Elliot, Camille. The Spinster’s Christmas. San Jose: Camy Tang, 2015. ISBN-13: 9781942225034. $10.99 USD.
This is a sweet inspirational Regency novella, in the vein of Jane Austen, paying homage to one of Austen’s less popular works, Mansfield Park with its plot of two people who grew up as a friends and almost like family finding love with one another. And while the romance itself is well-executed, some aspects left a little to be desired.
This is yet another novella with a large cast, and sometimes it can be hard to distinguish who’s who and how they all relate to one another. While I realize this is a self-published effort (and a revision of a novella previously released in an anthology), I can’t help but wish Elliot had included a character guide or family tree, as her other book, Prelude for a Lord featured one. And I am unsure if this a flaw with the editing, or just a fault of the large cast being hard to keep track of, but I had to go back to the opening scene several times to figure out who Lady Wynwood was, especially as she is referred to interchangeably as Laura and Lady Wynwood throughout, with little explanation.
But both Miranda and Gerard are wonderful characters. In Miranda, Elliot paints a sympathetic portrait of someone in such awful circumstances, but she remains positive. And Gerard is a truly compassionate and brave hero, who you can tell genuinely cares for Miranda.
As for the mystery aspect, it serves to add more dimension to Miranda’s backstory, as even though she was provoked into doing what she did, in a certain light, in can be viewed as a fault on her part.