REVIEW of A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

Holiday by GaslightSophie Appersett has tried to get to know her new suitor Edward Sharpe for two months. But no matter how politely she expounds upon the weather, she can elicit little response from him. Her profligate father is adamant that the match take place–how else will he fund the modernization of their country manor?–but Sophie is unwilling to sacrifice her entire life for the sake of her father’s pet projects. If Mr. Sharpe would only be candid with her about his feelings, she could make an informed decision!

Edward Sharpe (Ned to his friends) was smitten by Sophie Appersett at first sight. Not just her beauty, but her winning smile and gracious carriage have made him certain that she is the one for him. But is the gulf between her aristocratic birth and his own place in the moneyed middle class too deep to bridge? The etiquette book he purchased has warned him to take things slow and keep conversational topics insipid–but could that be the completely wrong advice for winning a thinking woman’s heart?

This charming Christmas novella highlights the necessity of candor when courting. Sophie extracts a promise from her suitor to spend Christmas at their country house (now lit by gaslight!) so that they can drop their pretenses and discover whether or not they suit each other well enough to marry. The Author’s Note mentions that the story is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South and that there are several N&S Easter Eggs hidden in the book.

After reading this, I couldn’t resist surfing YouTube for some of my favorite highlights of North and South–so if that was the goal of this fanfiction novella, then mission accomplished!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

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