Thursday, October 23, 2014

Xmas in October: Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins

Presenting: Christmas in October!

Each day this week, I will be reviewing a Christmas-themed book, reviewing how well the book embraces the holiday as well as giving my two cents on the book as a whole. Join me in celebrating the holiday a wee bit early and post your holiday book reviews to comments of any of this week's reviews!

The Book:


Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins
St Martin's
Book 3.5 in the Wicked Widows series
Historical Romance
Published October 14, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Goodreads


When Sir Lucien Blakemore arrives at his cousin’s estate for a week long Christmas party, he’s shocked to see Miss Winifred Nightingale among the other guests. Employed by his neighbor back in Yorkshire, the governess with the lovely eyes has always seemed off limits, but she’s visiting here as a guest—and there’s nothing like a little mistletoe to make the spirits bright…

Miss Winifred Nightingale never dreamed a holiday visit with her sister would lead to both ladies spending Christmas as the local lord’s guests. But the big surprise is when she finds the handsome Sir Lucien Blakemore staying there too. Their attraction between is undeniable, but will an old nemesis and a party guest bent on mischief make their first kiss under the mistletoe their last?
Christmas Component:

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss completely embraces the holiday spirit. Set at Christmas party, the guests partake in various holiday activities such as skating, gathering and hanging greenery, caroling and Christmas shopping. Easily five bedecked Christmas trees for this festive story!

My thoughts:

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss is a novella that draws together Lucien and Winifred, two characters who have already been dancing around a flirtation in, I presume, earlier books in the Wicked Widows series. Note that I might be wrong about that as this is the first in the series that I've read. 

The short format benefits from this presumption of an earlier relationship. Lucien is already thinking about courting Winifred when he discovers she's attending the same Christmas party. The story goes above and beyond Lucien trying to woo Winifred by making the latter the victim of some pretty serious negativity from other party attendees. Add in the arrival of a man from her past, and Winifred has her hands rather full. 

I liked that Once Upon a Christmas Kiss went above and beyond the love story and provided an actual threat. I was entertained (and also repulsed!) by the cutthroat marriage- and affair-minded women who flocked to Lucien. 

Bottom line:

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss is a short, entertaining historical romance that ticks all the right boxes. I absolutely recommend it - curl up with a glass of eggnog and some Christmas music going for the full holiday experience!

4.5 stars
For fans of Christmas-themed books, historical romance

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