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. After all, even a dutiful daughter has her limits.

A Taciturn Tradesman

Ned has come a long way since his days working as a draper’s assistant. He’s wealthy, ambitious, and eager to take a wife. But the courtship advice issued in The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Though he’s followed it to the letter, Miss Appersett still doesn’t wish to see him again. Frustrated and hurt, he’s more than happy to oblige her.

A Christmas Courtship

Severing ties with her former beau 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 the annual Christmas party at Appersett House and give him one more chance to win her? But this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

My Rating: * * * * *

My Review:

This was a little Christmas treat for me. It was a lovely Victorian Christmas setting, and I just loved the cover! Our heroine, Sophie Appersett, is the daughter of a baronet, Sir William, who puts all his money into modernization of Appersett House in Derbyshire and into his comfortable lifestyle. The money has dried up long ago, but his spending goes on. He and Sophie’s sister Emily make no sacrifices and it’s up to Sophie and her mother to economize to keep from becoming destitute.
Like any dutiful, Victorian era daughter, Sophie is willing to marry for the financial assistance her family needs, but the handsome Edward Sharpe is too grim, too serious and too quiet for her. Sophie does what any strong-willed young lady would do, she breaks off their courtship, but was that a hasty decision? Could there be more to Edward? She decides to give him a second chance.
Edward (Ned) Sharpe, a draper’s son, is a highly successful and wealthy factory owner. For the past twelve months, he has been considering marriage, but it is only when he sees Sophie Appersett that he seriously contemplates getting married and approaches her father for permission to court her. He’d wanted her from the first. Had known as soon as he looked at her that she was someone worth having in his life, no matter the cost. Sophie and Ned are such appealing characters and the Christmas festivities provide the perfect setting for their romance to flourish. These are two people who are learning to be truthful with one another, and not hide their true character. This was such a sweet holiday romance and so glad I picked it up!

Mimi Mathews

“Unless you strenuously object, I intend to kiss you this Christmas.”

“Not very romantic, is it? But I don’t want you to feel powerless with me. I value your intelligence and your strength. I’d rather you stood at my side than in my shadow.”  Ned

“I don’t need the next eight days to determine how I feel about you. I already know how I feel. I admire you, Sophie. I want you for my own. If I have to modernize your father’s estate into the next millennium, it would be a small price to pay for the privilege of having you.” Ned

“Under the mistletoe. Under the gaslight. Under the stars.” Ned bent his head close to hers. “Perhaps all three.”