Saturday, December 17, 2016

An Understated Regency Christmas

An Understated Regency Christmas
A Christmas Surprise - Christmas Regency Romance Novella by Emily Murdoch | Book Review

Christmas is just around the corner and I've just finished reading A Christmas Surprise by Emily Murdoch. A festive regency novella, it is set around the Christmas season as well and makes for a quick read to get into the Christmas mood.
"Christmas Eve had always been a magical time in the Marchwood household. Small gifts were often exchanged between Lady Audrey and her father, and they often spent the evening in quiet conversation, in anticipation of the Christmas ball that was to occur the next evening."

About the Book

Title : A Christmas Surprise
Author : Emily Murdoch
Publisher : Endeavour Press
Genre : Regency Romance
Every year for thirty years Lord Robert, the Viscount of Marchwood, throws a Christmas Ball.
But this year the Marchwood Christmas Ball holds extra importance.
His daughter, Lady Audrey, has just turned eighteen, and it is time for her to be introduced into society.
It is Audrey’s first, best, and potentially only chance of securing a husband.
Especially seeing as there are rumours that the Marchwood money is running dry.
But headstrong Lady Audrey is not sure she wants a husband.
Ever since her mother died she has been left to her own devices.
Though she is very close to her father, it was often the servants she turned to for companionship,
particularly Thomas, who, five years older than her, was always the person she depended on for
She is not ready to leave everything she knows, and the thought of abandoning her father breaks her heart.
She is determined that only someone truly special will take her away from her home.
But with the ball centred around a masquerade theme, everyone is in disguise.
And a handsome stranger threatens to steal Audrey’s heart.
Could he hold the key to her heart?
And when she unmasks him will it be a good, or bad, Christmas Surprise?‘A Christmas Surprise’ is a festive regency romance novella.


Books can be windows to the period and place they are set in. Revolving around the Marchwood Christmas ball, A Christmas Surprise, set in the Regency period is a window to the society of that time.

If you don't know yet, the Regency period was a time when the gap between the rich and the poor increased and the upper class enjoyed a lavish lifestyle at the cost of the poor. It would be of less wonder that Regency novels are all about class and elegance.

Love knows no class or position, and Lady Audrey, the Viscount's daughter has fallen in love with his valet. I would classify A Christmas Surprise as a 'Traditional Regency Romance' as it concentrates more on the romantic plot than on the Regency plot. But the book surely has all the essential elements of the Regency novel - a festive gathering, a troubled heroine, young ladies of "marriageable age" and prospective suitors, mystery and mistaken identity, and emotions muted by social order.

The best part of the book, however, is how Emily Murdoch doesn't tell but shows us the Regency Christmas in an understated fashion. Crackling fires and candles, snow fall and silver plates, come together to paint a subtle Christmas background as Lady Audrey chases the mysterious gentleman who has stolen her heart.

I would recommend A Christmas Surprise as a quick read for regular readers of Regency genres and as a very good introduction for those who are new to the genre. 

 About the Author

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. She has authored a medieval series and a regency novella series, and is currently working on several new projects. To stay updated on her writing and upcoming books, follow her BLOG and on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM.

I read this book with my blogger buddies at Writerly Yours, discussing each chapter through the weekly Twitter chats hosted by Jorie as we read along. Be sure to stop by each blog on the tour and join in the conversation on Twitter through the hashtag #AChristmasSurprise.

This post is also part of the #WYChristmasReadathon 2016 that we're organising at Writerly Yours, a fun challenge to read and blog this holiday season ! Don't forget to check out the other books on my Christmas reading list as well.

Have you read A Christmas Surprise? Or any other festive regency novella? Tell me all about it through the comments!