Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review - - His Christmas Pleasure

His Christmas Pleasure
By Cathy Maxwell
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: November 30, 2010

Maxwell sets the tone for this delightful historical romance in the first few pages with one of the most original "first meets" I've read in a while.  The daughter of a wealthy banker, Abigail Montross is attending a ball hosted by her uncle, the Duke of Banfield and hoping that Freddie, the man she has always loved will finally stand up to his family and offer for her. She steals away to the library to meet Freddie but is stunned by the sight of the baron de Vasconia standing with a gun pointed to his own head. Thinking he’s about to take his own life, Abby launches into action…quite literally.

Handsome Spaniard and charming rogue, Andres Ramigio, baron de Vasconia, has no money, a title he “borrowed” from his late father (he’s illegitimate) and is in the sights of Lady D, an increasingly obsessive married woman on the verge of creating a full-blown scandal. Attending a party at the duke’s home, Andres hopes to make the contacts he needs to land a government job but instead finds himself hiding out in the library where he notices a pistol on the desk. He has no intention of pulling the trigger but as he raises the gun to his head and stares into the mirror…

At last he understood his father.

Death would be freeing. No more struggles to reclaim a heritage Andres knew was hopelessly lost, though he feared it had never been his to begin with. No more carrying the weight of his own mistakes, his many failures. Or the pain of living without love…

Andres might have been born of the noble house of the Ramigio, but he had betrayed that royal lineage more times than he cared to remember. He was unworthy. A failure. If he had any honor at all, he’d pull this trigger, just as his father had.

In an instant, Andres goes from staring into the mirror to laid out flat on the floor, all six-feet of him, felled by a red-haired, freckle faced “force of nature” – one he’s surprised to discover he finds very attractive. Before that thought can go any further, they’re interrupted by the arrival of Freddie and Andres hides behind the desk while Abby waits for what will surely be a proposal of marriage. But she’s devastated when Freddie tells her that his family will never allow him to marry her and that he’ll be marrying Abby’s cousin, the duke’s daughter, a much more socially acceptable choice than a banker’s daughter. If that isn’t bad enough, Abby discovers on the ride home from the party with her parents that her father has tired of waiting for Abby to marry and “selected” a man for her: a middle-aged man, twice widowed, with thirteen children!

Things aren’t going so well for Andres either. He’s waylaid by Lady D’s husband who offers him a proposition and has no intention of taking “no” for an answer.  He'll hand over the deed to an estate in Northumberland if Andres will leave London and never return. It’s his dream – to own property where he can raise his beloved horses. But, to make it come true he needs money, the money a wealthy wife could provide. He proposes a marriage of convenience to Abby, one that will allow her to escape an unwanted marriage and bring him the money he needs to run his new estate. They escape London together and marry on the way to Northumberland but that’s when things get dicey. First, Abby’s father catches up to them and announces he’s placed her inheritance in a trust and she won’t see a penny until she’s been married for three years. Then they arrive at the “estate” and discover it’s not quite as advertised. But great risks often bring the best rewards and marriages of convenience sometimes evolve into the love of a lifetime. Abby and Andres are two people who are convinced they are unworthy of love but life has thrown them together for a reason. Now it’s up to them to decide if they’re courageous enough to step forward and accept the challenges that could bring them their greatest happiness.

Cathy Maxwell has once again created a wonderful story of love and romance with deep emotion, simmering sensuality, her trademark humor and two main characters that had me cheering for them throughout. I was impressed with Abby’s grit and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and Andres, especially, endeared himself to me. In spite of some unsavory things he had done in his past, he proved to have a strong core of honor and an unwavering heart. He’s one of my favorite heroes of this year.

I highly recommend His Christmas Pleasure.


Who are your favorite romance heroes of 2010?  

I thought it would be fun to share a little Christmas pleasure so I'm giving away a copy of Cathy Maxwell's His Christmas Pleasure to one of our readers who comments on today's review.  The winner will be selected by 


  1. PJ
    What a great review Cathy maxwell is an autobuy author for me and my copy arrived the other day YAY although to be honest I am a bit behind on my reading lately so many things to do and I have been reading some Christmas stories so this one will be soon.

    As for your question boy is that hard. I have read so many fantastic books this year I don't honestly know if I can choose, one that comes to mind is Julian from Pamela Clare's Hard Evidence and who can forget Tarquin Vale from Anna Campbell's My Reckless Surrender or Jardine from Christine Well's Sweetest Little Sin. There really are many more LOL

    Have Fun

  2. Great review, PJ. My favorites include Peregrine from Loretta Chase's "Last Night's Scandal," Kevin from Shannon McKenna's "Fade to Midnight" and Shane from Barbara Freethy's "On Shadow Beach."

  3. awesoem review sounds like a great book ty or posting!

  4. My favorite heroes..... gosh there are so many I fell in love with this year.

    Gideon Trevithick (Captive of Sin) is amazing.

    So is Harry Valentine (What Happens in London)

    I also have a new soft spot for Anthony Westfield (Scandal of the Season)

    And last but not least Randolph Pierce (A Christmas Promise)

  5. Sounds like a book right up my alley. I am with Helen, I don't know if I can choose plus I am into so many backlists right now, what I am reading are not current books at all.

  6. Great heroes, Helen!

    I'm behind on my reading too. I've been working lots of long hours and, let's face it, there are just so many hours in the day. ;-)

  7. Wasn't Peregrine wonderful, Jane? I waited a long time for him to grow up and take his place as a hero. He didn't disappoint! :)

  8. Hi Kirsten! Another great list!
    I haven't read A CHRISTMAS PROMISE. Will have to check that out.

  9. Hope you enjoy it, Dianna. I fell in love with Andres!

  10. Thanks for the review. One of my favorite heroes is Peregrine from Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase.

  11. PJ, this is a great review. You summed up well on Cathy's writing: passion, romance, emotion, wit, and love. I look forward to reading HCP!

  12. Oops, forgot to answer the question: I read an old book of Suzanne Enoch's this year, and even though he isn't a "new" hero, my fave of this year is Saint.

  13. PJ, I love Cathy's books (and Cathy, too)! This one is on my list, and I hope to find some time over the holidays to indulge in a few hours and lose myself in this book. It sounds fabulous!

    Great review, PJ!

  14. Like everyone else, hard to pick a favorite out of so many wonderful heroes. Leo from Married by Morning, Ralston from 9 Rules and Parkerton from Mad about the Duke all come to mind, but the list of wonderful heroes just keeps growing as I sit here. :) (That growing list includes some of the other wonderful guys already mentioned). How can I possibly just pick one! ;)

    Thanks for the review.

  15. Fabulous review, PJ! I'm really going to have to pick this one up and see what happens. I love Cathy's books!

  16. I too have enjoyed several of Cathy's books over the years.

    heroes I liked all of Elizabeth Hoyt's Legend of the Four Soldier heroes, Alistair, Reynaud, Samuel and Jaspar.

  17. Well, I fall a little in love with all the heroes in the books I read, so it is hard to list just a few favorites. Here are some heroes from books I have read within the last couple of months.

    Jamie Sinclair- "The Devil Wears Plaid" by Teresa Medeiros

    James Tremont- "Mad About The Duke" by Elizabeth Boyle

    and Maya Banks' heroes Sam Kelly in "No Place to Run" and Ethan Kelly in "The Darkest Hour"

  18. Cathy's book is on my TBR shelf, PJ. Your review makes me think I need to find time to read it ASAP.

    Like everyone else, I find it difficult to choose one hero from a stellar crop for 2010. Any list I made would certainly include Walt, the tender-hearted biker from Robyn Carr's A Summer in Sonoma, the perfect alpha Finian from Kris Kennedy's The Irish Warrior, and bad boy/good man Tyler O'Neill from Molly O'Keefe's The Redemption of Tyler O'Neill.

  19. Some of my favorite heroes of 2010 were:

    Lord Vere in His At Night by Sherry Thomas

    Jack Pallas in Something about You by Julie James

    Bram in What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    Gabriel in Nine Rules by Sarah Maclean

  20. without thinking on it to much i'll go with a couple recent ones.
    Zach Angelino from Roxanne St Claire's new series the Guardian Angelinos, Edge of Sight and How about Cindy Gerard's Wyatt Savage from her Black Ops series, Risk no Secrets. Both awesome guys. Hot too!

    Lisa B
    modokker at yahoo dot com

  21. My favorite hero is Michael Stirling from When He Was Wicked. Also,Happy Birthday Jane Austen!!

  22. A few of my 2010 favorites:
    Carter Maguire (Nora Roberts’s Vision in White)
    Gabriel St. John (Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake)
    Maximilian, Viscount Downing (Anne Mallory’s The Seven Secrets of Seduction)
    Sebastian Summerhays (Madeline Hunter’s Ravishing in Red)

    Great review--another add to my TBR list!

  23. Sigh. This put a smile on my face. Great review, PJ. Looks like another winner from Cathy! :)