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Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once Upon a Christmas Eve

by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Adam Rutledge, Viscount D'Arque loathes Christmas but when his carriage breaks down and his grandmother takes ill, he's forced to take refuge with the St. Johns during the holidays. Sarah St. John loathes any kind of rake and views Adam as the worst possible cad imaginable. But neither can deny the growing attraction between them.

A cute, quick Christmas novella. The romance feels a bit hasty, which is always a side effect of the novella format but all the characters are wonderful and well drawn. Hoyt's take on the Frog Prince in the epigraphs for each chapter is hysterical. If you're a Hoyt completist or just looking for a decent Christmas historical romance, this is worth picking up but not mandatory otherwise. ( )
  MickyFine | Jan 5, 2018 |
Once Upon a Christmas Eve is the final wrap-up novella in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. It’s been a great ride, and I’m sorry to see it finish. But as clichéd as it may be, all good things must come to an end. This is a story that I know many long-time fans of the series have been clamoring for. As for me, it was a welcome addition to the series, but not one that I was going ga-ga for, like so many others. If memory serves, Sarah and Adam were first introduced in Sarah’s brother, Godric’s book, Lord of Darkness, which was over four years ago. I have some vague recollection of an attraction between them, and in checking my review of that book, I discovered that I mentioned Sarah possibly making a good heroine. However, I recall so little of them that I wouldn’t have been bothered one way or the other, even if they hadn’t gotten their own novella. As it is, I liked the characters and their story was nice, but it was somewhat lacking in substance. Therefore, I could only give it four stars, which is perhaps a tad generous, but I often tend to be more forgiving of deficiencies in novellas since there’s less room for story development. So as long as it holds my attention fairly well and has decent characterizations and plot, then I’m generally happy.

Sarah had a bad experience with a rake in her youth that led to her reputation being ruined. Therefore she doesn’t trust them. Adam is as rakish as they come. He knows how appealing he is to women and is always pursuing a different woman, most of whom are married. He hates Christmas for sympathetic reasons, but because he loves his grandmother and wants to make her happy, he’s taking her to the country for the holidays when their carriage breaks down on a cold, snowy night. Riding to the nearest estate for help, he finds the St. John family in residence with their holiday festivities in full-swing. Adam and his grandmother, who has a bad cough, end up staying through the holiday, which gives Adam time to woo Sarah, who is rather dismissive of him at first. However, the attraction between them burns bright.

While the physical attraction between Adam and Sarah is immediate, I can’t say that I felt much of an emotional connection at first. In fact, I detected a bit of telling rather than showing, which is highly unusual for this talented author. That combined with the rapid pace of the story-telling made it difficult for me to engage with the characters on the deeper level that I crave. It was in the couple of quieter moments they shared, when stories of their pasts began to emerge, that I really started connecting with them. But ultimately I found myself wishing that the story was just a little longer to delve a bit more deeply into their respective issues. As is, they overcome them in pretty short order, leaving nothing more than for Sarah to decide whether she can trust Adam enough to give him her heart and Adam to decide if he finally wants to settle down. All of this occurs in a matter of days, so it’s a little too quick to be completely believable, but overall it wasn’t too bad.

As for the supporting cast, all the St. Johns were there along with a few new holiday house party guests, but the only previous characters to put in an appearance were Godric and Megs. While they’re one of my favorite couples and I very much enjoyed seeing them, I still found this to be a tad disappointing. In this respect the previous novella, Once Upon a Maiden Lane probably would have been a more fitting end to the series, only because all the characters appeared (in cameo) at the very end. This might have been because Once Upon a Christmas Eve was originally slated for a 2016 release, but for some reason was pushed back until this year (2017). This was a relatively minor thing, though. It might not have been the most memorable story with which to end this long-running series, but I did like it. Now I’m just patiently waiting to see what Elizabeth Hoyt comes up with next. ( )
  mom2lnb | Dec 28, 2017 |
Adam Rutledge is taking his grandmother to a friend for the Christmas holidays when their carriage breaks down in a snowstorm. They take refuge at the home of the St. John family including daughter Sarah. Sarah hates rakes, and Adam is definitely one though he's intrigued by a woman he can't win over.
It's always fun to see what's going on with the Maiden Lane characters, so I was happy to see Megs and Godric again. This is a cute story, perfect for a quick read with a likeable hero and heroine met briefly earlier in the series. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Dec 7, 2017 |
Sarah and Adam. Light-hearted, short and sweet. ( )
  pgchuis | Dec 5, 2017 |
I received an ARC of this novella in exchange for a fair review. Reading this novella was bittersweet because it’s going to be the last of the Maiden Lane books and I am a bit sad about that. You can read this novella as a stand alone, it does have characters from other Maiden Lane books in it but you will still enjoy it even if you haven’t read any of the others. My only complaint is that I wanted more story because as I said I am not quite ready to say goodbye to Maiden Lane. The story is a lovely Christmas novella of how a rake meets his match with a bonus of a frog princess story in the chapter headings. Sizzle level is steamy. So when the holiday season is getting you frazzled make a cup of tea find a cozy spot to curl up in and enjoy the story of Sarah St. John and Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque. Publishing date Dec 5, 17. ( )
  nmgski | Nov 25, 2017 |
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Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque loathed Christmas.
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A heartwarming stand-alone novella from New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Hoyt!

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday - and Adam loves his grandmother, so he'll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they're forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he's ever met....

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she'll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it's the one gift this mismatched pair can't wait to unwrap.
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