Once Upon a Christmas Eve is the final novella that finishes off Elizabeth Hoyt’s long-running Maiden Lane series. It proves to be an indelible sendoff for the series.
When Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque’s, carriage becomes broken during a winter storm, he knows he needs to get help immediately. He has his beloved grandmother in the coach with him and she already seems to be ill. He doesn’t want to see her get worse. He takes a horse and cautiously proceeds to a house a few miles away. When he knocks at the door, he is surprised to see Godric St. John answer the door, and even more surprised (and aroused) by the sight of Godric’s half-sister, Sarah St. John.
As soon as Adam’s grandmother is settled into the warm house, he sets his sights on Sarah. Though they had only met once prior to his arrival at her home on this treacherous evening, he clearly remembers how she did not fall at his feet. He hasn’t forgotten her.
Sarah St. John does not like or respect rakes and that is the broad brush she paints Adam with. But as the days of Christmas merriment continue, she is about to learn that he has more beneath the surface than she could have ever imagined.
Elizabeth Hoyt’s novellas are always total charmers for me and Once Upon a Christmas Eve is no different. I was immediately drawn into the chemistry between Adam and Sarah. The tension between them sizzles and soars nicely throughout the course of the story and it is obvious to the reader that these two are meant to be. That said, I love the slight obstacles that Ms. Hoyt delicately throws between the pair. It’s not a matter of miscommunication but rather, it’s a matter of truly figuring out who the person is beneath the social facade of the time period. Adam is well known for his rakish ways. Sarah’s cool indifference to him proves maddening and at first, he just wants to get beneath her skin a bit. But that proves even too tempting and soon, well, it is a raging inferno of desire between them. I know, I know, cliche but in this case, too true! Elizabeth Hoyt sets up this pair so nicely that it really is a great descriptor for their growing feelings.
Add in the festive and cheery Christmas tidings and this book has atmosphere pouring out of the pages. I loved reading about the Christmas traditions of the St. John household and of course, I enjoyed revisiting Megs and Godric.
I highly recommend Once Upon a Christmas Eve and Ms. Hoyt’s other recent novella, Once Upon a Maiden Lane. Both of these books are a wonderful denouement to the Maiden Lane series. I know I will be revisiting this charming Christmas tale for many holiday seasons to come.
Once Upon a Christmas Eve is available today!
ARC provided by publisher for review.
Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he’ll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they’re forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met.
Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she’ll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it’s the one gift this mismatched pair can’t wait to unwrap.
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.