Invitation to a Cornish Christmas
An Invitation to a Cornish Christmas is brought to us by Marguerite Kaye and Bronwyn Scott. The stories take place in Porth Karrek, Cornwall during the 1822 Christmas Season and revolve around the same cast of characters.
The Captain’s Christmas Proposal by Marguerite Kaye
Grade: B+ Sensuality: Warm
Captain Treeve Penhaligon is returning home to Cornwall after inheriting his brother’s estate. He plans to see that everything is in order, leave the estate in the hands of his brother’s steward, and return to the sea. In his heart, Cornwall is not truly his home and the cool reception provided in Porth Karrek demonstrates that the locals agree.
Emily Faulkner has run away to Porth Karreck after a disaster in London. After her cool reception, she’s pretty sure she will be an outsider here forever. One day while walking on the beach, she meets Treeve, and feels an instant rapport with him that grows closer each and every time they meet. But Treeve has no plans to stay in Porth Karreck and Emily has demons of her own to exorcise.
The Captain’s Christmas Proposal is a delightful novella that manages to give us a satisfying love story in a short format. I was invested in the outcome of this book from the first pages. Ms. Kaye writes beautifully of the setting and I truly felt whisked away to the early winter in Cornwall. She adds just the right amount of angst and conflict creating a sweet, believable romance between two worthy characters.
Unwrapping His Festive Temptation by Bronwyn Scott
Grade: B- Sensuality: Warm
Cador Kitto is reluctantly returning to Porth Karreck for the advent season in order to compose a Christmas Eve cantata commissioned in honor of the town by Captain Penhaligon. Cador’s own childhood in Porth Karreck was marked by deprivation and sadness, and his return is driven only by his need of funds. He would prefer to return to his life in London or abroad in the courts of Europe composing for royalty. If only he wasn’t completely stuck in his writing – he needs to finish this piece of music and get out of Porth Karreck for good.
Rosenwyn Trevelen has been to London, but she prefers Porth Karreck. She’s been burned by young, dashing men and she has no intention of letting Cador near her or her sisters and she’s not afraid to let him know just what she thinks of him. However, she recognizes that she might have been too mean to him – she barely knows him after all. She apologizes, he apologizes, and they start over. Could Rose show Cador the Porth Karreck she knows and help inspire his music?
Unwrapping His Festive Temptation is well-written and steeped in Cornish Advent traditions. It was an interesting read and flowed nicely to the end, but I had a hard time believing in the HEA. Given Rose’s history, I was surprised by the choices she made along the way, and Cador is shown to be a real bounder at the beginning. I felt like he came to an awareness of himself and his past but I didn’t feel him maturing to the point of settling down. In the end, I wasn’t sure I could see them happily ever after. I can imagine this story working much better in a longer format where we can see the characters growing up a bit and being ready for the next stage.
Both stories offer a nice, romantic bit of Christmas cheer with a good amount of Cornish history and customs thrown in. If you are in the mood to settle down with some hot chocolate by the fire with a light, enjoyable Christmas romance, this will suit nicely.