Mismatched Under the Mistletoe
Author: Jess Michaels
Publisher: The Passionate Pen LLC (November 10, 2020)
Kindle edition, 173 pages
Romance, Adult historical romance, Regency romance
John Cavendish has carried a secret for most of his adult life: he has been in love with the wife of his best friend, Lady Emily Rutledge, since the first time he laid eyes on her. Years have passed, she’s been widowed and they have become the closest of friends, but that deep feeling has remained. However now the holidays have arrived and she has invited him to a country party with a Twelve Days of Christmas theme. A party where she intends to matchmake all her guests.
Emily has leaned on Cavendish during the lonely years since her husband’s death and she will lean on him once more at her party. Only nothing is going to plan. The couples don’t like each other, the birds are going wild and who knew drummers drumming would get so repetitive and LOUD? Plus, there is the fact that she and Cav are getting closer by the moment, igniting a desire in her that she never saw coming.
Will twelve days of revelry and seduction be enough to lure these two toward a future that could change their lives? Or will fear and angry geese keep love from blooming?
This is a lovely little Christmas romance with some excellent friends to lovers and secret crush tropes.
I adore Emily’s plans for a 12 Days of Christmas inspired house party. How fun! She’s so exuberant and full of life and fun. I also really felt for Cav. The dynamic described between Cav, Andrew, and Emily makes me wonder if polyamorous relationships were something that was discussed/accepted at the time if they might have been a triad. Regardless, the strong friendship and then sparks of something more between Emily and Cav were a delight to read. They’ve got great chemistry, and the hesitancies and pushes forward felt authentic and believable. There are, of course, the usual sorts of stumbling blocks to the friends to lovers trope in that neither wants to risk their friendship if trying to change it fails, with an added layer of the ghost of Andrew hovering between them. What really takes this above and beyond your typical friends to lovers romance is the long-standing one-sided love on Cav’s part, and then the fun twist of the 12 Days of Christmas themed house party. I laughed out loud several times, and also teared up quite a bit. This is a fun, quick read for the holidays.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley/Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.