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A Christmas Dance by Alissa Johnson

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Christmas Dance (novella)

Alissa Johnson
Historical Romance
Published in 2014 (originally 2009)

H/h - William Renwick, Earl of Casselbury/Patience Byerly
Setting: Regency.

Read in January, 2016.
My rating:

                                               [might be spoiler-ish]

A very short story of a "plain" spinster fallen on hard times, finding love with the handsome earl she's been dreaming away for sometimes... A been-there-done-that trope, though Alissa Johnson was able to make it even sweeter with her excellent writing and characterization. I bought this story because I wanted something short, also because I've been meaning to try her books for a long time. Needless to say, A Christmas Dance won't be my last.

Patience had a secret that she needed to hide from the Ton, when she's taking part in, what can be called her first season at the age of 26. Unusual, but her father had no money, or the inclination, to give her one. The Meldrins, close family friends, took them in after their financial downfall and gave Patience a home, taught her social graces, even an Europe tour! Now this "season" too, that she never thought she'd ever have even though it was alongside with their own daughter. Patience isn't hoping for a match since she won't win any beauty contest, neither does she have a dowry to speak of. But William... he makes her wish for things she can't say or hope of attaining. William, who has probably never looked at her twice...

William, the Earl of Casslebury, likes his lifestyle well-planned and orderly. Being in the military does that to people and William never had any cause to doubt himself on this regard. He also had already planned to wed and beget the necessary heir and a spare for an Earldom he never hoped of even inheriting, surpassing a couple of previous heirs. Now that the responsibility fell on him, he needed to find a wife. Catherine Meldrin was his first choice being a lovely young thing, however, when asking her for a dance, William couldn't help noticing something that would forever draw her to Catherine's companion, the spectacle-clad spinster, Miss Byerly. I won't tell you what but it was funny and brought the type of amusement William needed in his strict lifestyle. Something that lead to the total adoration of Patience.

This also changes the course of William's well-planned marital aspirations because he got to know Patience and the woman within, thanks to all the cakes in the world! :D However, as their sweet and amicable courtship begins, then takes an intimate turn, Patience finds herself in the dilemma of trying to hide her secret from William, not knowing the effect it would have on him once he learns of it, yet certain that it'd break her heart nonetheless...

As I said I liked the story a lot, though I wish we had more background on William. We do get a substantial amount on Patience's, so I missed that William's past was never mentioned. He was just an wealthy Earl coming to a surprise title. I would've loved to know more about his military career, so on and so forth.

I also would've appreciated if the blurb mentioned that this story was originally featured in the anthology A Christmas Ball, under the title "Traditions". I mistook it for a brand-new, standalone novella. But it was only .99c so I'm going to let it pass. If you're looking for something short and sweet, without any headache inducing melodrama, you're in for a treat with A Christmas Dance. 3.5 stars and recommended.


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