Better Than a Present by Cynthia Moore

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While in London on business during the Season, Lord Paul Russell, attracted by a beautiful woman, fails in securing a place on her dance card. The next morning when he returns to Cornwall, he wonders if this mystery woman will still be available.

Bored by all the eligible gentlemen she meets, Lady Samantha Grayson desires more than their meaningless conversations and preoccupation with silly fashion requirements. Only one gentleman catches her eye, but she misses her chance to speak to him, never encountering him again the rest of the Season.

A sudden snowstorm on Christmas Eve morning catches Samantha alone and unprotected. When she seeks shelter in a nearby cottage, she is astonished when the door opens to the very man who caught her interest in London a few months ago. What was doomed to be an uneventful Christmas, to her pleasant surprise could be better than a present.

Publisher and Release Date: Wild Rose Press Inc., June 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: London, 1818
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Kate

Better Than a Present is a well-written quick read but it is also unpredictable and the dialogue constantly kept me guessing what was coming next. The detail Cynthia Moore adds is interesting and I found each character’s characteristics were relateable to myself in some way – especially in the case of Samantha, a 24 year old woman eager to meet the gentleman of her dreams.

Samantha proves to love all things pertaining to nature, adventure, disguises and has a general love of excitement:

“She [Samantha] loved spending as much time as possible outdoors. On days when bad weather kept her inside, she loved to read books describing the native trees and flowers of Great Britain. She had a secret wish to someday visit Cornwall and see the lovely gardens there by the sea.”

Also, I loved the humor that the author throws into the romance just as the challenges faced are becoming evident. It was very amusing for me to read about the fix that Samantha, for example, gets herself into when her charming plan of escape is largely obstructed by a Christmas Eve storm and as she finds shelter in preparation for the worst of it.

I can’t say that I felt a wealth of Christmas spirit, but if you are ready for a good, faced-paced sweet romance, Better Than a Present is the adventure for you to enjoy.

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