Short this story may be, but it was as delicious and potent as the punch served during Delilah Drummond’s New Year’s party at which the hero and heroine fall in love.
Actually, this piece was the prequel that introduces a now greatly anticipated novel. Unlike some, this is not just merely a teaser. It had a good strong plot, developed characters and finished feel while exciting the interest in what is to come. And while this is a prequel to City of Jasmine, it is also directly connected and loosely functions as a prequel to A Spear of Summer Grass which is Delilah’s story which I highly recommend too.
The story opens with Delilah Drummond discovering her husband Johnny has signed up to fight in the war over in France. She is fearful for him, but doesn’t want to send him off with her tears so she is determined to throw him a New Year’s Eve Party. At this party, she hopes to play matchmaker to a few of her friends so she sends them an invitation.
Evie has been hustled as the poor orphaned relation between several members of the family and finally ends up in a cheap flat with a cranky roommate and little in the way of future prospect. Getting Delilah’s invitation seems like an opportunity that for just one night to be someone fun and do something exciting. So off to eccentric Aunt Dove she goes for her makeover and in the process some surprising life advice.
Gabriel Starke, a confirmed bachelor and famous mountaineer, is surprised to get Delilah’s invitation, but it is the insistence of his acquaintance Quentin that he might have found him a sponsor who will attend the part that has him attending.
Delilah may have planned to set up Evie with Quentin and the statuesque Norse model with Gabriel, but fate took a hand and it was Evie who accompanied Gabriel to the rooftop to dance under the stars and fall in love.
Quentin along with the quiet unassuming Tarquin see it all and feel their prospective trainee for something secretive, Gabriel Starke, has disappointed them by his gutsy move, but Tarq later decides to give Gabriel one more chance to choose between Evie and England.
I loved this story and it has done the job of making me eager to read the book it leads into. I loved the delft hand at foreshadowing that was done with Gabriel and Evie’s story that makes me anticipate what is to come both the bad and the good. The crossover characters and their scenes were a nice surprise. Knowing Delilah’s story from her book, this was a bittersweet read for me. I loved seeing her and Johnny fresh and in love before all that came after. Yep, the eyes teared right up.
So, now onward to City of Jasmine and the promise of more Gabriel and Evie and the delightful Aunt Dove.
This book is FREE at Amazon, B&N, and ARe booksellers.