I was pretty excited when I realized that I had an actual holiday story on my TBR shelf. Y’all know I like to stick to the themes, so obviously I was thrilled that I didn’t have to go track something down that may or may not have been on my TBR list. However, I was a little disappointed that Season for Temptation by Theresa Romain wasn’t precisely the holiday read I thought it would be. Only part of it takes place during Christmas, and while Ms. Romain does a good job of making that time come alive, I was really expecting the entire romance to happen around the Christmas season.
But before we talk about the book anymore, here’s the blurb:
Two Sisters. . .
Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged–to a viscount, no less. Louisa’s only hesitation is living a life under the ton’s critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact. . .
One Choice. . .
As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride. . .until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous–and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch–and a twist of fate–will solve. . .
The book opens very cutely. The hero, James, has just arrived at his fiance’s country home to spend time with her and her family. He’s waiting in the parlor when he hears our heroine, Julia, rushing around and muttering to herself. When she spots him, she’s flustered and embarrassed and when she gets that way, she tends to ramble. The opening scene is funny and light, setting the tone for the book.
The book is humorous. Each chapter has an amusing title and Julia is kind of a spazz which is always amusing. James’s reactions to her, like he’s not quite sure what to think, is funny too. This is definitely not an angsty historical, like many that I’ve read this year. It’s more along the lines of a Julia Quinn or Tessa Dare-style historical; if you’re a fan of either of those two authors then I think you will enjoy this book.
Like I said, the book doesn’t take place just at Christmas. It opens in the fall, with James coming to visit, moves to London where the sisters and their excellently written aunt (she’s a bit like Lady Danbury in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series) spend Christmas, and then progresses into the early part of the The Season. Honestly, if this book hadn’t been billed as a holiday romance, I’m not sure I would have considered it one myself. Christmas just doesn’t play as much of a role as I think it should in a “holiday romance”. In those stories, I feel like Christmas is almost a secondary character. Nora Roberts’s All I Want for Christmas or any of Debbie Macomer’s books with the word “Christmas” in the title are better examples, in my personal opinion.
Other than that minor quibble, my only real concern with this book was how it was going to work with our hero being engaged to someone else. Typically, in these situations, the fiance (or wife sometimes) is either mean and heartless or only talked about, never heard or seen, probably because she’s dying of some horrible disease or is crazy. This story is different because Louisa is sweet and interesting and always around. You can tell pretty early on that she regrets her decision to get engaged so quickly, but it’s hard to come up with a way that this could all end neatly.
Romain does a good job of not making it feel like James is cheating on Louisa. A really good job in fact; you want James and Julia to be together AND you want Louisa to be happy and unhurt (emotionally and socially). The author does a tremendous job handling the situation that could have gone terribly wrong in the wrong hands.
In the end, it does end happily and, as Louisa is the heroine in the next book, it seems that it will end happily for everyone involved. I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly tidy ending and I somehow doubt that the hero’s strong family title and wealth would really be enough to withstand all the society gossip, but it is a lovely example of a “society be damned, I’m marrying you anyway” romance. Love conquers all, even horrible misunderstandings and obvious displays of promiscuity. 🙂
I thought this book was light and funny; an enjoyable read during the mad rush of the holiday season. I have added the other two books in the series to my list and look forward to reading Louisa’s story especially.
Final Grade: B
PS: Need a little snack to go with your holiday romance reading? Check out my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies series!
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