Christmas at the Chateau
by Rochelle Alers
Bainbridge House - Book 2
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Release Date: November 30, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
Executive chef Viola Williamson has to have the kitchen up and running by the time the Bainbridge House restoration is complete. Working closely with Dom Shaw, Viola is struck by her hotter-than-mulled-cider attraction to her family estate’s handsome caretaker. It’s obvious that he feels it, too—yet Dom keeps his distance. Can Viola convince him that with all this cooking going on, he’s the only one stirring her heart?
Christmas at the Chateau is a slow-burn romance with a very strong family dynamic. It's also the second book of a family-based series and, although I enjoyed it, I feel that enjoyment would have been more complete if I had read the books in order. I'll be reading that first book soon.
I'm intrigued by the diversity of the Williamson family and the reasons behind the adoptions of the children (now adults). I'm also very curious about the secrets surrounding Bainbridge House and looking forward to discovering more as the series progresses. Alers does a good job of seeding future stories with unexpected twists and turns in this one.
A lot of page space in this book is given to the history of Bainbridge House as well as the current renovation, which I loved. As someone who lives in the same area as a famous French Chateau in the U.S. that I could spend days exploring, I found it all endlessly fascinating. I'm hoping that history will continue to unfold as the series moves forward.
The romance between Viola and Dom is a very slow burn for a variety of reasons which I will not go into. I think it's better for readers to discover these issues on their own as they read. I will say that once they reach the point where they begin to acknowledge and act upon their feelings, the story moves forward at a realistic pace.
The food in this book is definitely drool-worthy so you may want to have snacks handy before you begin reading. The romance is satisfying but the house history that intertwines both Viola's and Dom's families, creating issues, and mysteries, both in the past and the present, definitely was the highlight of this book for me. I can't wait to find out what happens next!