This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Perfectly Proper Press
Released on November 13, 2018
I had to chuckle when I finished this lovely, sweet Victorian historical romance because from the beginning I got a North & South vibe from it (and I do love that classic by Elizabeth Gaskell) and, there, in the author’s end remarks, she mentioned putting several N&S Easter eggs into the story. This reader was certainly delighted by the story and its tribute to a classic.
A Holiday By Gaslight was a lovely and swiftly read class difference romance that took place at a holiday country estate party. It begins with the heroine, Sophie Appersett, jilting the hero, Edward Sharpe, because she wasn’t feeling the courtship. Edward is a wall of cold correctness in her eyes and she is only willing to do her duty just so far. But, when she gives him another chance, she discovers that still waters run deep and she hadn’t taken into consideration how difficult it was for him to balance acting the part of a gentleman was for a man brought up in the working class and being made to feel it constantly or that she might have been hasty about what she really wanted and needed in a husband when she sees him around her family and guests. She also never realized that Mr. Sharpe never did see courting her in the same light she saw it.
The story is a novella-length so it does get right to the heart of matters. Sophie has cold feet when she thinks she can’t do her duty and marry a hard, cold man even if she disappoints her family’s expectation of Edward Sharpe’s wealth. This is the turning point for her. She has done her duty all her life, but she wants something more when she thinks of leaving her home and placing herself in the hands of a husband she feels is a stranger. I enjoyed her journey of getting to know Ned while seeing her family and herself more clearly especially through his eyes.
I felt Ned’s pain from the moment Sophie dumps him. He tried so hard to be what he thought she wanted and was afraid, with reason, to show her his plain unvarnished self. The author really did a good job of bringing out the development of a romance set in a class difference of that time. I wanted to thump Sophie’s father who was a snobbish wastrel and utterly selfish. Sophie was caught between being part of her class and her family, but having an awareness of its shortcomings.
The romance was lovely against the backdrop of a Victorian Christmas on a country estate. Holiday activities abounded as Ned and Sophie sought to get to know each other, navigate their families, and tackle all the misunderstandings. There was some humor, sweet times under the mistletoe, and tender romance. I enjoyed my first time reading the author’s work and will definitely look for more of her Victorian historical romances.
I rec’d this book from Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
A Holiday by Gaslight had more than a whiff of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South to it. I loved this classic when I read it, but for once, it was the film adaption that I preferred. This was my first time seeing Richard Armitage act. Swooned so much. But, it wasn’t just the leading male actor. So many bits both of the storyline and the visual setting pulled me in. It is embarrassing how many times I have watched that movie. I think it is my all-time favorite period drama (and for those who know my fanatical love of Jane Austen, you know that is saying a lot). Much of that movie is set in the winter months so I include it in my holiday movie watch list each year. If you haven’t, you really should because *cough* RA *cough*. Do you have a favorite classic Christmas/holiday/winter movie?
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