Christmas Angel (Company of Rogues, Bk 3)
Christmas Angel - Company of Rogues, Bk 3 Author:Jo Beverley It was a Christmas season they would never forget... — HE HAD NO INTEREST IN LOVE — Leander Knollis, Earl of Charrington, was tired of gadding about the Continent on diplomatic missions. It was time he settled down in his family home with a wife at his side and enjoyed a proper English Christmas. But his search for an intelligen... more »t woman without fanciful notions of romance was a frustrating one indeed... until he met the very sensible Judith Rossiter. Her figure was most attractive, her manner most pleasing, and her heart kind and gentle. All he wanted was a marriage of convenience, but soon he began to wonder whether his eminently practical mind would be overruled by his surprisingly foolish heart.
LOVE WAS ALL SHE COULD OFFER
It was an odd sort of marriage proposal which left Judith perplexed. Why would an earl, and a most attractive one at that, have any interest in marrying an impoverished widow with two children? It was a peculiar notion to consider but the opportunity to better her family's fortune, particularly in the advent of the approaching holiday season prompted her to accept his offer. It seemed an ideal arrangement in which she had nothing to fear... unless it was losing her heart to this most enigmatic earl!« less
Weary of war and wandering Leander Knollis, Earl of Charrington, wants a home, a wife, and a good old-fashioned English Christmas. As he seems unable to fall in love, however, he will only consider a marriage of convenience to a sensible woman. He is beginning to despair when he encounters the perfect candidate, a woman so devoted to her late husband's memory that no one thinks she could ever love again.
Judith Rossiter is in no position to turn down the astonishing proposal, but it worries her. Why would an earl, and a most attractive one at that, offer marriage to an impoverished widow with two young children? At least his main condition should be easy enough to fulfill. After the folly of Judith's first marriage, a sensible rather than a sentimental union is exactly what she wants. Or so she believes when she says her vows.
This is the 3rd book of the Company of Rogues series. I have enjoyed the entire series, and am on my 2nd reading. Leander Knollis, Earl of Charrington, was raised traveling Europe with his parents and has inherited his father's diplomatic skills. He also seems to have inherited his father's inability to fall in love. After watching his mother spend her life devoted to a man that did not return her affections, he decides that he will find a woman who is willing to accept a comfortable, yet loveless marriage. He is introduce to Judith Rossiter, the "Weeping Widow" of a well known poet. She seems to be the perfect candidate as her husband has left her penniless, she seems devoted to his memory, and she comes with two children, which Lee believes will help him settle into his life in England quickly. What he doesn't know is that any love she had for her husband died years ago. I felt that this was a sweet story and enjoyed watching this married couple fall in love.
Searching for a sensible woman to marry, especially since he seems unable to fall in love, Leander Knollis, Earl of Charrington, finds a suitable candidate in Judith Rossiter, a poor young widow with two small children, and as they embark on a marriage of convenience, unexpected love blossoms between them.
When compared to Jo Beverleys first Company of Rogues book, or even the second, Christmas Angel leaves a lot to be desired. The first few chapters were interesting enough though now that Ive reached the end I think it was somewhat weak, and set the pace for the whole book. Leander has just returned from abroad and is looking to take an English wife to help him settle to his duties as an earl, but finds that every young lady he encounters falls in love with him on site. Thats believable given how ladies were taught to be during that time and that all of the Rogues are devilishly handsome. Then, however, the forced entry of the heroine and Leanders instant decision that shes the one just from one fumbled meeting with her ruined any magic there might have been. So the story progressesand progressesand progresses. Theres a lot of interaction between Judith and Lee, but so many of their assumptions and actions are based on this idea that neither of them wants to love the other, when its obvious that they already do.
The storys climax was also rather anti-climatic. Some stories are written to be what I call meanderingtheyre not so much about an extraordinary set of events as about character development and the world around. Christmas Angel felt like it was trying to be one of those books but didnt quiet grasp it. In retrospect, the climax is easily identifiable but during the read there was little lead up and almost no emotional attachment to what was happening. Frankly, the part that had me most ensnared the whole time was when Bastian goes missing (while under Nicholas care no less!) and is found half frozen at the top of a huge tree.
The closing was a bit hard to swallow, though in keeping with Ms. Beverleys style. I call these smothering happy endings and thus far Beverley is the only writer Ive encountered who qualifies for the label. I had to put the book down several times in the last ten pages because it was just so cheesy I felt somewhat embarrassed to be reading it.
For its lack of plot though, Christmas Angel does have its high points. Leander is a rather unique man; Ive never encountered one quite like him. The way his parents relationship plays into his life is also rather effective and lends weight to his ideas on love and marriage, and his affection for Bastian and Rosie always earned an Aww! moment. As with all of the Company of Rogues books, the weaving-in of other Rogues created highlights throughout and kept the world itself from being flat. When in doubt, go on to another member of that elite circle!