Snow – Kissed Proposals – The Christmas Runaway by Jenni Fletcher and Their Snowbound Reunion by Elisabeth Hobbes
Two novellas of love at the festive season, romance in difficult circumstances sparkle with the hope of attraction and the possibility of expressing that love. Both set in the Victorian era, they feature life in large houses but not necessarily among the wealthy, those who have faced hard times and now are challenged by the elements. They share humour and a spark of realism, well written characters and lively dialogue. The settings are well drawn and the backgrounds of homes, grounds and homes evoke imaginative pictures. The clothes are well described for both genders, giving support to characteristics and signifying much about the occasion and state of mind. Both authors have truly grasped the importance of satisfying plots and realistic characters, and I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to read and review this delightful book of two short novels.
In The Christmas Runaway, the impetuous Miss Fiona MacKay is introduced as she finds herself stranded in appalling weather trying to reach her friends house. She has run away from her comfortable home and father; she has the reputation for being adventurous and curious. Happily she is rescued by a man who she at first takes for a rural worker with a cart, as his untidy working clothes and general appearance seem to suggest. She is pretty dishevelled herself after all, and wearing bright and unsuitable clothing for the place in which she is walking. She soon discovers her mistake as to the identity of the large and good looking rescuer, but is not discomposed for long. When she reaches territory she sets about renewing an old and strong friendship, and giving her honest opinion to those who need to hear it. Gradually being trapped with Angus Drummond does not seem so bad after a while, and indeed they seem well matched in terms of being headstrong and determined, even when they clash.Can the approaching festive season bring them together, or push them apart forever.
Their Snowbound Reunion deals with slightly older people who meet after a gap of some fifteen years. The story begins with the young Amy rushing to meet Anthony at a favourite spot in the village where she lived and he was visiting his aunt. When he does not turn up she is told that he left the area in the morning in the hope of a job with a newspaper. Several years later Amy has returned to the house in which Anthony’s aunt once lived to apply for a job as a housekeeper, learning that Anthony has inherited the house but does not intend to visit at any point. Keen to get a job, she agrees to work there and compile an inventory of the house contents.After all, she has moved on, married and been widowed, and knows the area well. However, it suddenly appears that Anthony is going to make a short visit to the house, and in the run up to Christmas he will return to the house he has not seen for many years. Amy and the household have been preparing for a very quiet Christmas, but it now seems that things will be very different.
This is a lovely read, especially in the build up to Christmas. Both authors are well versed in creating escapism in historical fiction, and their two couples are vibrant and vivid creations. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic historical fiction, especially at Christmas.