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The Widow's Christmas Surprise (The Widows' Club Book 5) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 258 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Book 5 of 5 in The Widow's Club
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About the Author
Anne Flosnik is an accomplished British actress with extensive experience on stage and television, with commercials, and with voiceover work and audiobook narration. The narrator of over 300 audiobook titles, she has received numerous awards and distinctions, including an American Library Association Special Services for Children Award, multiple Earphones Awards, and multiple Audie nominations. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- File size : 751 KB
- Publication date : September 29, 2020
- Print length : 258 pages
- Publisher : Zebra Books (September 29, 2020)
- ASIN : B082WQT41J
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #314,263 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is quite an emotional story. Hugh and Maria find moments of happiness in the chaos of their lives. Maria married very young and is being forced to grow up fast. She faces an uncertain future, made even more so by the arrival of the new Earl’s family. The Earl is a petty, jealous, greedy man. His oldest son and heir is slime. Both are manipulative blackguards who would have Maria’s (and her daughter) inheritance. Hugh Granger is a wonderful hero - kind, caring, and protective. His future hangs in limbo, due to his brother’s attempted suicide. Hugh’s sister Arabella and Maria’s cousin Jane are delightful. Jane adds a dash of snarky humor a time or two. Gareth, Marquess of Kinellan is awesome at protecting the ladies. Sometimes happily ever after seems impossible, but Christmas miracles do happen. This is a good story. I recommend it.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. My review is voluntary.
Hugh has long admired Maria and finds her irresistible, even though he can’t offer her a stable future. Distraught at the new earl’s underhanded behavior in covering up the discovery of her late husband’s will, Maria opts to spend Christmas in London with her cousin and friends, never expecting events to unfold that will secure the happiness that so eluded her in her two previous marriages.
Wow was this book not what I expected. [You may risk what some would consider spoilers from here, but I’ll try to refrain as much as I can in this thought session.] No light-hearted Christmassy romp here. We actually have some pretty heavy topics introduced a bit here, although they were handled well. Maria was the big issue for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a sillier, more immature heroine. Yes, I understand she was still very young, but after two marriages, one to a rakish philanderer, one would think she’d have developed a bit more understanding and lost some of her naivete, or at least grown a spine. Maria’s cousin Jane was even worse in her own way. As a widow Maria had no need of a chaperone or such strict control over her movements and yet Jane was constantly nagging her. Jane kept on and on complaining about delaying her trip to visit her own lover in Scotland, even after Maria had ceased asking her to stay. Jane was definitely part of the reason Maria was still so naïve and unable to stand up for herself; she kept Maria dependent, even telling Maria she was to young to hear the story of Hansel and Gretel. (I had hoped this was a joke but given Jane’s insistence on treating Maria like a recalcitrant child, I’m not so sure.) When Maria truly did need companionship to save her from unwanted advances, Jane wasn’t there, and Maria kept on making the same stupid decisions right up to the end.
My annoyance with Maria aside, the basic story here wasn’t bad, although the dialogues were a bit cumbersome. The romance here, as well as the characterization of Hugh and Maria, was rather flat. We didn’t get much in the way of time these two actually spent together so their relationship didn’t seem very believable or deep to me. I appreciated them standing up for themselves in the end, but even that didn’t seem to be a permanent change, especially on Maria’s part. Their intimacy was also lacking for me and Maria was rather aggressive with Hugh to the point that I felt sorry for him. Especially given her previous description of her physical reaction and attraction to another man, however unwanted, just undermined her feelings for Hugh for me and that connection was never really strengthened. The villain here was believable, if dumb, and got much further than he should have simply because Maria didn’t bother to think and make inquiries about her situation, and nor did her supposedly worldly cousin. I also found it a bit odd that Maria’s baby was only trotted out a couple of times and otherwise mostly forgotten, though I suppose this is understandable given Maria’s immaturity. I also wound up feeling sorry for Maria at how fickle her friends were in their failure to wholly believe her over a known villain. She certainly deserved better friends and family and I wound up being proud of Hugh for his treatment of his own family and for how he and Maria went after what they truly wanted.
This story was a bit slow for me and I struggled to maintain my interest. Given my failure to connect with the characters in this book and the two previous installments, I’m not sure if I’ll continue this series.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Although twice widowed, Maria is young and perhaps that explains why she so often seemed immature to me. As a widow, she should have known about several things that she seemed to have no clue about and her actions often took me away from truly being able to like or be on her side throughout this romance. I eventually liked Maria as she grew a bit through experience and Hugh’s presence, but I never felt like she deserved the man who loved her. And for that reaction, I am somewhat sorry, but nothing has changed my mind – not even a very satisfying ending.
Hugh had my attention and my heart from the very beginning. His devotion to Maria, even from afar and helping where he could, was precious to observe. Although he has his own troubles brewing his love for Maria never faltered. I liked Hugh, it’s just as simple as that.
I wish Maria’s daughter had made more appearances in this story. Perhaps seeing her cherish her little one, bond with her might have changed how I felt… but that happened only rarely.
I know it sounds like I hated this story which is far from the truth – I did enjoy The Widow’s Christmas Surprise, just not the way I expected to, and mostly through a few, select character’s actions. Not all Christmas centered Romances are going to be light and festive, some will be dark and brody and this was the case for me with Hugh and Maria’s tale.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher, Kensington Books via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*