Cotillion Christmas Feasts
2014 is the final year of Ellora’s Cave’s Cotillion Christmas anthologies. Enjoy these sweet Regency Christmas tales this year while you still can!
Message From Saralee
Thanks, Susana, for inviting me to talk to your readers about my Christmas story, Her Very Major Christmas.
I love food – what can I say? I was the kind of kid who really loved reading cookbooks, imagining the glorious smells of cinnamon and citrus, and looking at photographs of perfectly prepared dishes. Canning vegetables and making marmalade is a fun challenge that always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment. Baking cakes and making marvelous stews is one of my favorite ways to show love.
So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that this year’s Cotillion Christmas theme was the traditional holiday feast during the English Regency! Old cookbooks offer us a fascinating glimpse into the foods of the past, and I couldn’t wait to explore the dishes that might have appeared on a nobleman’s dining table in 1815.
Of course, since making delicious food is important to me, my heroine had to enjoy cooking too. Even though an upper-class lady wouldn’t be expected to slave in the kitchen, she certainly might be interested in making certain special food items like jellies, candies, and other preparations including home remedies. Back in an era when medicines, lotions, and other concoctions had to be made by hand, the lady of the house might well have learned how.
As it happens, Rosalind Joslin’s remedies help to heal the wounds suffered by her cousin-by-marriage, Major Harry Joslin. He’s a gruff and somewhat imposing veteran of Waterloo who finds her gentle, practical nature a soothing balm to his spirit.
About Her Very Major Christmas
Widowed Rosalind Joslin is an extra female in her in-laws’ household. Longing to prove she still has value, she uses her skills to make remedies and medicinal preparations for the poor. She misses the warmth and sun of India where she was raised but looks forward to her first real English Christmas with holly and the traditional feast.
Major Harry Joslin never expected his cousin’s death to thrust him into the unwanted role of nobleman. Still recovering from the emotional and physical injuries inflicted at Waterloo, he’s not ready for the demands of a new position and his family’s pressure for him to marry a debutante. His cousin’s widow is just another complication.
But it’s the season of miracles and two wounded hearts may find love blooming in the depths of a snowy Christmas day.
It was a devilish way to be welcomed into the family.
The dark-haired woman had crept into the library, taken one look at him then screamed and fainted dead away. He’d lunged toward her, hoping to catch her before she crumpled to the floor. He didn’t quite reach her in time.
Women had screamed at the sight of his scarred face before but usually not until they’d gotten a better look at him. Guiltily aware that her unconscious condition was his fault, he gathered her up into his arms, meaning to place her on the sofa at the far end of the room. If he moved fast enough he could put her down before his marked visage caused her to faint again. She was a soft, sturdy little thing with a pale face and dark hair that spilled over his arm.
He only had time to carry her halfway to the sofa before he heard a furious pounding of feet on the floorboards outside the library. The door to the library burst open. Through the door came an elderly lady, followed by an old man with a pair of dueling pistols, one in each hand.
“Unhand that female! Get back, you fiend!” the old man shouted, waving the pistols.
Burdened by the woman in his arms, the major froze as one of the weapons dipped dangerously in his direction.
The gun went off with a roar.
A pistol ball whistled past his head and lodged in the wall near the window. The lady shrieked.
The old man looked astonished, turning the pistol around so he could squint down the smoking barrel. “By Jove, I didn’t even touch the blasted trigger.”
…delightful tale of unexpected love at Christmas: 4/5 stars
After being widowed and orphaned and finally taken in by her late husband’s crotchety old grandfather, Rosalind finds her purpose in life by studying herbs and treating the aches and pains of the neighborhood.
Major Harry Joslin never expected to inherit his grandfather’s baronetcy, but the unexpected deaths of his cousin and uncle make him the last male heir. Still recovering from his experiences at Waterloo, Harry just wants to live a normal life, and his cousin’s pretty widow seems like the perfect lady to share it with.
But the powers that be seem to have other plans. Little do they know that Major Harry is no man’s—or woman’s, for that matter—fool.
Her Very Major Christmas is a well-written, sweet Christmas love story about two wounded souls who find love and hope in each other. The characters are well-drawn; the inclusion of the Spanish servant is a special surprise.
If you like short, sweet Christmas reads, this one will not fail to please.
About the Author
Saralee loves to read, and always knew that writing was the only career for her. Next to reading stories, what could be better than thinking up stories all day long? But instead of writing the stories that were teeming in her head, she wrote other things: Newspaper articles, public relations releases, legal briefs.
Now she’s turned to writing fiction full-time. Her traditional Regency romance, A Limited Engagement, is available from the Cotillion line of stories, as is her 2013 Christmas Cotillion novella, Lydia’s Christmas Charade.
She is a long-time member of the Central Ohio Fiction Writers and the Romance Writers of America.