Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Christmas Courtship - Sandra Heath

Beautiful Blanche Amberley knew whom she loved. The lucky gentleman was Antony Mortimer, a banker's son who offered her not only his heart and hand, but also a life of wealth and ease.

Miss Amberley also knew whom she thoroughly disliked. That object of her instant aversion was Sir Edmund Brandon. Blanche was quite immune to the good looks and gallantry that made this arrogant blueblood the most eligible lord in the realm.

But then, as Christmas approached, Cupid gave Miss Blanche Amberley a gift that came as a most shocking surprise....

A really nice story with sensible characters that reads almost more as a mystery with strong romantic elements than a true romance but it perfectly suited my tastes.

I did find the back blurb a bit misleading. Although Miss Amberley doesn’t particularly like Sir Edmund Brandon (the why is never fully explained), all their meetings are perfectly civil. In the beginning she is love with Antony Mortimer yes and disposed to convince her father to agree to a match between them when everyone warns her that the match won’t be a good one. We are introduced early also to Sir Edmund’s betrothed who reveals herself as a very nasty woman and surely not a potential good wife.

But what moves the plot forward is the fact that Blanche Amberley’s brother will be wrongfully accused of a theft and Blanche tries to discover how to clear her brother’s name. Mortimer starts to reveal his true colours when he demands that Blanche repudiates her brother and their relationship ends. At the same time Sir Edmund keeps showing his respect and appreciation for Blanche and her father and she can’t help but start to develop some feelings for him.

It’s soon apparent that Jonathan Amberley is being set up by none other than a fellow officer and that all is not what it seems and Sir Edmund will play a part in solving her brother’s situation.

Although I enjoyed it very much there were two details that that could have made it a better book – Blanche and Sir Edmund don’t spend all that much time together and I think that could have made their connection stronger and the ending just wraps up too quickly. I wanted more time with them assuming their feelings and speaking of their past and future.

Grade: 4/5

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