Friday, March 2, 2012

Rational Love: Christmas Angel

If two people make a sound and reasonable decision to unite together in a plan of matrimony, secure in the knowledge that they can be good friends and helpmeets without going near that icky thing called love, and those two people are in a romance novel, can anyone predict the ending?  Jo Beverley's Christmas Angel doesn't pretend that the suspense lies in the HEA, or even in the skating rink smooth path to that destination, but rests the story in the slow unfolding of both Judith and Leander's trust in themselves. Luckily they (and we) are easily distracted from the pip-squeak forces pulling them apart -- how embarrassing to be the first one to admit that you've accidentally fallen in love with your spouse despite all promises?

So a lot of this book dashes back and forth from the shadowy menaces of both their families.  Her side is much less talked about but ultimately more sinister, while his side is a giant shadow form cast by a tiny and cute little mammal. This is a cosy story about two adults in an imaginary world who build a new family together despite having precious little experience in how to do that.  It's one of Beverley's Rogue books, about a group of fifteen or so very close friends and the women they marry.  I find that conceit charmingly implausible -- who has fifteen best friends? -- but it gives a nice umbrella to her wish to tie all these books together.

I do think the title is silly; yes, Christmas happens, but it's not that important to the story except as an excuse to make Leander try Judith's homemade wine. "The Poet's Bride" or "The Diplomat's Seduction" or "The Bereaved Angel" would all have at least something to do with the story.

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