A Cottage Christmas (novella) by EmmaLee McCrickett

Cott Xmas

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An imaginary fiancé and an ill-fitting engagement ring. Dangerous cliff-side sleigh rides and gingerbread houses. An unexpected guest who refused to marry her.

When Cornelia Quinn returns home from her first term at Smith College nothing is as she expects. After their mansion is damaged in a fire, the Quinns move their Yuletide celebrations to their Newport “cottage.” But that’s not the only surprise–Geoffrey Ford, whom Cornelia was meant to marry until that awful day last summer, will be joining them.

But Cornelia can’t allow herself to be distracted by petty things like Geoffrey. She has come home for more than the holidays–she’s running out of tuition money and she can only get it by claiming the inheritance Grandmother Elisabeth left her, but she’ll have to be engaged before the solicitors will pay out.

Publisher and Release Date: Wild Rose Press, July 2013

RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: Late 19th Century America
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Julie

Cornelia (Nel) had been under the impression since childhood that she would someday marry Geoffrey Ford. However, the previous spring Geoffrey announced that if they married, it would later become a matter of regret for both of them.

Humiliated beyond words, Cornelia goes against her father’s wishes and goes away to Smith College. If she wants to continue her studies, she will have to convince her father she is engaged to be married so she can have tuition funds. So her friend’s cousin agrees to be her fake fiancé.

Traveling by train to visit her family for Christmas and hopefully gain some college funds, the last person on earth Cornelia expected to run into was Geoffrey.

Initially, Cornelia’s father is ready to turn her away until she flashes her ill-fitting ring at him and declares herself engaged to be married. The announcement is surprising to her family, but Geoffrey is absolutely stunned.

The recollections of the spring day when he had approached Cornelia to explain his position on their becoming officially engaged and then married, are different for each of the protagonists. It is also obvious that Cornelia’s family is still in favor of her marrying Geoffrey, but Cornelia has made it quite clear that she wouldn’t marry Geoffrey if he were the last man on earth!

As Cornelia spends more time with her family and Geoffrey she begins to see that her well-being was in minds of those who cared for her and loved her. Once she I= able to control her anger and recover from the humiliation, she begins to mature and as a result learns patience and respect. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Cornelia will in time have all the things she has most desired. While this book was really, really short (more of a novelette, In my opinion), the characters were well defined. The writing was clear and easy to read and understand. The character development had to move fast, but it did take place, which is hard to pull off sometimes in short stories.

This is a nice, sweet, romantic, Christmas novella perfect for your lunch or coffee break.

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