Review of “The Spinster’s Christmas” (Lady Wynwood #1) by Camille Elliot

Elliot, Camille. The Spinster’s Christmas. San Jose: Camy Tang, 2015. ISBN-13: 9781942225034. $10.99 USD. 

3.5 stars

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.

Review of “Prelude for a Lord” (Gentlemen Quartet #1) by Camille Elliot

Elliot, Camille. Prelude for a Lord. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014. ISBN-13: 978-0-310-32035-7. Print List Price: $12.99.

5 stars

This book is another of several books that I added to my TBR following the great July Friends of the Library Book Sale, and I am so happy to have found her. For one, she’s an Asian American from Hawaii, like me (although she now lives on the West Coast). And for another, this book is absolutely amazing.

There have been other books that have dealt with the hero having a traumatic past, with that as the main thing keeping the couple from getting their HEA, and I find those books a bit irritating, especially with the whole “You-shouldn’t-be-with-me-but-I-can’t-stay-away-from-you” vibe those often present. But with this one, Bayard, Lord Dommick goes through mental struggles, but it does not keep him from proving he can be a good partner for Alethea when she needs him, and once they are married, he opens up and trusts her, especially once she tells him about the scars of her own past.

The way she interweaves the romance with the mystery element, through having Bay and Alethea share a love for the violin and music, with the mystery surrounding the violin, is seamless, and I love how she was able to keep me guessing about who was behind it until the Big Reveal.

I most definitely await the (as-yet-unnanounced) remaining books in the Quartet, to find out what Ian, Raven, and David get up to next, as well as any other future Camille Elliot books.