When a flash of lightning destroys the venue for his family's annual Christmas ball, Lord Benedict Sheffield intends to enjoy a relaxing holiday for once. But after twelve days of beguiling Lady Amelia's guerrilla tactics, he's up to his cravat with tinsel . . . and tumbling head over heels in love.
Maybe this list should have been a regency Christmas countdown... at least, my reading list certainly seems to have a strong theme this year! This book is the first in the Dukes of War series, and I have to admit, it was so good that I have already bought and downloaded the next book in the series, and pre-ordered the one after that. Poor Doog, my long suffering Habibi, had to suffer through me interrupting his witch-house music at three in the morning just to tell him how much I loved this book (and its sequel)!
Lady Amelia Pembroke is the most organised person to ever have existed. She manages her brother's estate perfectly, handling issues before they can even arise, aided by her simultaneous keeping of five different journals. But, she has realised that her brother is stalling his own search for a wife, perhaps in fear of making her role redundant. Her solution is to find a husband of her own, ideally before her 30th birthday, due just after Christmas (30 sounds just too old to attract a suitor). Amelia plans to vet her list of potential suitors at the 75th Annual Sheffield Christmas Ball, but it seems the ball has been cancelled due to circumstances that not even Amelia could foresee- the venue has burnt down. Not to be stopped, Amelia convinces Lord Sheffield to let her find an alternative venue, and to arrange the ball, all in under 12 days. But, her intricate planning is disrupted by Sheffield himself, as he continually goes out of his way to try to show Amelia just what relaxing feels like.
I really liked the relationship that built up between Amelia and Sheffield- their budding relationship does seem to be genuinely built upon an appreciation for each other's characters (as well as, of course, a physical, visual appreciation). Amelia's organisation skills are impressive, bordering upon creepy, but the whole book is played off in a mildly humorous tone that lightens up the romance.
Highlights: The visit to Almanacs
Low points: the cover picture- does this book no justice at all!