Marian's Christmas Wish
The best part of the holiday season is, for me, the holiday books. I do lots of baking, wrapping, decorating, and cooking but that is not really for me. It’s for the family. But the holiday novels are my little treat during the season. They warm my heart and keep me going, reminding me of just why the hectic pace is all worth it.
Miss Marian Wynswich is impertinent, outspoken, overly educated, and a champion chess player. It is a good thing that the family fortunes rest upon the shoulders of her older sister Ariadne, the perfect Regency miss. But when Marian sees the gentlemen her brother has picked out for poor Ariadne she grows quite desperate to save her sister from this wealthy connection and place her into the loving hands of the local vicar, for whom Ariadne has long carried a torch. Marian knew she could count on her rapscallion brother Allistair for help but could it be that gallant Lord Ingraham, her brother’s other guest, will also be an ally?
Gilbert Collinwood, Lord Ingraham, is enchanted by his friend’s youngest sister, who can read Greek, tend animals, and follow along on outlandish schemes at the drop of a hat. She is a match for his own proper yet mischievous spirit, and lovely to boot. But can such a young girl truly love someone like him, a diplomat who must devote so much of himself to his country?
The two form a lovely friendship during the days preceding Christmas. They share so much in common that Marian soon finds herself dropping all formality and treating Gil to confidences and the kind of adventures she has only ever shared with family. Gil has never found himself so at ease with a woman; not only does she not flinch from the nasty scar he bears on his cheek, she insists on medicating him with her own healing salve. The holiday has turned into an unexpected pleasure for them both, complete with all important wishes while making the Christmas pudding. But will any of those wishes come true? And if so, will they be all that is expected?
Like all Kelly novels, this is an amazingly well written book. It does a wonderful job of capturing the warmth and joy of the holiday season, as well as the fun of having the family all together again. It is a bit of a farce, so humor is rampant throughout, although never done with too heavy a hand. Like a delicious Christmas pudding, it is full of surprises.
Gil is a terrific character, warm, loyal, loving, true, patient, kind – his list of virtues could actually take up many, many pages. The wonderful thing is that he doesn’t come across as too perfect – somehow his charm and sense of adventure balance him out and turn him into just a terrific human being.
Marian is feisty and carefree with a big, loving heart. She likes to take care of her family, although her care can cause some bumps along the way. I struggled with her a bit. I loved her but she was a bit young, not just in physical age but in behavior. It was hard to think of her being married with children, especially since her beloved called her “brat” and more than one person referred to her as “child”. I didn’t grade down for this but I did think it worth mentioning.
The adventure at the end of the novel was a bit of a stretch for me in that it didn’t ring completely true for me with Gil’s personality, but otherwise this is a really charming novel. Fans of Ms Kelly will not be disappointed, nor would anyone looking for a good Christmas regency.