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26 December 2013

Short Story Review: The Scandal Before Christmas

Author: Elizabeth Essex
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Forever
Genre: St. Martins Paperbacks
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas, and he can't afford to be choosy. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea - all within a matter of days.

Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, and nothing and no one to recommend her but her own self. She accepts the lieutenant’s hasty offer only for the comfort and security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm snows her and Ian in, they both find they got much more than they bargained for - daughter, light, and a Christmas filled with honest to goodness true love.

The holidays are upon, which means it's time for me to read a few holiday novellas. Historicals are my favorite when it comes to short stories and The Scandal Before Christmas looked to have all of the elements of a fun, holiday read.

Lt. Ian Worth is the second son of an overbearing father. Until now, he's been mostly left alone and is away at sea most of the time as an officer of the Royal Navy. However, when Ian's older brother suffers what could be a fatal accident, his father demands that he marry immediately and sire a child. To try and get his father off his back, Ian tells him that he's already married. Needing to find a wife quickly, Ian arranges to meet the spinster daughter of one of his naval friends. At first Ian thinks Anne is too plain and without spirit, but soon learns that underneath her plain exterior lies a passionate young woman that may just be his match.

As novellas go, The Scandal Before Christmas had more depth than most. Like most novellas, it did feel like there wasn't quite enough time to get a really well rounded story.  The pacing of story was uneven and I felt like the ending was very rushed. I was also expecting a much more dramatic ending and the quick resolution and wrap-up left me feeling a little bit underwhelmed. However, I enjoyed watching Ian and Anne getting to know each other and like their frank conversations.  Of the two, I was more drawn to Ian, who is charming and has a good heart. I liked Anne well enough though her ugly duckling status was a little overplayed. The two had a good rapport though and I enjoyed their unconventional courtship.

With a good balance of romance and drama, The Scandal Before Christmas delivers a romantic read that's great for the holidays. If you like ugly ducking tales, you may enjoy this one. This novella is part of a series but I haven't read any of the previous books and had no trouble following along. It's also piqued my interest in this series and I plan to read the first book in the Reckless Brides series soon.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at www.elizabethessex.com, Facebook and follow her on Twitter @EssexRomance

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