After losing his beloved wife, department store owner Alexander Armstrong seems incapable of anything other than work, despite his ache to be a better father to his daughter.
When he encounters Grace, a charming shop girl designing the store’s holiday window displays, he struggles to accept that perhaps miracles do happen in the most unlikely of places…
It’s no secret I love Joanna Shupe’s books set in Gilded Age New York. I rave about them nonstop.
Criminally, I was unaware the author had a Christmas novella out for the end of 2017 – set in New York in the Gilded Age, of course!
I finally got to this short historical romance while on holiday over the New Year period, and I thought it was such a nice little read. There are ways to do Christmas books, and then there are ways to do Christmas books.
A story about a man who has to learn to show he loves his ten-year-old daughter, while also falling in love, has the potential to be cheesy as hell. This one isn’t. The daughter is perfect for a “book child”. Definitely not annoying, and with her flaws even when she is cute. There’s a scene near the end with father and daughter, and it was one of the best parent-child scenes I’ve read in fiction, because it felt real. I felt it could have been ten-year-old me with my father. It didn’t feel fake – or overly cute.
As for the heroine? She is great. I loved quite a lot of things about her, but the bit that stands out the most is when the hero is trying to say something nice and she assumes he’s insulting her.
She is a progressive sort without being too modern for her time. She is willing to do some outlandish things, but I can’t see her (unlike many a historical romance heroine) taking foolish risks that would literally ruin her.
Shupe’s love of late-nineteenth century New York equals my love of late-Victorian London, so she not only knows her history and her cool little facts, but also brings the era to life.
Oh – and, this book is not too “Christmassy” for those who don’t like that stuff.
One thing: what is it with authors always making Frenchmen villains? It’s even a joke in many American sitcoms (Everybody Loves Raymond – you are the worst offender!), and it’s always awful.
Genuine question: in the 1800s did Americans really already call Christmas “the holidays”? As a non-American it sounds wrong to me…
Otherwise, I loved this little novella – of course!