Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she's certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected -- a young and handsome English lord.
I am a big fan of Carla Kelly's novels which are usually very interesting reads. But this time I finished the book with mixed feelings.
The first half of the novel is a classical and delightful Christmas story but the second turns into a dangerous adventure involving diplomatic secrets!
The holiday season has come again but this year it is different for the Wynswiches. It could well be the last Christmas they spend in their home because Sir Bertram Wynswich recently died and left the family with an enormous amount of gambling debts.
The only thing that could save them is a lucrative marriage offer for Ariadne, the eldest daughter of the family and also a very proper and beautiful young woman. A few days before Christmas Percy, the eldest brother who is in diplomatic service, comes back home with two gentlemen, Sir William Clinghorn and Lord Gilbert Ingraham.
Sir William is rich and looking for a wife but he turns out to be a very unpleasant man. Miss Marian Wynswich, the younger sister, is going to do everything in her power to save Ariadne from a horrible fate. Trust her to come up with a most outrageous idea!
Marian is very young, not even seventeen, she is outspoken and impetuous but she has a loving heart and her family means the world to her.
Gilbert is drawn to Marian and her carefree spirit. Very quickly and with ease they become good friends. Surprisingly they discover that they have a lot in common. It is a real pleasure to see them interact with each other.
The first half is definitely brilliant and very funny, you cannot but laugh despite the family's uncertain future.
On the other hand I have some reservations about the last half. In my opinion it "kills" somehow the spirit of the beginning. Don't get me wrong, it is as well written as the rest but you are literally snatched from a cozy Christmas family gathering and are thrown into deadly thriller without warning! This sudden change is awkward, but nonetheless there is an entertaining plot and a lot of action to follow.
Because of this oddity I give 3.5/5.
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley
See the original review on goodreads