The synopsis on the back of the book:
London, 1853: Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there’s nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.
William is a gentleman’s son, a charming but penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.
William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t. So does William. Deceiving the old man breaks both their hearts. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.
Can two hearts survive such deception?
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Goodreads Rating: 4.49
Why I chose this book:
I love a good holiday novella. A holiday story that is neither too long or too short. Also, I thought it was cute that the story was influenced by Charles Dickens stories. I haven’t read his books since I was in High School (and that was almost 20 yrs ago!).
First Initial Thoughts
When I first started reading this book, my first thought is that it read kind of like a Dickens novel. So with that it came with more of a traditional writing, and that took a little getting use to after a few pages.
Mina is a Innkeeper’s daughter and helps her father serve food in the restaurant. There she meets William Barlow. She has a secret crush on him. Then she is in for a surprise when William asks her to pretend to be his wife at a family afternoon tea party. She is completely smitten but also wary about the whole situation. Mina is also a big reader and a huge fan of Charles Dickens novels.
William is a young man who could potentially get an inheritance from his Uncle Barlow. His uncle is not fairing well and is planning to announce the heir to his inheritance and estate. I think he felt horrible about lying to his Grandfather about Mina but he also didn’t want his Uncle to name Percy as his heir.
Speaking of Percy, him and his wife Alice are absolutely despicable. They are forthright of their opinions and want to make sure everyone knows of it. They also have horrible plans for Uncle Barlow.
I was never a big Dickens fan when I was in High School but I did love the stories and the atmosphere he created in his stories. And this is no exception. Though he may have not written this story, Michelle definitely created a world influenced by his novels. The setting really reminded me of the world in The Christmas Carol.
Uncle Barlow is to name heir to his estate during Christmas. I found it very commendable for Mina to keep the charade going with William when it wasn’t probably the best of ideas. However, it worked out for the better. William and Mina are so adorable together. Even though they are complete opposites (as you will find out in the story), I thought that made their relationship unique and more realistic.
I found it cute that Uncle Barlow and Mina got along well from the start. He also enjoyed Dickens novels and reading in general. Barlow had such a fun loving personality. And did he figure out that William and Mina were not married from the start?
I really liked how this story ended. I won’t spoil anything but I was surprised by who Uncle Barlow chose for the heir of his estate. I was also glad that even though Percy and Alice didn’t get reprimanded by their actions, they still had to internally live with the decisions they made.
Overall, this was such a fun holiday story to read. Michelle hooked me from the start and I couldn’t finish till I knew the ending. I thought she honored Dickens well with this story.
Would I Recommend?
Yes, most definitely. Since this is so short, one can probably finish this in one day. However, If your not a big fan of Charles Dickens you may not enjoy it.
You can purchase the book —-> HERE
Are you a fan of Charles Dickens classic books? If so, which one is your favorite?