From the desk of Katie Jackson:
The thought of love at Christmastime is enough to warm the heart, but when it is set in the midst of pleasant Regency-era traditions, snowy sleigh rides, and cheerful firesides, it’s certain to appeal to the hopeless romantic in us all. It is just such an inviting scene that awaits readers in prolific Regency author Sally Britton’s A Mistletoe Mismatch, book four of five in the new A Christmas Match series, which provides a standalone holiday tale from each of several popular historical romance authors.
Miss Jessica Nettle possessed a burning curiosity about the world that belied her reality, where she lived with her loving family on their cozy country estate and never traveled anywhere. It was a “familiar longing. A longing to take off running down the road and go as far as it would take her.” (9) With half interest and half envy, she would listen to the accounts of her childhood friend’s intrepid travels—all the while plotting her revenge for his next return to the neighborhood each Christmas.
“Let Mr. Webb just try to ruin her enjoyment of the winter festivities. She would take great pleasure in putting him in his place. As she did every year.” (12)
Mr. Ellis Webb had proudly left the comfort of his home and country, never settling anywhere for long as he traversed the world, yet he always looked forward to his annual holiday visits to his cousin. There was just one problem that he couldn’t seem to puzzle out: Why exactly was it that his old childhood playmate, a young lady who lived near his cousin, seemed to have chosen to become his nemesis?
“Jessica Nettle had a way of twisting a man’s words and actions to suit her own interpretations, and the woman had a tendency toward impishness in her pranks. He had the sneaking suspicion she planned them out well in advance, then set to her work as a general might set his soldiers upon a battlefield.” (15)
As the neighboring families gather for holiday celebrations, it becomes abundantly clear that Jessica’s sister and Ellis’s cousin have, after a lifetime of innocent friendship, developed romantic feelings for each other. Alarmed at the hasty turn of events and dismayed by the potential for a disastrous mismatch between her sister and his cousin, Jessica reluctantly agrees to a ceasefire and Ellis warily agrees to assist her in separating their unwitting, besotted relatives. Jessica faces a battle against her insecurity over how Ellis had been
“growing too experienced and sophisticated for her, a little nobody who remained at home,” (128)
while Ellis struggles to make sense of his conflicting feelings for the lady who had become his enemy. Will the two be able to set aside the uncertainties between them for the success of their anti-matchmaking mission?
When I read Regency-era stories, I usually relate most to the heroine’s feelings while admiring the hero’s transformation before her eyes. With this story, I had the opposite experience, likely because I was reminded repeatedly that the heroine had been behaving in foolishly immature ways toward the hero for the previous seven years—for reasons which he has no knowledge of and she refuses to reveal. I suppose that I do have unrealistically high expectations for fictional heroines to behave maturely, and I was disappointed in Jessica’s petulant behavior as though it reflected poorly on all of womankind. But! I was impressed by how she transforms throughout the story as she becomes more aware of how her actions were perceived and the error of what inspired her to cause mean-spirited mischief in the first place. I greatly enjoyed the Christmas setting in this story and the entertaining holiday traditions.
Historical romance readers will enjoy a snowy sleigh ride through a Regency-era Christmastide in A Mistletoe Mismatch.
4 out of 5 Stars
- A Mistletoe Mismatch: A Christmas Match (Book 4), by Sally Britton
- Pink Citrus Books, LLC (November 17, 2021)
- Trade paperback & eBook (222) pages
- ISBN: 978-1685270025
- Genre: Regency Romance, Holiday Reading, Inspirational Fiction
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image courtesy of Pink Citrus Books, LLC © 2021; text Katie Jackson © 2021, austenprose.com.