Family comes first for Abigail Whitlock. She’ll do anything to make it home to Seven Swans in time for Christmas and to attend her sister’s wedding – even if it means braving unforgiving mountainous terrain, fickle winter weather, and a captivating escort who threatens to steal her heart.
Country and duty come before all else for Major Evander Holt. He’s scheduled to arrive at his new assignment by year’s end, but a rockslide, a wily politician, and a headstrong, impetuous lady put his travel plans on hold. He doesn’t need to come to her rescue, and he certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about Abigail he can’t resist…even if it means risking his career.
Publisher and Release Date: The Wild Rose Press, November 2014
Time and setting: Virginia 1867
Genre: Christmas-themed Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer rating: 4 Stars
Review by Vikki
I thoroughly enjoyed this heart-warming tale of loyalty and dedication to one’s family no matter the cost. Seven Swans Bride is a well-paced, well-written story and easily read in one sitting. It’s the kind of story that pulls at your heart-strings and has you cheering for the hero and the heroine as they travel down the path to true love.
Abigail Whitlock has one goal – to make it home in time for her dear sister’s wedding on Christmas Eve. When an enormous rockslide blocks the train tracks, Abigail is determined to go on and seeks out someone to guide her through the mountains on horseback. Major Evander Holt comes to her rescue, even though it’s the last thing he wants to do. But as an officer and gentleman, he can do no less. He cannot let Abigail go off without an escort.
As they make their way along the trail, they take the railroad tunnel carved through the mountains. Abigail has a fear of dark tight places, and the major does what any gentleman would do and talks her through it, sharing details of how the tunnel was built and the story of how he became a major in the Army.
An attraction grows between them as they continue on their journey. Can Evander win this feisty woman’s heart, or will she keep to her stubborn independence and send him on his way when they arrive at Seven Swans?
For such a short story, the plot is amazingly complete, and the characters are fully fleshed out. I quickly became enmeshed in the story from the beginning and stayed that way until the end. The author’s description of the characters is vivid, and I could easily picture what they looked like without her needing to go into too much detail. She allowed me to use my own imagination, which for me is always a good thing.
While this is definitely a sweet historical, there is a lot of sexual tension between the hero and heroine without the story being full of angst. There is a slow, natural progression of their developing feelings as they make their way to Abigail’s home. Evander is a true gentleman, even though he is clearly very attracted to her and would like to show her how he feels. I will admit that they do fall in love incredibly fast, and the story might have been a bit more credible if they had possibly known each other prior to the journey. Nonetheless, I could see this couple together. They do experience quite a bit during the trip and have to quickly learn to trust one another as they face several terrifying situations.
Seven Swans Bride is a thoroughly and enjoyable gentle romance with a sprinkling of interesting historical tidbits thrown in along the way.