I’m going to tell on myself. I’m a sniveling, sentimental sucker for a good Christmas story. It is only October and I’ve only devoured two of them so I’m way behind my normal seasonal curve. Thank heavens for author Victoria Connelly, who sensing a good thing, has smartly thrown together ALL of the heroes and heroines from her Austen Addicts trilogy: A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy Forever.
Thus, her follow-up novella, Christmas with Mr. Darcy, is like a recipe for a classic Christmas pudding: combine growing romances, friends, family, a spectacularly decorated manor house, a sudden snowstorm, mysterious criminal activity, full-throttle Jane Austen trivia, and then sit back and savor a large helping. Catch up with Katherine and Warwick, Kay and Adam, Dan and Robyn, Mia and Gabe, Sarah and Lloyd, et al, as they are invited to the hostess and distinguished actress Dame Pamela Harcourt’s inaugural Jane Austen Christmas conference.
Along the way, we meet Higgins, Dame Pamela’s endearing and watchful butler, Benedict, Dan’s ‘neer-do-well’ older brother, (who invites himself) Mrs. Soames, (“Oh dear, who invited her?”) sweet Doris Norris, sisters Roberta and Rose, adorable Cassandra, (Dan and Robyn’s infant daughter) and a mustachioed gentleman who none of the invitees can seem to quite recognize. The author even manages to insert references to her own brood of beloved hens!
Victoria Connelly paints the holiday-decorated splendor of Dame Pamela’s grand Purley Hall while she builds anticipation by bouncing from one guest to another as they excitedly prepare for the journey to the conference.
In spite of a blinding snowstorm, all of the guests arrive safely at Purley Hall and Dame Pamela welcomes the crowd with her trademark warmth, charm, glittering jewels, and stunning gowns. As the guests settle in, certain valuables begin to disappear without any trace. At first, most who have suffered loss merely attribute it to forgetfulness or failing to pack correctly for the trip. Continue reading