I'm one of the publishers of All About Romance. I love reading romance, as well as mysteries, fantasy, history and historical fiction, and all kinds of other things. Staying on Goodreads for now but trying this out in case I decide to switch.
As we coast into the last month of the 2013 TBR Challenge, we get to one of my favorite categories – holiday romances. Since I was unpacking from a move, I just ended up reading the first holiday tale I encountered – Sandra Madden’s 2001 Christmas romance, Comfort and Joy. I probably should have kept right on digging because this frustrating little book definitely lands squarely in C grade territory for me.
The book has its good points. For starters, I loved the 1870s Boston settings. It’s refreshing at times to have a break from the Regency/Victorian England That Never Was. And since I tend to like romances with characters from different classes, the old money Boston hero and Irish immigrant heroine in this story caught my eye as well. Though acceptance of their romance comes perhaps a bit more easily than it would have in real life, the author does still give some consideration to the prejudices and class tension of the time.
So, what’s the basic set-up here? Well, we have that old standby of amnesia. Most amnesia tales I read have heroines in peril, so giving us a hero with a lost memory made for a little change of pace. Charles Rycroft comes from a prominent Boston family, and runs his father’s publishing company. He also collects art and while bringing home a prized sketch of St. Nicholas, he gets beaten and robbed. Maeve O’Malley, an Irish parlormaid, finds him and takes him home to nurse back to health. As it turns out, Charles has no memory of who he is and when Maeve is compromised while caring for him, her father and brother push the two into marriage.
The story opens as Charles has regained the memory of his identity and he is shocked to learn that he has married Maeve. His first impulse is to quietly seek divorce, but something about Maeve touches him and he decides to take her to the Rycroft home to celebrate a fine Christmas with all the trimmings before setting her aside – with a generous settlement, of course.
This is a partial review. You can find the complete text of my TBR Challenge post at All About Romance.