Thursday, December 20, 2012


HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE   by Vanessa Kelly

Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages

Published October 1st 2012 by Zebra 
Genre: historical romance novel, Georgian/Regency England, holiday (Christmas) 
Rating: 5 stars

"She pulled his head down, feathering a kiss across his lips. "I love you," she whispered. It was reckless and foolish to admit it, but her heart refused to be silenced".

An ex- soldier who won't give up his warlike manners, let alone surrender his heart to love. A virtuous and strong willed Quaker who will need to cross the ocean to connect with her passionate nature and find a place she can really call "home". An arranged marriage and a quest for love. All wrapped in vivid and accurate descriptions of the Georgian England winter season and its rituals. A colorful Christmas tableau and a hero/heroine chemistry that escalates from warm to scorching hot. Here's your perfect romance-lover holiday gift.
One of the most distinctive qualities of this historical romance novel is the refreshingly different kind of heroine. Young Phoebe Linville lives a very singular condition of outsider among her own people. Member of a Quaker  family, but subtly shunned by her community because of her deceased mother's refusal to conform to some tenets of the faith, she decides to accept his maternal grandfather's invitation to leave New Jersey and join him in England. The characterization of the female heroine is quite solid and detailed, consistent in the way she struggles to meet the rigid expectations of a religious community and gradually reveal a surprisingly head-strong and passionate nature. Phoebe was doomed to live a quiet spinsterhood, steeped in an austere village upbringing, but once in England she will meet her perfect half in an unexpected place. Major Lucas Stenton, distant cousin of hers and heir to her grandfather's earldom, welcomes her upon her arrival with two shocking pieces of news: her grandfather has passed away during her boat trip to England, not before asking Lucas in his final will to become Phoebe's guardian and husband. The marriage may be an arranged one, but the chemistry between the handsome and intimidating  ex-soldier, and the unconventional and genuinely beautiful American is as immediate as the blink of an eye. She is a starchy Quaker by upbringing, but she can't help being affected by the large framed and hard eyed soldier. He may have spent years and years on the battle fields leading armies and defeating enemies, but he can't resist her innocent beauty and straightforward tongue. Despite his reluctance to surrender his heart to any woman after a former lover had demolished his life, Lucas is won by Phoebe's gentle manners and quick wit. A clear declaration of love won't be easily yielded by our emotionally armored soldier, 

"...when dealing with matters of the heart, [Phoebe's] fearless warrior husband turned tail and headed for the hills."

But he tremendously enjoys his wife and while his heart lacks the eloquence, his actions will speak volumes. The author's clever choice to bring the lead characters close together from the start, sets the scene for some warm "interactions", incandescent I would say. In the cozy isolation of his country estate, and with the aid of a festive Christmas spirit, Lucas conducts a "sensual assault" that will breech Phoebe's inhibitions and crumble his own emotional barriers.
The introduction of a secondary plot thread, that doesn't really get thick except for the final pages, serves the purpose of enhancing the conflict and test the trust issues between the newly weds. With weak-in-the-knees romance, sexual chemistry a go-go, and as sumptuous as equally accurate descriptions of holiday traditions, His Mistletoe Bride will bring the winter temperatures up a notch or two.

***Review based on a complimentary copy graciously offered by the publisher in return of an unbiased opinion


  1. Absolutely, positively, love your reviews Mina! You are awesome!

  2. Thank you, Maryellen! Can you tell how much I enjoyed reading Ms. Kelly's holiday romance?