(The St. Dwynwen Series, Book #1)
by Candace Camp
Genre: Historical Romance | Seasonal
Gabriel is intrigued by the vivacity in Thea’s flashing gray eyes when she accuses him of fathering the orphan, even as he adamantly maintains his innocence. The brooch is one he remembers all too well, however, and Gabriel is determined to find the mother of the missing child. As the mystery around the baby deepens, Gabriel is continually thrown together with Thea—and finds himself growing more entranced every day.
Even with whispers of winter scandal swirling around them, they cannot deny the longing in their hearts. A longing which promises the best gift of all: a shelter from the storm... in each other’s arms.
Thea Bainbridge has fully acknowledged she's a spinster and being the vicar's sister while turning twenty-seven unmarried has fully put her "on the shelf". Even though she dearly prays that things were different, she accepts her way of life until a baby is mysteriously left in her church's Christmas manger scene. Her only clue from the baby leads to the newest resident in town, Lord Morecombe (aka Gabriel). Before either of them know it, they're swept up into a race to uncover the babies identity and the reason behind its abandonment ... all while confronting their deepening feelings for each other during the festive Holiday season.
What a pleasing book! I highly enjoy the concept of time passing for two people who shared a pivotal moment in the past and meeting again in the future, but that was just one of the many delightful parts of the story. Little Matthew was way more adorable than a real baby could ever be, but he added a lot of cuteness to the overall tale and his interactions with everyone throughout really warmed up their written characters. The mystery concept was intriguing and it was nice to see Thea bloom throughout and really witness her hardened persona becoming softer and more open to love. Many of the side characters were appealing and I'm interested to see who will be the next couple in this series (*fingers crossed* for Damaris & Lord Rawdon)
Likes: Gabriel's persistent passion toward Thea was something I highly enjoyed throughout, he wasn't shy about public displays of affection or playfully tuning Thea's words back on her in a "mind-in-the-gutter" sort of way - Fun guy!
Dislikes: I had a different outcome in mind for Gabriel's sister, thus I was somewhat sad to find out the real truth!