, the man who has inherited Yardley Hall and has ordered them evicted. And, Christopher very much has his memory but had no idea this family relationship existed or were the “tenants” his solicitor referenced as the occupants. He just wants some time to change their opinion of “Wicked Cousin Christopher” and is quite taken with the appealing Anthea.
the heart of the story…
This had so many of the elements I treasure in a holiday tale…a snowy background, a close-knit family and a lovely romance. At first I didn’t quite understand Christopher’s need for anonymity after he realized the error that was made and was ready to remedy the situation. But once his title would be revealed, they’d treat him differently. As an untitled stranger, the girls and Anthea related to him without filter or deference, allowing him to create relationships with all of them more naturally. Anthea was an interesting young woman who took on the responsibility of raising her three young half sisters following the death of her stepfather (Christopher’s uncle), their mother having died years before. Her attraction to Christopher was something she didn’t even try to mask as he reciprocated the same. The children were delightful and quickly bonded with Christopher but his subterfuge was always in the background. I knew the day of reckoning wouldn’t be easy.
the bottom line…
Even though I knew the day would come when Christopher would have to reveal the truth of his identity, I loved how he related to his young cousins in the meantime and his pursuit of Anthea. Their attraction was strong but they were also well suited for each other. And speaking of the cousins, they all had unique personalities and brought lots of comic relief, especially little Edwina who seemed to have a vicious streak when it came to “Wicked Cousin Christopher.” I loved everything about the story as the focus was strongly on family and authentic relationships despite Christopher’s deceitful behavior. It was just what I’d hoped for the holidays.
- Release Date: November 22, 2022
- Series: A Scandal in Mayfair #4
- Page Numbers: 179
- Publisher: Self
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(Thanks to the author for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)