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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

‘Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries

‘Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Historical, Holiday
Length: Full Length (354 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Dear Sir,

. . . I feel I should inform you that your mother is very ill. If you wish to see her before it is too late, you should come at once.


Mrs. Camilla Stuart

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has led an unabashed rogue’s life, letting no woman near his heart. Inexplicably abandoned as a child to be raised by distant relatives, he never forgave his parents, refusing to read any of his mother’s letters after his father’s death. Then came a letter that shook his resolve. A Christmas visit to Montcliff might prove his last chance to discover the truth of his past, and come to terms with the stranger he calls “Mother.”

But two surprises await him at Montcliff. His mother is perfectly healthy, nowhere near a deathbed, as her meddling lady’s companion led him to believe. The second is Camilla Stuart herself, a lively vicar’s widow, too bright and beautiful not to arouse the scoundrel in Pierce. Though she alone is reason enough to prolong his stay, he is soon faced with other tantalizing riddles: What secrets lie in his mother’s past to explain his childhood abandonment? Why is the captivating Mrs. Stuart so determined to mend the breach between mother and son? Meanwhile,

Camilla herself is caught up in love’s complications since the arrival of the irresistible earl. As his bold flirtation and suggestive whispers draw her dangerously close, can anything protect her vulnerable heart? If they are destined to share real happiness, there must be honesty between them—yet telling him the truth about her own life may shatter that chance.

None of them can predict the startling revelations to come. Or the secrets, both heartening and shocking, divulged between a mother and son, and between two lovers haunted by their respective pasts, that will make Christmas night at Montcliff one to remember—and the glorious night after, one to treasure for a lifetime.

This book starts off heartbreaking and sad. It’s the set up for what comes later. Why the hero is as he is, the thawing that takes place from the clues and revelations that slowly bombard him as he comes to the realization that his whole life is based on a mistruth; and how the diabolical hatred of one man can have a domino effect on so many people. It’s going to take a daring woman full of innocence, hot passions and a secret of her own to accomplish the impossible. This book is the story of Pierce and how he discovers the true meaning of love. It all starts when his life gets tossed upside down by a simple letter from a very proper lady named Mrs. Camilla Stuart. What follows is a story far from proper, thoroughly entertaining and a real treat for this romance book fan.

Twas the Night after Christmas is a character driven novel. I like how the author set up the atmosphere amongst the main players. I enjoyed the secondary characters that revolve around the hero and heroine. Some were there to propel the plot, to interject doubts and jealousy, or provided a charming and heartwarming element that helped to reach the hero on a level even he couldn’t have predicted.

I also thought the inclusion of the poem of St. Nick was cute. It actually plays a key role in the story and the author wielded it in a delightful manner that touched the sentimental marshmallow inside me.

To say this story comes with a few surprises is an understatement. Holiday stories usually include miracles because they seem to occur and be the most poignant during this time of year. Ms. Jeffries certainly provided some astonishing wide-eyed moments and one of them gave me goose bumps- in a good way.

Speaking of which, the character of Jasper was a stroke of genius. The author used him as a catalyst for reaching those cold spots inside of Pierce and it was quite effective. I will find it hard to believe that any reader could be unmoved by the scenes in which Jasper and Pierce are together. It was a terrific emotional touch and handled superbly by Ms. Jeffries.

The dialogue was well coordinated, the saucy bits between Pierce and Camilla were so very daring and absolutely fun, and the naughty version of the poem is hysterical, well as far as Pierce was allowed to quote it. I completely enjoyed the sense of humor that was sprinkled throughout the book because it made the hero and heroine seem reachable and real. I liked getting to know them.

‘Twas the Night after Christmas is a book worth reading not only during the holiday season but any time of the year when you need a tale that has the power to lift the blues and chase away the glums. It’s a wonderful people story and it revolves around a man and woman a reader can care about by virtue of the high quality of writing that Ms. Jeffries employs to bring her characters to life. It’s a romance I highly recommend reading to not only fans of this author but anyone who enjoys a novel that embraces and explores the healing power of love and the art of a good bargain.