DNF at 17%
The love of Josie’s life was her high school sweetheart, Liam. Was. Up until he left her at the altar to pursue his music career and left her behind. A tragedy brings Liam back into town but can it bring back their love?
Ok, I’ll admit. I went on a hunt for this book because I saw the trailer for the movie release. Conveniently releasing right around Valentine’s Day, the trailer looked like it teeters on the edge of a great love story and a hokey attempt at romance. The book falls over on the latter. I tried a few chapters and once I audibly groaned “OH MY GODDDD!”, it was over for me. It tries to mix in grief, friendship, and the-one-that-got-away romance but it just wasn’t blending well together. It felt very contrived and rushed with the dialogue between characters unbelievably cheesy. It felt more like a generic outline or brainstorm of a book rather than a well-developed plot.
John is a very serious Earl of Compton, who tirelessly spends his days arguing in the House of Lords. Women seem to only be after his status and fortune rather than his intelligence and determination. Until he meets Emma.
Emma is on the run from her abusive uncle, Drake, who is hell-bent on taking away her much younger brother Oliver’s inheritance. Protective of her young brother, she runs away with him while he is sleeping yet only makes it across the street to the Earl of Compton’s residence before she is struggling to carry her brother’s sleeping body. That short distance is enough to change both of their entire lives.
Where I live, we have been fortunate to have a fairly warm winter. Then we hit a cold snap around the same time that I had just finished Foolish Bride, also by A. S. Fenichel. I loved Foolish Bride and was aching to read another one of A.S. Fenichel’s books. It so happened that I came across Christmas Bliss and, despite it being mid-March, it was a fun book to curl up with on a cold night. The holiday is only briefly mentioned a time or two and I found myself wishing there was more of the holiday spirit.
The story is brief in length yet deep in complexity. Both John and Emma have spent their days fighting others. John arguing in the House of Lords and Emma fighting her uncle to protect her brother. Both John and Emma had missed out on seasons in the ton and even each other. They were practically strangers to each other despite living across the street.
Very quickly, John and Emma are taken with one another yet hesitant to go all in. John proposes a solution to Emma’s situation of protecting her brother and his inheritance from her greedy uncle: marriage. What I enjoyed most was the focus on the trepidation before deciding to go forward with the engagement. It helped the brief romance because both of their doubts were explained thoroughly.
Little Oliver was my favorite character. He was enthusiastic, well-mannered, and optimistic for one who has endured so much in his youth. I liked that the villain was very present rather than a concept that loomed around. I also liked how selfless John became when it came to Emma and Oliver.
I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy romance and brief engagements. However, I would not recommend this book for readers uncomfortable with graphic violence. I do not recall reading any foul language. The romantic interactions are not sexually explicit, in my opinion.