Camille, Lady Lydingham is a wealthy widow looking to marry again. She doesn’t need to marry for money but is looking for romance. Her first husband, while a good man was older and she feels like she kind of missed the boat when it came to romantic love. She meets a Prince who is trying to sweep her off her feet. She decides to let him. She wants to charm him with a traditional English family Christmas. There is just one problem for Camille – her family is rather eccentric by the standards of the day. Luckily for her, they happen to be out of the country conveniently leaving her mother’s ancestral home empty. She hatches a very ambitious and somewhat crazy plan. She gives all the servants, except for the trusted butler, paid vacations and hires a troupe of actors to fill in for servants as well as her family. If she can’t naturally have the kind of family that would make for a traditional, picture perfect Christmas, then she’ll pay for one. The only one she confides in is her married twin sister, Beryl. Her plan runs into the first snag when she runs into Grayson Elliott. She and Grayson have a tangled history. They grew up together and became good friends. She developed romantic feelings at some point but she felt that he only thought of her as a friend or a sister. It is not until the day of her wedding that he comes to her declaring that he loves her and asks her not to go through with it. She is dumbfounded. He had never given her any indication that he was interested in her that way. She is shocked and a little angry that he waited until that moment to tell her his feelings. From his point of view, he never realized how strong his feelings were until she was going to be married. When she reacts badly, he leaves her and goes abroad for several years earning his fortune. He never had the safety of a title, being orphaned at a young age and being taken in and raised by his aunt & uncle. They never see or speak to each other for those years, each blaming the other for how things worked out between them. When seeing each other again for the first time, all those feelings come back to them and the bulk of the book is them working through those feelings. The romance was very sweet. As usual with this author, the circumstances and supporting characters make for some very funny situations which get more and more absurd in the best possible way. I loved Grayson’s cousin Win. He was very charming, witty & I look forward to the two upcoming stories that the author plans to come out with about him. I loved how everything worked out in the end, with Camille’s family, the charade, the Prince, and the ending scene between the hero & heroine was very sweet. For fans of this author’s “Effington” series, Avalonia gets a shout out.
I look forward to the author’s next book.