Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Happens at Christmas - Victoria Alexander (Kensington - Oct 2012)

Series: Millworth Manor (Book 1)

Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas -- an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which leaves the lovely widow with a slight problem. The last thing Camille wants is for the prince to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille intends to pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions. At least until Grayson Elliot shows up. A dozen years ago, he declared his love on the day before her marriage to another man, then vanished from her life. Now he’s back, gate-crashing Camille’s already chaotic house party, playing absolute havoc with her scheme -- and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was quite bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable. And he’ll find a way to show her they belong together -- for this season, and every Christmas yet to come… 

Very fun book, with a theme of second chances.  Camille is well known in her family for her impulsiveness and the fact that it usually gets her in trouble.  This one has the potential to do the same. Camille is very stubborn once she makes up her mind and nothing is going to stop her.  She has the chance to land a prince as her next husband.  The catch is that he wants to experience an old fashioned English Christmas.  Most of her family is away, and they're rather unconventional anyway, so she hires a troupe of actors to fill in.  What can go wrong?  Well, the actors are not the best and seem to have some trouble remembering their parts.  Then Camille's old friend Grayson shows up.  They had been close friends as children, then the day before she married someone else he told her he loved her.  She was stunned as she had loved him for a long time.  But she thought it was too late and they said some things to each other and Grayson took off for America.  After eleven years he is back.  He walks in on the production and decides to "help" by sticking around as her cousin.  Camille now has to cope with his reappearance which stirs up old feelings.  She also begins to feel that maybe being a princess to a man she doesn't love isn't what she wants after all.   I loved seeing her try to manage her actors who weren't doing quite what she asked them to do, and trying to adjust to all the changes that happen.  It gets even more interesting when her real family shows up.  Grayson has finally come home after making his fortune.  When he sees Camille again, he realizes that he still loves  her and is not about to lose her again.  I loved the way he was there for Camille even though his "help" at times purposely stirred things up.  I also liked the way that he was trying to protect her from herself.  Both he and Camille had to finally talk about the events of their past in order to move on with their future. I liked the fact that Grayson admitted his mistakes but also wasn't going to give up.    Some of the situations that cropped up were so funny that I could hardly read because I was laughing so hard.  I loved the secondary characters - Grayson's cousin Win who is the one who got Grayson home, Camille's twin Beryl who is snarky and sarcastic, but supportive, the troupe of actors who just can't seem to keep in character, and Camille's mother and sister who show up and have to be fitted into the play in some manner.  

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