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Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas--an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which...
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Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas--an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which leaves the lovely widow with a slight problem. The last thing Camille wants is for the prince to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille intends to pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions.
At least until Grayson Elliot shows up. A dozen years ago, he declared his love on the day before her marriage to another man, then vanished from her life. Now he's back, gate-crashing Camille's already chaotic house party, playing absolute havoc with her scheme--and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was quite bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable. And he'll find a way to show her they belong together--for this season, and every Christmas yet to come . . .
December 18, 1886
"And you believe this is a good idea," Beryl, Lady Dunwell, said to her sister. Her expression failed to reveal whether her words were in the guise of a question or a comment, which was, as always, most annoying. More so, as her sister's face was the mirror image of her own, and one should never be in doubt as to what one's own twin was thinking.
"No, in truth I don't believe it's a good idea. Wearing the appropriate cloak for the weather is a good idea. Insisting on references before hiring a new servant is a good idea. Having an equal number of ladies and gentlemen at a dinner party is a good idea. This"—Camille, Lady Lydingham, leaned forward slightly and met her sister's gaze with a firmness that belied any niggling doubts in the back of her mind—"is a brilliant idea."
"I suspect the brilliance of it is dependent upon whether or not it goes awry." Beryl studied her sister over the rim of her teacup.
In recent months, the twins had made it a habit to meet at least every other week at the Ladies Tearoom, at Fenwick and Sons, Booksellers. It had become quite the place for ladies of society to gather. Even now, there was scarcely an empty table to be had. Camille wasn't sure why it had become so popular; the room itself was not unlike the other rooms in the bookseller's establishment, lined with shelves and filled with books in what appeared to be a random order. The tea and cakes were excellent, but in society excellent did not always go hand in hand with fashionable. Regardless, the sisters were nothing if not fashionable; and if this was the place to be, this was indeed where they would be.
"And it does seem to me there are any number of things that could go awry," Beryl continued. "Horribly, horribly awry."
"Nonsense." Camille waved off her sister's warning. "I have given this a great deal of thought, and it is a practically perfect plan."
"It's the 'practically' that should give you pause," Beryl said in a wry tone.
"No plan can be completely perfect, although ..." Camille thought for a moment. "I daresay, this is as close to perfect as possible. Mother and Delilah are spending Christmas in Paris with her friend, Countess Something-or-other, and will not return to England until well after the new year. Uncle Basil is on safari in Africa and, as you well know, when he goes off like this, he will not be back for months. Which serves me quite well, as I need a proper English family, having a proper English Christmas, in a proper English country house." Camille heaved a long-suffering sigh. "And while we might well appear proper from a safe distance, close at hand there is very little truly proper about our family."
"Millworth Manor is rather proper," Beryl murmured.
"Thank goodness for that." Camille nodded. "And this year, that proper country house will be filled with a proper family for Christmas." She narrowed her eyes. "There shall be no dallying between Mother and whatever potential lover has thought the spirit of the season would ease his way into her bed. There shall be no lecherous uncle pursuing any unsuspecting females, who have caught his eye. There shall be none of Mother's usual stray foreign exiles bemoaning the olden days in whatever country they're from. Nor will there be aspiring poets, flamboyant artists and absolutely no creative sorts of any type hoping to curry favor and patronage from Mother or any of us."
"You make it sound like a circus."
"There's very little difference between Mother's house and a circus, especially at Christmas, although a circus is probably less chaotic." Camille heaved a heartfelt sigh. "If Father were still with us—"
"Well, he isn't," Beryl said sharply. "He's been gone for twenty years now, and even at Christmas, there is nothing to be gained by wishing for what one can't possibly have." She drew a deep breath. "However, I suppose, as you are going to a great deal of trouble and expense no doubt—"
"Good Lord, yes." Camille shook her head. "I had no idea the price of hiring a troupe of actors would be so dear."
"Well, you are replacing an entire household. Let's see." Beryl thought for a moment. "There's one to play the role of the well-meaning, ambitious, somewhat flighty mother, another for the aging rogue who doesn't quite understand he is neither as charming nor as dashing as he once was, one for the role of the always indignant, somewhat superior, younger sister...." Beryl fixed her sister with a firm look. "Delilah would never go along with this, you know."
"Then it is fortunate she is in Paris with Mother." It never failed to amaze either Camille or Beryl that their younger sister had a distinct lack of imagination and an overdeveloped sense of propriety. Where did she get it? "And don't forget, aside from the primary players, there's the supporting cast." Camille ticked the roles off on her fingers. "I needed a butler, of course, as well as a housekeeper, a cook and an assortment of maids and footmen. I am bringing my lady's maid, however."
"What did you do with Mother's servants?" Beryl stared. "What have you done with Clement?"
"You needn't look at me as if I've done away with him and buried him in the garden." Camille rolled her gaze toward the ceiling. "As even Mother is rarely at the manor for Christmas, in recent years, Clement has spent Christmas with his niece in Wales, I believe. It's silly to have a butler on the premises if there is no one there. I sent the rest off on holiday—paid, of course."
"Of course," Beryl murmured.
"Yet, another expense. However, I have been assured most of the troupe is better at keeping a house than they are on stage, which is fortunate, as I do expect them to do so." Camille lowered her voice in a confidential manner. "From what I understand, most of the players have been in service fairly recently. So that part of it should work out nicely."
"Oh, well, as long as they can tend to the house."
"They are not the least bit famous as actors, that is, which, on one hand, is convenient, and on the other, something of a concern." Camille drummed her fingers absently on the table. "I do need them to be believable, but I should hate to have any of them recognized, so their lack of theatrical success is a benefit."
Beryl stared as if she couldn't quite believe her ears. "It is so hard to get good help."
"Indeed, it is. However, as they are not in particular demand, they are more than willing to take on this ... production as it were. And as costly as they are, they would have charged so much more if they were well known." Camille smiled smugly.
"It's fortunate you can afford them."
"Thank goodness Harold left me with a tidy fortune."
Harold, Viscount Lydingham, had been substantially older than Camille when they had wed. But then, older men with wealth and position were precisely the type of gentlemen their mother had trained her three daughters to wed. And Beryl, Camille and Delilah had obediently done so. Their reward was to be widowed and financially independent at an age young enough to enjoy life and pursue love, should they be so inclined.
Still, Harold had been a very nice man. Camille considered herself fortunate to have found him, and they had been, for the most part, happy or at least content. His demands on her had been minimal through the eight years of their marriage. She had proven herself an excellent wife and, indeed, she had been quite fond of him. Why, she hadn't even considered dallying with another man for a full two years after his death, out of respect. Even now, four years after his passing, she still rather missed Harold.
"And you're doing it all to impress a man—"
"Not merely a man. A prince," Camille said in a lofty manner. Yes, both of her sisters had married well, and Beryl's second husband might well be prime minister someday, but neither of her sisters had ever come close to genuine royalty. "Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky, of the ruling family of the Kingdom of ... of ... Oh, I can't remember where, but it's one of those tiny countries that litter Central Europe."
"But you barely know this man."
"Marriage will solve that."
"Still, this scheme of yours seems rather excessive."
"Perhaps it is, but it's well worth the trouble and the expense. He has an immense fortune and his own castle—besides which, he is quite handsome and dashing, and, well, he's a prince. Which means I shall be a princess. He is everything I have ever wanted and he is this close"—Camille held up her hand and pinched her forefinger and thumb to within an inch of each other—"to proposing. He hasn't actually said the words yet, but he has dropped more than a few hints. I'm confident all he needs now is to be assured that our family is worthy of being elevated to royalty."
"Which you shall prove by presenting him with a proper English family and a proper English Christmas?"
"Exactly." Camille nodded.
Beryl refilled her cup from the pot on their table and Camille knew—the way one twin nearly always knew what the other was thinking—her sister was choosing her words with care. "It seems to me that, should you indeed marry him, at some point in time he shall have to meet Mother and Delilah and Uncle Basil. The real ones, that is. Perhaps at the wedding. Have you considered that?"
"Admittedly, I have not worked it all out, but I will." She waved off her sister's comment. "First and foremost is Christmas, which involves a great deal of planning. You may not have noticed, but Christmas is bearing down upon us with the inevitability of a ... a ..."
"A boulder rolling downhill ready to obliterate all in its path?" Beryl asked with an overly sweet smile.
"I wouldn't put it quite that way, but yes."
"And after Christmas? What then?"
"Admittedly, I don't really know yet. But I will. The rest will fall into place," Camille said with a confidence she didn't entirely feel. "I shall cross those awkward roads when they present themselves. I can't be expected to know every minor detail as of yet, but I am certain I shall come up with something brilliant."
"As brilliant as hiring actors to play the part of your family for Christmas?"
Camille clenched her teeth. Beryl had an annoying habit of being entirely too sensible on occasion. "Even more brilliant, I should think."
"You'll need it. Your current brilliant idea is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. It can't possibly succeed."
"Goodness, Beryl, at this time of year in particular, one should have a little faith."
Beryl stared in obvious disbelief. "Faith?"
"Yes, faith," Camille said firmly. "Before the wedding, I suspect, I will confess all. He is already smitten with me, and by then, I have every confidence he will forgive this tiny farce on my part—"
Beryl choked on her tea. "Tiny?"
"Relatively tiny." Camille nodded. "He will probably find it most amusing. He is easily amused. And it's not as if I am misrepresenting who I am or who we are. Not really. Our family lineage is exactly as I have said. It's just the individual personalities that can be a bit ... unorthodox. Mother and Uncle Basil, that is. In truth, I am simply trying to protect the poor man and give him the traditional English Christmas that he expects and deserves. In many ways, it is my Christmas gift to him. And I am confident we shall have a good laugh about all this. Eventually."
"You do realize you're quite mad."
"Or quite clever." Camille tapped her temple with her forefinger. "Like a fox."
"An insane fox, perhaps. You haven't thought this through, Camille. This is another one of your impulsive adventures."
"Nonsense. I gave up impulsive adventures at least a year ago."
"After the Brighton Incident?"
"Yes, well, probably. It's of no significance now."
She did so hate to be reminded of what her family referred to as "the Brighton Incident." It had not been her finest hour and embodied all the errors in judgment she'd ever made rolled into one, even if it had seemed so delightful when she had thought of it. The incident had skated on the sharp edge of full-fledged scandal involving an ill-conceived wager prompted by entirely too much champagne, two of her close friends who were even more inebriated than she, a masked out-of-doors ball and costumes that came perilously close to no clothing at all. They had only been saved from complete and utter ruin because their faces were hidden, they had relatively spotless reputations (who would have suspected them of all people?) and it was the off-season. Few knew the names of the ladies behind the masks.
"I have given this a great deal of thought." Indeed, she'd had so much to accomplish she hadn't thought of anything else.
"I can't believe you are going to all this trouble." Beryl narrowed her eyes and considered her sister. "It's not for his money. Harold left you with more than you can possibly spend in a lifetime, certainly more than enough to buy your own castle, should you wish to do so. Is it for his title?"
"I have always thought 'Princess Camille' has a lovely sound to it."
"Even so, I can't ..." Beryl's eyes widened. "Are you in love with him?"
"There is nothing about the man not to love," Camille said in a cautious manner.
Still, she'd only been in love once, and that was when she was very young and quite foolish and hadn't quite realized she'd been in love until it was too late. She'd been extraordinarily fond of Harold and had loved him after a fashion, but she'd never been in love with him. She wasn't at all sure there was much use for true love in a practical world; although, admittedly, it would be nice.
"I suspect he may well be in love with me."
"That wasn't my question."
"We've never married for love in this family," Camille pointed out. It wasn't entirely true. She had long suspected Mother had married for love, which was no doubt why she had raised her daughters to marry for other reasons. In this respect alone, Mother was a very practical woman.
"But do you—"
"Not at the moment. But I fully expect to," she added quickly. "Indeed, I am quite confident in no time at all I shall love him with my whole heart and soul. There is nothing about him not to love."
"You said that."
"It bears repeating."
"Yes, well, an immense fortune and a royal title does make it easier to love." Beryl cast her sister a pleasant smile.
Camille wasn't fooled for a moment. The smile might well be pleasant, but the sarcasm was unmistakable.
"You're scarcely one to talk. You married your first husband, Charles, for precisely the same reasons I married Harold."
"I was quite fond of Charles."
"Yes, but you weren't in love with him. Nor were you in love with Lionel when you married him."
"No." Beryl drew the word out slowly. "But ..."
Camille stared. "Good Lord, Beryl, don't tell me you're in love with your husband."
"I might be."
"Nonsense, no one is in love with their own husband." Camille scoffed. "It simply isn't done. You certainly didn't marry him for love."
"No, I married him because his ambitions matched my own. Now, however ..." Beryl paused. "In recent months, since very nearly the start of the year, Lionel and I agreed to forgo our various amorous pursuits and restrict our attentions to one another."
Camille stared. Her sister's and brother-in-law's extramarital escapades were very nearly legendary. "And?"
"And it's turning out far better than I would have imagined." She shrugged. "As it happens, I might indeed be in love with my husband." A bemused smile curved her sister's lips, as if she couldn't quite believe her own words. She looked, well, content, even happy. Camille wasn't sure she had seen a look like that on her sister's face before. But then she was fairly certain Beryl had never been in love before. The oddest twinge of jealousy stabbed Camille. She ignored it. If her twin was happy, she was happy for her.
Excerpted from What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander. Copyright © 2012 Cheryl Griffin. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted January 1, 2013
Good Christmas Story!
I truly enjoyed this story although it sounded familiar. I knew what was going to happen before it. Somewhere a long time ago I must have read a story similar to this except I didn't remember the children. Regardless I enjoyed it. This story had me laughing.
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Posted November 19, 2014
Really unique. Not your every day...same old...same old romance novel. Very entertaining & unexpected story line. I highly recommend this book.
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Posted December 12, 2012
WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS by Victoria Alexander is an exciting Regency historical romance.Follow, Camille, Lady Lydingham and Grayson Elliott on a Christmas time adventure of passion,holiday spirit,secrets,deception,and humor. Ms. Alexander has done it again with this delightful story of love lost,and found again. If you enjoy Christmas time stories with a flare for the drama,deception and love you will enjoy "What Happens At Christmas". Received for an honest review from the publisher. Visit the author's website,Kensington Books, or My Book Addiction and More for more details.
HEAT RATING: MILD
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews
11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 6, 2013
Young widow Camille, Lady Lydingham, had grown up thinking that there wasn’t much use for true love in a practical world. Grayson Elliott, her first and only genuine love, had come forward with an ill-timed declaration, right on the eve of her arranged marriage to an older and much wealthier man. After revealing his feelings, Grayson had vanished, disappointing Camille’s hope to be rescued at the altar from a loveless marriage. He had fled to America bringing his broken heart and wounded pride with him, spurred by the sheer determination to prove himself to Camille by making his way into the world and building a fortune. Eleven years later, Grayson is back in England and ready to fight for the woman who never abandoned his thoughts: for too long they had been like “a play without a last act”, and the now outrageously wealthy Grayson is ready to pull the final curtain on his unrequited love for Camille. His timing seems to be wrong once again, though: the young widow has recently met Nicolai Pruzinsky, prince of as small as unheard-of kingdom of Avalonia. The charming royalty, who’s traveling incognito across Europe in the hope of fully and freely enjoying foreign Christmas traditions, represents everything Camille has ever wanted, handsome and perfect as if he had just popped out of one of those fairy tales she devoured as a young girl. Maybe too perfect to be real.
Animated by her childish dreams more than true feelings of love, she sets her heart on Pruzinsky. So, when she learns that he is a fan of Mr. Dickens and that he is quite eager to experience the winter holidays the way they are portrayed in the novelist’s books, she decides to provide him with that proper English Christmas experience as well as a proper English family to go along with it. Afraid that her extravagant relatives will embarrass her in front of a royalty, and taking advantage of a temporary permanence abroad of her flamboyant mother, in fact, Camille hires a troupe of actors to fill her country house and pose as her family. To add complications to her preposterous plan, her long-lost love shows up at her manor, but when it seems that the farce can only end up in disaster and escalate in a huge scandal, the sweet memories of a distant past and her unquenched love for Grayson will remind Camille that, far from being shallow and mercenary, her heart is capable of true love.
This historical romance novel by #1 New York Times best-selling author Victoria Alexander was quite a delightful read, reminiscent of a farcical comedy a la Shakespeare, twins, mistaken identity and all. I particularly appreciated Alexander's use of the classical unities (events unfold along one unique plot line, in one location and in a limited span of time), and her ability to get her well-paced narration flowing almost entirely with the use of dialogues. I found Camille’s character to be an original and unconventional female lead, a more practical sort of woman than your usual Victorian romance novel heroine.
Fraught with witty dialogues and lively lines delivered by Alexander with the elegance and the perfection of a string of pearls, What Happens At Christmas features an entertaining holiday pageant brightened by the breezy tones of a light-hearted comedy.
7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2012
Camille, the widowed Lady Lydingham, has set her sights on marrying the handsome and charming foreign Prince Nikolai and obtaining her fairy tale happy ever after.
She sets to win the prince's heart and a marriage proposal by giving him the perfect Dickens Christmas. Camille feels the only way to ensure the proper Dicken's family is to hire a troupe of actors to play her eccentric family and sets about to pull off the perfect scheme.
After a long absense Grayson Elliot returns to England and his family's country estate. On a goodwill errand for his cousin, Grayson stumbles upon Camille's crazy charade. Having declared his love to Camille eleven years earlier on the eve of her marriage to another man, Grayson vows not to lose Camille a second time. After situating himself within Camille's Christmas production, Grayson offers her his help, while working to regain her trust and ultimatley winning her heart.
I truly enjoyed this book and many times found myself smiling while reading it. I found the cast of characters to be fun and engaging as well as the the perfect compliment to Camille and Grayson sweet romance. Some of the things I enjoyed most were the light hearted, sentimental and often fun interaction between characters. I just adored the Christmas Carrolls. I found myself caught up in the books twists and turns and it left me laughing. What Happens at
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Posted January 18, 2014
Camille has found herself a new husband. A prince. The only problem is her family is less than conventional. What's a woman to do? Why hire actors to portray her family and servants. The prince, after all, expects to see a classic English Christmas. Camille never expects her first love to show up out of the blue. It's been eleven years. Here he is though. Standing in her home and wondering who all these strange people are. Grayson reluctantly agrees to help Camille with her scheme while silently planning to stop this engagement.
Funny and sweet, this book will make you laugh and tug at your heart. Ms Alexander adds just the right amount of romance, love and giggles to this book. You'll enjoy the escapades of Camille and her ragtag cast. An easy read, you'll finish this one before you know it. It's amazing.
I found no issues with this one.
I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because I have some friends I can see doing this..lol.
~Copy of book provided by author in exchange for a fair review~
3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 24, 2013
Fun historical Christmas romance!
*Book source ~ Many thanks to Kensington for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Camille, Lady Lydingham and Beryl, Lady Dunwell are twins who are not known for being boring. In fact, their whole family is a bit barmy. So when Camille is hoping a Prince of some foreign country (Camille can’t remember which) will propose to her she decides to hire a troupe of actors to play her family and give him a proper English Christmas at her family home Millworth Manor. Except for her twin, the rest of the family are in Europe and out of the way. What can go wrong?
Yeah, what exactly can go wrong with this scenario? You got it. Just about everything. This was a delightfully fun holiday historical romance with plenty of unexpected turns and shenanigans. I’ve read a few other books by Victoria Alexander and enjoyed them so I was pretty sure I would have a fun time reading this one. I was right. The characters are excellent, the writing wonderful and the plot is one I’ve not seen before. Who hires actors to play their family in order to impress a Prince? I just knew it wouldn’t go smoothly. Lol If you’re looking for an entertaining historical holiday romance then be sure to pick this one up. I’m sure it won’t disappoint.
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Posted November 4, 2014
Posted April 13, 2013
I very much enjoyed this Christmas tail. This was my first book by Victoria Alexander and it won't be my last. It was a fun and funny book with a cast of characters real and actors that will have you in stitches. Camille and Elliot have good chemistry and it was interesting to watch Camille at first try to get her prince and then to avoid him and Elliot trying to get Camille to forgive him for his past failings. A must read.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2012
What Happens at Christmas will tickle your funny-bone –n- warm your heart!
What’s a woman to do when fate fortuitously lends a hand and virtually throws you into the arms of a handsome and practically perfect royal prince? Well, Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows exactly what she's going to do; seize the opportunity and marry him ASAP. Because being swept away by a wealthy, handsome prince to a foreign land—to live happily-ever-after—was the stuff fairytales were made of, and didn’t every woman want that?
And "Princess Camille" really did have such a lovely sound to it………..
Fortunately, her intended, Prince Nicolai, of the Kingdom of Greater Avalonia, was just as infatuated with the beautiful Lady Camille and he was -thisclose- to proposing to her. So Camille came up with a practically perfect plan, one that was sure to help bring her prince charming to the point of popping the question before the New Year began. She would gift him with one of his heart's desires... a chance to spend a proper English Christmas, in a proper English country house with a proper English family as portrayed in the popular Dickens' novels……………
It seemed simple enough to do, but regrettably, that was not exactly how she would describe her own family. As a group their personalities were much too eccentric, or perhaps a bit too uninhibited, to be considered "proper" in the strictest sense of the word. Therefore, Camille decided it would be best to create the illusion of a perfectly proper English family celebrating the Christmas holidays at home… by hiring a troupe of professional actors to play them. Of course, there would be some minor details to work out, but—all in all—she thought it was a brilliant plan! What could possibly go wrong???
Victoria Alexander packages up her latest book with a virtual cascade of dazzling ribbons and bows, and delivers this festive treat to the romance reading world in the form of a heartwarming, humorous and thoroughly delightful Christmas story. WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS is a clever and creative tale that's filled to the brim with equal parts of holiday cheer, ardent romance, and sparkling good humor, that together brings to life all the traditions, magic, and joy of the Holiday Season……………
Victoria Alexander is a tremendously talented writer and gifted storyteller and I have been a fan of her delightful romances for many years now, but I have to say this is my new favorite of all her books. I just loved everything about this story from beginning to end—the Christmas with family storyline, the second chance at love theme, all the quirky yet endearing characters, the clever rhetoric, sharp dialogue, crisp banter and playful wordplay used to great effect throughout the story, and the very funny, farcical nature of the comedy. I think it represents top-notch romantic comedy, though I hope readers don't get so lost in enjoying the humor of the book that they fail to appreciate the many dramatic, emotional, and sentimental elements that were so delicately woven throughout the story as well……………..
What Happens At Christmas will surely tickle your funny-bone and at the same time warm your heart. It's a great story to read anytime, but also the perfect book to start off your holiday season on a high note!
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Posted December 8, 2014
Posted December 3, 2014
This book was wonderful. The charactors and the plot was funny and engaging. It was laugh out loud funny and seriosly engaging. Her idea to hire a family was brillant. All the charactors were original. I highly recommend this book. 4.5 stars
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Posted December 2, 2014
Posted November 28, 2014
I gave this a 3 even though I haven't read it. It's probably better than that, but with all the "book reports" summing up the book for me, I don't need to read it. People! Please give your reasons for liking this book, but DO NOT tell me the plot!
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Posted November 26, 2014
Posted February 22, 2014
Reviewed by Robin
Book provided by NetGalley for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
It took me a while but once I got past the first few chapters of repetitive lines I found that this historical romance was a really funny story about what happens when you really have more money then you know what to do with. Well, actually it is a bond between women.
Who would think to hire a troupe of actors to portray their kooky family so that could impress the man you are hoping will propose? The only problem is that the actors are even kookier than your own family. As nutty as everyone was in this fast paced story I found them rather endearing. They were written in such a way that they seemed real. Almost as if you could find them in your own family or perhaps a little like a neighbor.
Camille has loved Grayson all of her life. She was just taught that you marry for money to procure your place in society. To ensure that you have enough to survive without a husband should he die early and that love isn’t necessarily needed to marry.
So Camille wasn’t exactly brought up with the best of intentions she really was rather fond of the man she married until he died. This is where we drop in on the story. She is trying to obtain a prince. After all isn’t it every little girls, or big girls for that matter, dream to marry a prince? Just like in the fairy tales? Well, Camille really is no different than you or I. She was beautiful and full of life and fun. She runs into a real prince or so she is lead to believe. The thing is he read Dickens’ and wanted a real traditional family Christmas. He wanted the family and trimmings…everything.
But, where was a girl to find these things when her own family was off on a trip and they really weren’t all that traditional. They were rather well, shall I say a mess. So to catch her prince Camille hatches a fool proofed plan. Hire some actors! Yes, that should work. Actually…I really wouldn’t want to spoil too much of the story. But I guess I can give a little bit away.
Camille has the actors she hired in place ready to fool the prince she wants a proposal from by Christmas. The woman hired to play here mom keeps changing her name. I thought that the prince would catch on but he was clueless. As we get into the story her first love comes back into the picture. Grayson (the love of Camille life, who didn’t have money) ends up helping Camille with her charade as does her twin sister. As the escapes keep happening and you find yourself laughing only to find that her real mom and sister cut their trip short for sentimental reasons, showing up at the house.
Will Camille win her prince? You just may be surprised how this story ends. There are many twists and turns, along with many delightful yet unexpected things happening all the time. I was never bored and found it hard to put this down once I got into the story. They decide to help Camille in this fiasco. Later her…here is where I will have to bow out in these somewhat funny antics of Christmas that just may turn out alright after all.
Family dynamics was a strong concept in this story; Ms. Alexander showed that in a house full of women you tend to lean on each other. Mother lets you know that she knows best whether it really works for you or not. Although in most cases it is better to trust your own instincts.
If you can get past the repetitive first part I know that you will enjoy this comical story with a cast of likable characters that bond family, friends and strangers into new friendships. Where you find that families forge though the past to find that forgiveness is all that is needed to put the past to rest so that you can then move on to the future.
Ms. Alexander’s story shows many things including that things aren’t always what they seem. But are things ever as they seem, really?
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Posted February 14, 2014
Posted January 18, 2013
Posted November 30, 2012
This story was very entertaining to read. Camille is putting on the show of a life time to impress a gentleman who she believes will make a great marriage. Everything is going to plan until Grayson Elliott shows back up into her life. He proposed to her once but she believed it to be out of honor and not love. This story has a lot of twists and turns but it was very fun to read. Camille and Grayson circle around each other not wanting to get close but they can’t seem to walk away from each other. Camille falls in love again with Grayson during the Christmas charade and they finally can be together after years of being separated. Camille learns that family isn’t something you should be embarrassed about but to embrace them, faults and all.
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Posted November 30, 2012
Author Victoria Alexander beautifully blends romance, loyalty, humor, historical England, and mystery with a dash or two of Christmas magic for an engaging read. You always know her book is going to be filled with passion and lots of fun. Narrator Elizabeth Wiley does a wonderful job bringing all the characters to life. She gives each their own distinct voice keeping the story flowing smoothly. Her accent transports listeners to an English country home for an unforgettable Christmas. Camille, Lady Lydingham, thought she’d found her perfect prince. All she has to do is give Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky a perfect Dickensian Christmas like he wants and he will surely propose. There is just one problem - her family. There are out of town on holiday and are a bit unconventional to begin with. Camille, a wealth widow, hires a troupe of down-and-out actors to play her family and staff. With the reluctant support of her twin sister, Beryl, and her husband Lionel, Lord Dunwell, Camille believes she can pull it off. She’ll explain everything to the Prince once they’re married and they’ll have a good laugh. Camille never dreamed her plan would go up in smoke, but then she never planned on seeing Grayson Elliott again either. She had loved Grayson for years. He had declared his love for her 11 years ago on her wedding day and then disappeared. Grayson returns to find Camille in the midst of a masquerade. He can’t help but say he’ll help her win her prince despite buried feelings that are beginning to surface and a distrust for the prince. As Camille’s play continues, sparks begin to fly between her and Grayson. Just as she realizes she may have her prince, she’s not sure she wants him anymore. The characters are well-developed and realistic. The author’s detail to the era and setting add another layer to the story. The eccentric characters and the perplexing plots will keep you in stitches. Filled with twists, surprises, romance, and loads of humor, WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS is a delightful story that reminds us to be careful of what we wish for. FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
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