Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas—an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which leaves the lovely widow with a slight problem. The last thing Camille wants is for the prince to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille intends to pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions. At least until Grayson Elliott shows up. A dozen years ago, he declared his love on the day before her marriage to another man, then vanished from her life. Now he’s back, gate-crashing Camille’ s already chaotic house party, playing havoc with her scheme—and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable. And he’ll find a way to show her they belong together—for this season and every Christmas yet to come…
It's been quite some time since I've read a Victoria Alexander book and I must admit I picked this one up because I thought it had a lovely cover. Shallow, I know but it seemed like a light and potentially fun read and I just couldn't resist it.
I usually enjoy books that include Christmas and house parties and when I realised that this story would be set during a huge house party where everything is supposed to be perfect because the participants are actors paid to perform I thought this would be a good one. Unfortunately for Lady Lydingham things don't happen as she planned them. She wants to impress her prince (and make him propose) but most of the actors lack the necessary experience, an old love comes to call and eventually more characters are added to the mix.
To be honest I will say that funnies are not my favourite type of romance. Humour is a particular thing and what is fun for some may not be for others. In this case I didn't find the problems with the actors very amusing and to be honest I think there were too many characters coming and going. I could see from the very beginning that there was more to that prince than meets the eye and I didn't see the point of creating a problem between Camille and her younger sister or adding her dead father to the mix.
This was clearly a case of a second chance at love and I think I would have enjoyed it better if we had been more focused on Camille and Grayson than having them interacting with all the other characters. I felt that there were too many characters, too many story lines and in the end the main couple didn't have enough time to explore what had happened and court each other again. It was a light read yes but it failed to keep me engaged and it took me longer than usual to finish it.
This counts for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge