‘How to Marry a Rake in Ten Days: A Victorian Christmas Story’ by Samantha Holt

htmaritd shSTORY:

Dear Miss Manners, 

I have been following your column for some time since I made my debut into society some five years ago. As a young woman, I took your advice to become a well-mannered, polite young lady who would surely find herself a husband during her first season.

However, it soon became clear to me that your teachings no longer have a place in this century. England is a modern place now with modern gentlemen. They do not expect us to be coy and polite.

In fact, such behaviour only has the effect of turning one into a wallflower. I would wager that the eligible gentlemen of today value a woman who can hold a strong conversation and show intelligence instead of submissiveness.

After all, how are we English ladies meant to hold our own against these American heiresses and French beauties?

Now, it is likely too late for me but there are many other young women out there following your advice, many of whom are to be consigned to spinsterhood. As an unmarried woman yourself, how are we to trust your advice?
I challenge, you Miss Manners, to prove the worth of your advice. Show myself and your readers that etiquette can win the heart of a fine prospect. Christmas is approaching and it is a time to reflect is it not?

I am sure many a man is considering the worth of a wife. I highly anticipate,and look forward to, the announcement of your own engagement by the start of the New Year.

Your once loyal reader,

Miss Disbelieving

REVIEW: Angelina Ashdown writes an advice column for young ladies for the London Chronicles under the name of Miss Manners. When a young lady who has been following the advice of Miss Manners for five years finds herself still a spinster, she sends a letter to Miss Manners at the newspaper challenging her to follow her own advice and would like to see her engaged by the New Year. While Angelina is insulted by the challenge and wishes to ignore it, her editor will not let her. He thinks it will be good publicity for the newspaper if she meets the challenge. Currently, Christmas is approaching and twelve days remain before that deadline. Since Angelina has been invited to a house party at Fairfax Hall, her editor insists that she attend and, hopefully, receive a marriage proposal.

Benedict Britton, the Earl of Calderton, whose home is in Buckinghamshire, is also attending the house party at Fairfax Hall. The Hall is located in Northumberland and owned by the Marquess of Fairfax. When Benedict sees Angelina there, he recalls the history that they share and his own guilt at her remaining unmarried. He remembers her as the outgoing young girl she once was compared to the reserved woman she is today.

Together, they renew their friendship during the party and their past attraction to one another sparks anew. What happened that broke them apart and is there a way that can allow them to have a new beginning? Could it be possible that Angelina will actually become engaged by the New Year?

I loved this novella. The author’s creation of these characters is terrific. They are both flawed in some way and I was impressed how she managed to make the characters see their own faults and admit to them. Another thing that I really liked is that this is a clean story. Just kissing and no gratuitous sexual encounters which I find overdone in many novels. This is the first book I have read by Samantha Holt and I look forward to reading more.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

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