About the Book:
A Courtship of Convenience
Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.
A Last Chance for Love
But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella
Review: Sophie Appersett and Edward Sharpe have been courting for two months, and in that whole time, Sophie has been unable to gain any insight into the reserved man. Sophie hasn’t received any signals that Edward holds her in regard at all, so she decides that it’s time to call their courtship off. Her break up speech is met with the same stoicism that Sophie has come to expect from Edward, so she’s sure she’s done the right thing. Her father, however, is incensed, as he was counting on a marriage between Sophie and the wealthy businessman to finance his obsessive fixation with their family home.
Edward was crushed by Sophie’s rejection, though he hid it well. He can’t truly say that he loves her, but he was captivated by her from their first meeting, and had great hopes of marrying her. Not being born a gentleman, Edward tried to follow what he thought were the proper rules of courtship. Those rules left him afraid to communicate or show any emotion for fear of making an improper step. And all those rules got him was a goodbye from the woman he really wanted. Edward is totally surprised when Sophie shows up unexpectedly at his business office.
Sophie is having second thoughts about the action she took, and decides to approach Edward and ask him to attend her family’s Christmas house party. Edward is even more brusque than usual with Sophie, but eventually agrees to attend the party, where they will make an honest effort to get to know each other, and to see if there is any reason to renew their courtship. Perhaps they’ll decide that they are better off parting ways.
Sophie’s odious father takes the opportunity to showcase the expensive (and, foolish?) renovations he’s made to Appersett House, especially the gas lighting he’s had installed. He especially cultivates Edward, hinting that if he were to marry Sophie, this may someday be his home, as there is no male heir. He also hopes to dip his hands frequently into Edward’s pockets for future improvements.
Edward makes a real effort to improve his relationship with Sophie, and I loved watching the big, silent man tease her about kisses under the mistletoe that he promises to bestow. Though there is some tension with the other guests and family members, Sophie and Edward continue to meet, become more at ease with each other, and get to know each other. Even the ever practical Sophie is becoming enchanted by this other side of Edward, a side she didn’t know existed.
A HOLIDAY BY GASLIGHT is a warm and captivating Christmas romance which showcases how people from two different worlds can find common ground and genuine love. Both Sophie and Edward let down their guard to discover how well suited they were. Once they decided to be open and honest, a playfulness entered their relationship that was lovely to see, and their new openness allowed them to overcome the remaining hiccups that occurred. A HOLIDAY BY GASLIGHT is delightful, and has truly wonderful lead characters that I was cheering on as they came to find their happy ever after.