This was a novella recommendation from Nalini Singh's blog. It sounded so cozy it seemed a perfect read for what has turned out to be the dreariest day so far this year.
William Renwick, Earl of Casslebury sets out to find a wife with his usual military precision, but the quarry in question manages to continually elude him. Right when he thinks he has her cornered, he finds out her companion has some unusual proclivities. No, it's not dirty, but it is one of the most humorous and novel openings to a story that I have had the pleasure to read. I simply adore a military man with a sly sense of humor who only thinks he knows what he wants. Patience is a plain woman, of limited means, advanced age for her time period, and even more dismal family lines. Not at all the sort of woman an earl would choose. Fortunately our intrepid hero doesn't continue to pursue the wrong woman out of stubbornness, and in relatively short order a lovely sort of silly and romantic relationship blooms. Of course it had to bloom in short order, this is a novella, which means that there are very few conflicts than can be capably handled, and in this case it was the BIG SECRET. It isn't my favorite trope, but with the secret in question, I can understand why it was kept.
A Christmas Dance was an altogether lovely novella that brightened my dreary day right up.