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Today is a review for a wonderful book! In my humble opinion, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish is the best of Grace Burrowes’ series so far. I loved Lady Sophie. Drop back by on December 6th and enter to win a copy of this book!
Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes
Release: Oct 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: I received a copy of this book to read and review from the publisher
All she wants is peace and anonymity….
Lady Sophie Windham has maneuvered a few days to herself at the ducal mansion in London before she must join her family for Christmas in Kent. Suddenly trapped by a London snowstorm, she finds herself with an abandoned baby and only the assistance of a kind, handsome stranger standing between her and complete disaster.
But Sophie’s Holiday is about to heat up….
With his estate in ruins, Vim Charpentier sees little to feel festive about this Christmas. His growing attraction for Sophie Windham is the only thing that warms his spirits – but when Sophie’s brothers whisk her away, Vim’s most painful holiday memories are reawakened.
It seems Sophie has been keeping secrets, and now it will take much more than a mistletoe kiss to make her deepest wishes come true…
Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish is the fourth book in Ms. Burrowes’s Regency series. I have read and reviewed The Heir and The Soldier a few months ago and The Virtuoso was reviewed last week! This series follows the lives and the loves of the various members of the Windham family – a Ducal family. The Heir was about Westhaven – the brother destined to inherit the dukedom when his father passes on. The Soldier is about St. Just the eldest, but illegitimate son, who as the title suggests is back from years being a soldier. Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish is obvious about Lady Sophie, one of the sisters. She is described as the most level headed of the family. She is the one who organizes all her siblings and apparently can take credit for several marriages in her family. She is a collector of the lost and hurt. As such, she has quite the menagerie of animals in the stables that she cares for. She has decided that she needs some “me” time in London before she heads to the family seat for Christmas. While taking one of the household maids to catch a stage to go home with her baby, Sophie finds herself alone outside the inn, holding the baby who is growing increasingly upset. It seems that the maid has changed her mind about going home with the baby, and has left young Kit with Sophie, knowing she will take care of her son. The problem is that although Sophie has taken care of many animals, she doesn’t know the first thing about a human baby!
Along comes Vim Charpentier who can’t get a room at the inn and goes to investigate the sound of unhappy baby. Seeing the bewildered Sophie, he decides to help her with a few essentials before continuing on his journey. This is the start of a heart-warming, thoroughly delightful story!
Vim is a world traveler, compelled to travel to his family home for Christmas. Somewhere he hasn’t been for years and is reluctant to go. It seems that his aunt and uncle are getting older and some odd things are happening that he needs to look into. His reluctance is allowing him to justify continual delays. Since he is the eldest of several siblings, he is quite proficient at feeding care of babies. He genuinely likes babies and his calm manner allows Sophie to learn what she needs to to take care of Kit.
Sophie considers herself to be on the shelf. She has decided that she won’t marry, but devote her life to her family and her animals, yet she is determined to experience the marriage bed at least once in her life. Since there is no one around to stop her, and they seemed to be snowed in by the snowstorm of the century, she makes her Christmas wish happen.
I don’t want to give away any more of the story! This is a beautifully written story. The subject matter is delicate – the freedom of an unwed woman in Regency England and the fate of illegitimate children during the same time period. This subject matter is handled in a sensitive fashion – creating a story that has the reader reaching for the kleenex box on numerous occasions! Although this is one of a series, it isn’t necessary to read this series in order. The author allows the characters to fill in the reader on what they’ve missed.
Since these stories are romances, one can assume that they end in marriage, but Ms. Burrowes creates a tapestry of a story, that is much more than just the inevitable marriage at the end. There is so much depth to her stories. So many levels that are woven into this story. The secondary characters – the brothers, the Duke and Duchess and Vim’s aunt and Uncle are all carefully woven into this tapestry. My favorite secondary character is the Duke. He’s a dude! Totally unrepentant! His Grace is present in all the stories so far and is a delightfully colorful character!
I love this passage:
“Now this is odd.”
Percival Windham folded the copy of The Times he’d been enjoying with his late afternoon tea and peered at his duchess.
“What’s odd, my love?” He topped off her tea and passed her the cup.
“Murial Chattell has written to say they just made it out to Surrey before the storm struck London, and the weather is being blamed for her daughter’s early lying-in.”
“Popping out another one is she? Old Chattell will be bruiting that about in the clubs until Easter.”
His bride of more than three decades gave him the amused, tolerant look of a woman who could read her husband like the proverbial book. “Don’t fret, Husband. Devlin and Valentine are both putting their shoulders to the wheel, so to speak. There will be more grandbabies soon.”
And Emmie and Ellen were mighty fetching inspirations for a man to pull his share of the marital load. Her Grace, as always, had a point.
The point she’d been trying to make belatedly struck him. “Sophie was supposed to be spending time with Chattell’s middle girl, wasn’t she?”
Her Grace took a placid sip of tea. A deceptively placid sip of tea. “That was Sophie’s plan.”
What a wealth of meaning a married woman could put into one syllable.
“You, my love, are subtle. A braver man might even say devious when you want to achieve your ends. You agreed to Sophie’s plan to linger in Town with friends because the Chattells boast a houseful of empty-headed sons whom Sophie could wrap around her dainty finger, where she so inclined,”
“But Sophie is not with the Chattells, Percy.” A small frown creased Her Grace’s brow. Had they been anywhere but His Grace’s private study, she wouldn’t have given even that much away. “Muriel mentioned how crowded the traveling coach was with the two younger girls and all their winter finery, and she goes on and on about the difficulty of traveling in such bad weather. She does not mention Sophie.”
His Grace enjoyed very much the machinations necessary for parliamentary schemes. He enjoyed advising the Regent on national and foreign policy when that overfed fellow deigned to listen. His Grace enjoyed very, very much the company of his grandchildren, and there was no greater joy in his life than his marriage.
He did not always precisely enjoy being the father much less a father ten times over, much much less the father of five single females, all of whom were arguably of marriageable age.
……”Percival Windham, you are proposing to go haring off in the dead of winter with a storm of biblical proportions raging just to the north and west, while I sit here and do what? Worry about you in addition to the four of our offspring who are not now under our roof? I think not.”
“Just making sure, my love. More tea?”
She smiled at him, his reward for helping her make up her mind. If Sophie were up to mischief, His Grace was privately of the opinion it was about damned time, provided the mischief involved a suitable swain. Sophie was wasting her youth tending the halt and the lame when she sought to be about snabbling a handsome specimen to help provide her dear parents with some chubby little…to help her fill her nursery
His Grace opened the paper to the financial section. An attempt to read the contents thereof was about as soporific as a that of the poppy, but it was a fine excuse to let his mind drift off to which young men of his acquaintance he might consider worthy of his more sensible daughter.
This story simply must be experienced. Although these stories are set in a series, each one can easily be seen as a stand alone book, not dependent on the others for the history that they provide.
I highly recommend this story to all Regency fans!