Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "Twas the Night After Christmas" by Sabrina Jeffries


'Twas the Night After Christmas
(Hellions of Halstead Hall #6; The Duke's Men #0.5)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Gallery Books -- Published on October 30, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Read in December 2015
Purchased from Target

RATING: 3.75 STARS

THEMES/TROPES
Holidays, Widowed Heroine, Children, Class Differences, Employer/Employee Romance

SUMMARY
Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has never forgiven his parents for inexplicably abandoning him to distant relatives as a child. Nevertheless, when he receives word that the stranger he calls “Mother” is gravely ill, the unabashed rogue makes a rare return to Montcliff, his country estate. There he finds that the woman is perfectly healthy—and that he has fallen for a cunning ruse crafted by her lady’s companion, Mrs. Camilla Stuart. The lively vicar’s widow, too bright and beautiful not to arouse the scoundrel in Pierce, is determined to reconcile the Earl and Lady Devonmont. None of them can predict the secrets, both heartening and shocking, divulged between a mother and son, and between two lovers, each haunted by their pasts, that will make Christmas night at Montcliff one to remember—and the glorious night after, one to treasure for a lifetime.

FIRST LINE
"No one had called for him yet."

MY THOUGHTS
Read for the 2015 TBR Challenge--December--Holiday Themes. The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.

I bought this book two years ago when it was released in paperback.  Sabrina Jeffries is one of those authors that makes me think and makes me happy whenever I read one of her books.  I planned on reading it as soon as I brought it home, but, as we all know, life got in the way and 'Twas the Night After Christmas got pushed back on the shelf.

This is a holiday romance that acts as a bridge for the Hellions of Halstead Hall series and the Duke's Men series.  It focuses on Pierre, the roguish Earl of Devonmont who was a secondary characters in To Wed a Wild Lord and A Lady Never Surrenders.  Pierre has been estranged from his mother for years so he is thrown off balance when he receives a letter informing him that she is dreadfully ill.  When he arrives at his family's estate, he is shocked to learn that the letter was a hoax created by his mother's companion, the widowed Camilla Stuart, in an effort to bring mother and son together for the holidays.

I really felt for Pierre throughout this entire story.  The first chapter displays how heartbroken he was to be abandoned by his parents as a child and how that shaped him.  But, despite his irritation with his mother, he still cares about her and is angry that his feelings were seemingly played with.  As Pierre spends time with his mother and Camilla, he shows signs of the genuine person he is behind the roguish reputation.

Camilla was not my favorite heroine though I understood why she took the actions that she did.  As a mother herself, she is distraught over the estrangement and wants to set it right.  I liked the fact that she called Pierre out when he was trying to act like the sophisticated London scoundrel around her.  Even after she falls for him, she is realistic about what type of future she could have with him and isn't afraid to make her feelings known.

The main couple was likable and I could see how well they worked together.  I enjoyed how different Pierre acted around Camilla than he did around others since it felt like he was showing her his true self.  And, of course, there was plenty of physical chemistry to keep me on my toes.  My favorite scene involved Pierre trying to shock Camilla by having her read a naughty book aloud.  The final result of that little experiment had me laughing out loud.

My biggest irritation with 'Twas the Night After Christmas was the big secret that Pierre's mother was hiding from him.  It was obvious from the beginning that she had a reason to abandon him with his cousins and I just kept yelling at the countess to tell him the truth.  Pierre's father was dead and I couldn't understand why she just kept expecting Pierre to brush aside years of emotional pain without receiving an explanation.

Despite the communication issues between Pierre and his mother, I found 'Twas the Night After Christmas to be an entertaining and sweet holiday romance.  The characters were agreeable and the setting was appropriately warm and inviting.  There was a decent cast of side characters that helped give the story even more life as well as some hints of what readers could come to expect in Sabrina Jeffries's next series, the Duke's Men.  It wasn't my favorite holiday historical, but it was a decent way to spend a few evenings.

FAVORITE QUOTE
“Believing in love isn’t like believing in flying reindeer. It’s like believing in rain. Or summer. Or Christmas. Love is real and steady and absolutely essential to any kind of life. Not believing in it doesn’t make it any less so.”


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
Hellions of Halstead Hall
1. The Truth About Lord Stoneville
2. A Hellion in Her Bed
3. How to Woo a Reluctant Lady
4. To Wed a Wild Lord
5. A Lady Never Surrenders
6. 'Twas the Night After Christmas

The Duke's Men
0.5. 'Twas the Night After Christmas
1. What the Duke Desires
2. When the Rogue Returns
2.5. Dorinda and the Doctor
3. How the Scoundrel Seduces
4. If the Viscount Falls

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- Author Website

WHERE TO GET IT
Amazon -- B&N -- BAM -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- All Romance -- Audible

7 comments:

  1. I've never read Sabrina Jeffries before. I should look into her books. I really like that quote you just shared. It's pretty fabulous.

    I am thinking of singing up for the TBR Challenge next year. Did you like participating in it? Are there any other challenges you think I might be interested in?

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    1. I LOVED doing the TBR Challenge. I was successful in getting 12 books that have been languishing on my shelf for years. I am also doing the New to You challenge hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats, Burning Soup and the Oldie But a Goodie challenge the Renee is hosting. I think you would enjoy any of those. :)

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  2. I haven't read her in quite a while... my the series has grown!

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    1. It really has! Her latest series (Sinful Suitors) is also a spin-off of the Duke's Men books.

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  3. I think the holding back of secrets got to me too, but like you, found it entertaining. (Even though I read this in July, not anywhere near Christmas. Ha.)

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    1. I sometimes get a craving for holiday romances in the summer too. I just held off on this one for awhile because I knew I wanted to read it for the TBR challenge.

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  4. oh I just loved this one and such a fun Christmas book to read!!!

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