Christmas Bliss by AS Fenichel
Available as an ebook.
Blush sensuality level: This is a sweet romance (kisses only, no sexual content).
Emma is running from a tyrannous uncle bent on killing her young brother, just to gain his fortune. John, the Earl of Compton, is looking for something to change his unfulfilling life. When they meet on a dark street, nothing can change their fate.
John is so instantly smitten and socially inept, he proposes in less than twenty-four hours. Emma’s plight to save her brother has her so shaken, she agrees to the hasty Christmas wedding.
The threats to Emma’s life, and John’s fierce defense of her, demonstrate to both that the match might be more than just a convenient arrangement. If only they can thwart her uncle’s devious assault and live to enjoy each other.
To listen to, or download the podcast with AS Fenichel, please click here.
Review by Sophie Sansregret
5 out of 5 Stars
AS Fenichel is that writer whose work makes you wish you tried a little bit harder. This is a truly warm and lovely Christmas Regency love story. Novella-length, it's an afternoon read, with a "blush" rating. Sweet kisses only here and when you read it you realize that's all you really want in this charming tale.
The common story of orphans being threatened by the evil uncle is the basis of the story. Plucky Emma tries to protect younger brother Oliver and is happened upon by neighboring Earl of Compton, John Scarborough who's just not very quick when it comes to anything other than court and legislature. He is instantly besotted with Emma which is perfect: novellas shouldn't be burdened with overly intricate plots. Too much time is wasted in exposition which can otherwise be spent with lovestruck men and the recipients of their affections. I am pleased to say Ms Fenichel does not burden the story with an overly elaborate plot or back story which would only distract from this charming book.
Quickly assessing the situation, John Scarborough offers Emma the protection of his name: in other words, a quick Christmas wedding. Although she agrees at first, John is an honorable fellow who informs her that he can help her legally and she needn't marry him to protect herself and her brother. Honorable and handsome. That's how I like my heroes. But don't worry, he's an Alpha male too, in an entirely Regency way. Look for a wonderful altercation where we see that John is more than paperwork and good manners.
Secondary characters are artfully used and described. Evil Uncle Drake Trent instantly conjures up for me a cross between Stephen Fry and Jabba the Hutt. Boorish, greedy, violent and volatile. He is a physical and mental threat and his odious nature is perfect. John Scarborough's mother is intelligent, supportive, and in no-way cloying. He is no Mama's boy as we see. She is as morally strong as Trent is weak.
Historically Christmas Bliss holds true to the Regency although we see some playfulness as John and Emma violate several cultural taboos which by today's standard is nothing but for the time, would be scandalous. A stolen kiss in an unchaperoned room. First names. Oh the cheekiness of it all!
What a treat to read a book where the gasp comes from a kiss or a first name. A quick marriage. Disproving, greedy, stalking uncles. It's nice to sit back and enjoy gentler times.
An except is available here. To view it, click on the magnifying glass on the upper-right hand corner of the cover image. A menu will appear offering you, among other things, the option to read an excerpt from Chapter One.
And if this isn't your cuppa, well, there's always Binding Ben.
About the Author
A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.
Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.