Monday, December 28, 2009

Under The Kissing Bough - Shannon Donnelly

Shy Eleanor Glover is astounded when wickedly handsome Geoffrey Westerly, Lord Staines, asks for her hand. Yet he makes it plain that he wants nothing more than a sensible wife—and a Christmas Eve wedding to please his dying father. With three beautiful sisters and a dearth of suitors herself, Eleanor does not refuse—yet she soon fears that despite Geoffrey's generous promise to give her anything her heart desires, he won't offer the one thing she truly wants…his love. Eleanor's reserve is a challenge to Geoffrey—he once loved another woman, and believes his passionate nature scared her away. Yet when he finds Eleanor seated beneath a mistletoe bough, tradition demands that he pluck a berry and kiss her. He doesn't anticipate his lovely bride's warm response, but as the wedding draw nears, he resolves to present the surprisingly strong-willed Eleanor with a gift far more meaningful than a betrothal ring…his heart.

When I first read the blurb I thought the story had great potential for a nice Christmas read. It mentioned a marriage of convenience and I could see how two people could get to know each other during a Christmas house party and surrounded by family. I was a bit worried though about the mention of the hero scaring a past love interest with his passionate nature, that sounded weird... and I'm afraid it was...

Eleanor is our common plain, intelligent and shy heroine that the hero never notices at first but learns to value in time. She accepts a marriage of convenience because her parent's tell her to. She finds the hero charming and attractive but sees that he only offered for her because his father is dying and wants to see him wed. And she soon finds out that he has loved another in the past and people believe he is still in love with her. Geoffrey is marrying because his father wants him to; he wants a sensible wife and a marriage with no emotional entanglements. He loved a woman in the past and she run away from him when he tried to embrace her and he still feels deeply the pain of her rejection.

Now everything would be well if we just had them getting to know each other and falling in love. But that's no exactly what happens, we see Geoffrey learning that Eleanor is a generous, intelligent woman but we don't really get to see her knowing him all that well except that he hurts inside. And the woman from his past does appear several times and while there's an attempt to explain why she rejected him (sounded pretty weak to me) I was left wondering why she married that weird man, he could be less passionate but he was weird. Eleanor and Geoffrey never really speak of their feelings till they are married and I would much preferred to have them address their problems before, because there are several scenes where Eleanor is jealous of Geoffrey and Cynthia and because the situation of Geoffrey's father being revealed was the perfect opportunity for them to speak of their feelings.

I am curious about Eleanor's sisters, especially Emma who seemed the opposite of her sister...

Grade. 3.5/5




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