It was a heartwarming ‘choked up’ feeling to sit down and crack open the story of a young lady that I have known since she was born- in fiction land that is. Jemima Pitt is the grown daughter of the two main characters of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt historical mystery series. I have been following that series from book one through book thirty with Jemima quietly in the background growing up and apparently getting the best that both parents have to offer when it comes to personality and character.
Jemima’s story is part of the author’s unique and delightful Christmas story series in which she takes a side character from the main series and makes him or her the main character in their own little mystery set during the Victorian Christmas time. In Jemima’s case, her story takes her out of England and all the way to turn of the century New York.
Jemima is twenty-three and ripe for adventure. She is accompanying a younger girl as her companion to the girl’s wedding. Both the families are wealthy and part of a business partnership. Phinnie is marrying into one of the most powerful families in NYC. Jemima experiences a few twinges of envy for Phinnie’s happiness, but she is shrewd enough not to envy the girl her circumstances. Jemima wants what her parents have- a love that defied class, financial circumstances and even family when necessary. Her parents are friends and partners with respect to go along with a deep passionate love. So even if it means standing by watching other, younger girls get their matches, she is resolved to do so.
After they arrive in New York and settle in with the family of Phinnie’s fiancé’, the older brother of the groom, Harley, makes an unusual request of Jemima. He is worried that Phinnie’s disgraced mother who left Phinnie and her father when Phinnie was only two years old might try to crash the big society wedding bringing disaster on the family and Phinnie. Jemima agrees to help search using knowledge she has learned from listening to her father talk about his police work over the years. Unfortunately, the search brings Jemima more trouble than she bargained for and she now only has a few short days to prove herself innocent of a murder. With a bit of Christmas hope, determination and the help of a young police officer, she races against the clock to prove her innocence and find the real culprit while maybe getting exactly the Christmas gift she needed.
This was engaging from cover to cover. I loved the characters, the plotting, the twists, the glimpses of turn of the century NYC, and the little romance snuck in for good measure. As with many of these Christmas novellas, I was so vested in the story that I was bummed to have them end. I could have used a few more pages so the ending didn’t feel so abrupt, but really, that’s not exactly what I want. Okay, I really want more Jemima stories now and I would love the follow up with her parents after her big NYC adventure and the changes it will bring to Jemima.
All in all, heartwarming, exciting and engaging new installment to the Christmas Stories series. It could standalone or be read out of order with its chronological place in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, but it would be my recommendation not to read it until after Death on Black Heath is read due to a couple mild spoilers. These are recommended for those who enjoy authentically historical and mild on the romance Historical Mysteries or Historical Romantic suspense with a detecting pair for the hero and heroine.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.
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