Format: .mobi (Purchased)
Release Date: October 29, 2013 (reprint)
Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has led an unabashed rogue’s life, letting no woman near his heart. Inexplicably abandoned as a child to be raised by relatives, he never forgave his parents, refusing to read his mother’s letters after his father’s death. Then came one that shook his resolve. A Christmas visit to Montcliff might prove his last chance to discover the truth of his past, and come to terms with the stranger he calls “mother.”
But two surprises await him at Montcliff. His mother is nowhere near a deathbed as her meddling lady’s companion led him to believe. And Camilla Stuart is a lively vicar’s widow, too bright and beautiful not to arouse the scoundrel in Pierce. Though she alone is reason enough to prolong his stay, he is soon faced with other tantalizing riddles: what secrets lie in his mother’s past to explain his childhood abandonment? Why is the captivating Mrs. Stuart so determined to mend the breach between mother and son? Meanwhile, Camilla herself is caught up in love’s complications since the arrival of the irresistible earl. As his bold flirtations draw her dangerously close, can anything protect her vulnerable heart? If they are destined to share real happiness, there must be honesty between them—yet telling him the truth about her own life may shatter that chance.
What are the holidays without a holiday romance?
When Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont receives a letter from Mrs. Camilla Stuart, his estranged mother’s companion stating that the lady is seriously ill, Pierce leaves his comfortable existence in London behind and heads to the family estate. Once he reaches the estate however, he finds out that he’s been tricked by the widowed Camilla into coming home and that she hopes Pierce and his mother will reconcile in time for the holidays. Angered by her meddling, Pierce has every intention of leaving that same day, but he becomes intrigued by Camilla. He agrees to stay a few days longer on the condition that Camilla spend some time with him after every one has gone to bed. What starts out as a test of will soon turns into something more, but Pierce keeps letting the past interfere and unless Camilla can help him see his childhood in a different light, then there’s no hope for Pierce to reconcile with his mother or for him to have a chance at happiness with Camilla.
Sabrina Jeffries can do no wrong with a holiday story like this! Fans will surely recognize Pierce from To Wed a Wild Lord, the fourth book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall. I loved Pierce when he was first introduced and was so happy to hear that he would get his own story. ‘Twas the Night After Christmas showed readers the unhappy events in Pierce’s childhood that lead him to be estranged from his mother. Pierce isn’t as cold as he seems, nor is he as carefree as he likes others to believe. As a hero, he definitely met all my requirements, he’s a kind, caring, feeling individual who hides his true self behind a mask of indifference.
Camilla was a daring and witty heroine. She wasn’t afraid of Pierce, and every time he tried to intimidate or even bully her into compliance she met him as an equal. She called his bluffs, and challenged him to revisit and take a good look at the ghosts of his past all the while pushing him to see his mother as more than the villain he turned her into. She is a loyal friend and loving mother to her son, something that seems to reach Pierce when nothing else will. I loved that no matter how much Camilla came to love Pierce, she was strong enough not to throw away her dignity and self-respect just to be with him on his terms. By being herself, she turned Pierce and his mother’s lives upside down and made them reveal truths to one another that were necessary in order for everyone involved to move on.
There’s just enough conflict in ‘Twas the Night After Christmas to push the story forward but not too much of one as to weigh down the holiday spirit that seems to radiate from the entire book. I enjoyed the holiday rituals that Camilla and her son Jasper take part in and yes, at one point they even had me curious about plum pudding, cherry tarts and roasted chestnuts!
I normally skip holiday themed romances simply because they tend to be so sugary sweet and innocent, I almost get a cavity from the first few chapters. Thankfully ‘Twas the Night After Christmas is a delightful mix of sweet, tender passion, conflict, holiday spirit and humor. It’s a Sabrina Jeffries book so I expected nothing less than the best. I also liked how Pierce’s story bridged two different series together, The Hellions of Halstead Hall and The Duke’s Men with appearances by characters from both series’.
So if historical romance is your thing, and/or you’re looking for a great holiday themed romance, then be sure to include ‘Twas the Night After Christmas on your holiday shopping list, you won’t be disappointed.