Friday, January 3, 2014

The Earl's Christmas Colt by Rebecca Thomas

Five stars
What a perfect story for the holiday season! I loved Lady Arabella Suton and Oliver Westwyck, the Earl of Marsdale! Lady Arabella, or Bella as her brother Will loving calls her, receives some big news! Her brother has arranged a marriage for her. She is very upset with the news. Although she had a season last year, she did not find a match. Lady Arabella is more interested in horses than finding a husband. Her brother understands her devotion to horses and tries to find her a match that will share her interests. Will explains to Lacy Arabella that her betrothal, the Earl of Marsdale , is a man that loves horses and will be a good husband to her. She finds little comfort in his words and runs out into the woods with her beloved horse, Andromeda. At thirty-four, Oliver is still a bachelor. Although a handsome son of a duke he is not married. Years before he was engaged but his fiancee left him. Heartbroken he lost all interest in marriage.

While Lady Arabella is riding her horse in the snow, Andromeda is hurt. She stops at the nearest stable for help. Unbeknownst to her, the stable boy that Lady Arabella meets is really her fiancé. Oliver instantly recognizes her as his intended but decides that he will play the role of the servant that Lady Arabella takes him for. Oliver is curious to learn about his fiancée and why she is out riding in the snow far from her families land. Together they tend to Andromeda and secure her in the stable. Oliver, playing the role of Mr. Carrington, accompanies her to the nearest inn. The weather has turned to dangerous and it is the only place she can stay. While Oliver is securing her a room in the inn Lady Arabella hears the serving girls say that the Earl of Marsdale has arrived at the inn. She is terrified that he will discover her at the inn without a chaperone! Although she did not want the match she knows her duty. Lady Arabella trades her family brooch for a horse and she runs off. When Oliver discovers that she is gone he discovers that she has traded her brooch and runs after her.

They both make their way to a near- by cottage. Lady Arabella and Oliver find themselves in a very awkward situation. He has lied to her about his identity and he knows that she will be angry when he finds out his true identity. Although he wants to be honest with her he also wants to get to know her and her opinion about their upcoming wedding. Lady Arabella knows that if she is discovered staying at the cottage with a man that her engagement will be called off! She is terrified of what the Earl of Marsdale will think. As they get to know each other they learn about each other and both agree that they want to marry. Just as they are being truthful with each other her brother Will discovers them and calls off the wedding because they are found in this very improper situation.

I loved this story! I thought that both characters were very likeable. The mistaken identity was well played out! It didn’t become overdone and it gave both Lady Arabella and The Earl of Marsdale a chance to get to know each other. The writing flowed and was very engaging. I turned the pages anticipating what would happen next. We also learn the reason for Will’s hasty decision to marry off his sister and what special Christmas gift the earl has for his soon to be wife! Perfect holiday story!

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