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A Winter Scandal (Legend of St. Dwynwen) Mass Market Paperback – October 25, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Some books are just more fun to write, and A Winter Scandal was one of them.  (In fact, the whole Legend of St. Dwynwen series was that way.)  I had had the Christmas twist for this in the back of my mind for years, although I had originally thought of it as a contemporary book.  However, when I came up with the characters of the rakish Gabriel and Thea, the vicar's sister, I realized that this story was perfect for them and for the Regency period. 

A Winter Scandal gave me a chance to delve into the Regency era Christmas traditions.  The popularity of things like the Christmas tree and Christmas cards really came afterwards in the Victorian period.  But it was a joyous occasion for Regency folks, too, and I think you'll enjoy this glimpse into the Christmas season in the little Cotswolds town of Chesley.

About the Author

Candace Camp is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than sixty novels of contemporary and historical romance, including the bestselling Regency romances Enraptured, Treasured, and The Marrying Season. She grew up in Texas in a newspaper family, which explains her love of writing, but she earned a law degree and practiced law before making the decision to write full time. She has received several writing awards, including the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award. Visit her at Candace-Camp.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: Legend of St. Dwynwen (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451639503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451639506
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I will start by saying that this book is not precisely my cup of tea. If I was to judge it solely on my preferences, I would give it three stars. But, in the name of objectivity, I am giving it four stars, because if I put my "romance tastes" aside, this is not a bad novel at all.

"A Winter Scandal" is a sweet little holiday romance. The Christmas Season is fast approaching, and, the publishing houses will be releasing all those feel-good around Christmas romance novels - this is the first one of those novels I have read this year.

Set in a little village in England - precise year not given - this book is a tale centered around discovering the mother of a mysteriously abandoned, adorable child, and, of course, that search throws our protagonists together, enabling their attraction and feelings to form.

Althea Bainbridge is our female protagonist. She is the vicar's sister, and as such, she is encumbered by propriety and societal expectations. Thea is a tall, "plain" woman, who has, you guessed it, insecurities about her appearance; however, she possesses great intellect and a fondness for reading - but thank god Candace Camp let's go of that "book" thing early on in the novel; I positively hate it when an author goes on and on ad nauseum about a heroine's "superior intellect" just for show, never proving to the reader that the heroine is actually intelligent; Camp does not do that; Thea is clever!!! Anyhow, we, the readers, find Althea at twenty-seven, just as she realizes that she has no life of her own and is willing to step outside the boundaries of her deadly-dull existence, and who better to help her along than Gabriel Morecombe.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
3.5 Stars
This was a smooth read and kept me turning pages, interested in the story and the characters, all of whom had realistic faults and strengths. And the town of Chesley was a good backdrop to the story. I also liked that the heroine, Thea, is depicted with a simple and sincere faith and is an active and intelligent woman that a reader can relate to. The plot of the abandoned baby was a refreshing removal from the usual Hero-Has-Enemy or Heroine-Is-Knee-Deep-In-Trouble plot. However, there were several holes in this story as well:

1. Thea is working on a live Nativity for the first part of the book and yet, despite having a rehearsal for it and having it spoken of a number of times, the whole thing disappears as the story progresses and we never see this Nativity completed. This is a distracting omission and made little sense. Why even put it in the book?

2. That Thea and Gabriel, the hero, met ten years previously was unnecessary. I couldn't place it in the story at all. And though Thea remembers her first and only kiss (who wouldn't?) there is nothing special attached to it, she doesn't fall in love with him or pine for him for the next ten years, she went on with her life and that's that. And since Gabriel forgets or doesn't recognize Thea for a second time, the first time seems a pointless redundancy.

3. Gabriel is always just randomly kissing Thea with no build up. And this starts from the first moment they are alone together. A bit preemptive and hum-drum, I like more tension to develop first but there's not chance for that here.

4. There is a lack of information about Gabriel, the hero, who is never given a title or family background (except for the missing sister). Who IS he?

5. There is no scandal in this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I had difficulty getting through this book. Literally. Others have noted the tiny type size, but it was the badly faded print that most bothered me. Sometimes a few words would completely disappear. The effect made me feel as if I were lost in the heavy snowstorm described in the book and unable to see.

The story itself had positive and negative aspects. Camp writes well -- a definite plus. Her word choices were not jarringly 21st century. She delved nicely into the difficulties and expectations faced by vicars' children. And, the baby in the tale was about 6-7 months old--the same age as the baby in my house--so I can testify that Camp is right on target about the baby practicing sounds, attempting to crawl, and exhibiting coy, charming behavior.

The mystery is interesting, although the characters' continual circle of tossing up possible solutions and then repeating the reasons why those solutions couldn't work eventually became tiresome.

The romance aspect of the book worked less well. It was formulaic, and I felt I had read parts of it verbatim in several other books. I have noticed that in a great many romance novels, the characters finally make love in chapter 13. I've begun guessing at the start of a book whether it will follow the "Chapter 13 Rule." This one had "the scene" in chapter 12, but much of the action wound up in chapter 13. I wonder if publishers suggest guidelines to authors about identical pacing?

If my past self could consult my present self, I'd say go ahead and read the book for a bit of entertainment but don't expect to want to reread the book.
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