Reviewed by Christy
In this Victorian Christmas novella, Dr. Jonas Grantham is in love with Lydia Charingford and her near-constant cheery disposition. Lydia, however, believes Jonas to be judgmental of her scandalous past and has no interest in his friendship, let alone anything more. In an effort to spend more time with her, Jonas wagers Lydia that his work can damper even her good spirits. He invites her to come along with him on a few of his house calls before Christmas. If he wins, he gets a kiss. If he loses, she never has to speak to him again.
I thought this was an absolutely delightful story. The characters have a realistic obstacle to get over in their relationship and good chemistry to see them through. Jonas not only is not the stereotypical macho man pervasive in much of romance fiction, but he also doesn’t subscribe to Victorian ideals and primness. Even Lydia’s father is quite progressive for the time. In Victorian society, it would’ve been perfectly acceptable for him to lock her away for her teenage indiscretion but he doesn’t. Instead, he treats her with the love and respect he always has. His love as a father took precedence over what was expected of him. It was quite refreshing.
I also really enjoyed the winter setting with little bits of the characters’ Christmases past sprinkled throughout. I probably could’ve done with even more Christmas but that usually seems to be the case. This was a fun, cozy read and the perfect length (long enough to get to know the characters but short enough so it didn’t feel like there were miscommunications just for the sake of it). Though I don’t normally read novellas, I will definitely be hunting down more Christmas ones this holiday season.