The Christmas Spirit by Elisabeth Fairchild

NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED.

For Christmas, Kirkland Fleming, Earl of Copeland, promises his guests a fortnight of eating, drinking, and hunting ghosts at Broomhill Hall. Though he fears his ill health may soon turn him into a ghost himself, he hopes to find a pleasurable diversion in holiday cheer. But icy roads prevent his guests from arriving—all but the one he did not invite…

Though the beautiful Miss Belinda Walcott has arrived for her own mysterious purpose, the magic of the season soon casts a spell on them both…one that may even be strong enough to revive Kirkland’s flagging Christmas spirit.

Published November 2012 by Penguin Books/Intermix.

RHFL Classifications:

Heat Level 1

Regency Romance

REVIEW RATING: 5 STARS

Review by Caz

The Christmas Spirit is a beautifully written, heart-breaking but uplifting story, that, while definitely romantic isn’t a traditional romance in the “boy-meets-girl; boy-and-girl-live happily ever after” mould.

Kirkland Fleming, Earl of Copeland is by no means an old man (his age isn’t given, but from the descriptions of him, he can’t be more than thirty-something) but he is dying because of a weakness in his heart. He knows he won’t see another Christmas, so invites his family to join him, determined to make this the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Unfortunately, terrible weather puts paid to his plans and the only guest who is able to make it is a young woman, Belinda Walcott.

She has come with the intent of avenging some ill perpetrated by another Copeland – but cannot help herself being drawn to this Copeland, just as he is drawn to her. They soon find themselves re-appraising their situations – she realises cannot exact revenge on a man she is coming to love, and he begins to believe that perhaps he should not eschew love, but should rather embrace it for the time he has left.

From the moment the lovely Belinda arrives, the atmosphere between her and the earl is charged, filled with almost kisses, stolen embraces and flirtatious glances. The romantic and sexual tension is deliciously taut, the language sensual as the reader watches them fall deeply and hopelessly in love.

Belinda is a mystery, and the keen-eyed reader will spot the clues as to her identity and probably work out just who she is before all is revealed – but this does not in any way spoil the story.

I absolutely loved this book – but it should carry a “Kleenex Warning” because I was in tears on more than one occasion. There is a happy ending, although not, as I have already said, in the traditional sense. But it’s there, and it’s a beautiful conclusion to an enchanting and romantic story about forgiveness, the redeeming nature of love and coming to know the true spirit of Christmas.

Penguin/Intermix are reviving the old Signet Regency Romance line in e-book format, meaning that a number of titles that have been out of print for years are available once again. In addition to these titles, there are one or two that have never previously been published, and “The Christmas Spirit” is one of them.

About me

I’m a musician, teacher and mother of two girls and have always been an avid reader. I was introduced to the novels of Jean Plaidy at the age of eleven and have never looked back! I love good, meaty, well-researched historical fiction – whether it’s about real figures (Sharon Penman) or fictional ones (Dorothy Dunnett), but I’m a sucker for a well-written historical romance, too.

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