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How about a little paranormal Christmas romance to start the holidays off? A small, light (well maybe a bit dark) story with an interesting twist; a little ghost here and a little time travel there; all to get us in the mood for the magic of this time of year. While this is a short book, I believe you might find it just your cup of Christmas tea.
by Eugenia Riley
Length 103 pages
In modern-day London, cynical reporter Jason Burke greets his current assignment of covering the Christmas Candlelight Tours with all the “Bah Humbug!” of a true Ebenezer Scrooge. Then a cryptic invitation takes him to the historic Simmons Hotel, where the “ghost” of lovely Annie Simmons leads him on a haunted, poignant tour of the deserted mansion. At once Jason is captivated by his ethereal tour guide, especially when the forlorn beauty tells him that she died on the hotel staircase in 1852, when she learned that her true love deserted her.
Soon Jason is transported back in time to meet the real Annie Simmons as a flesh-and-blood woman, and to experience firsthand the wonders of celebrating Christmas with her in Dickens’s England. But Jason finds he has arrived at a juncture in time only weeks before Annie will die! He has been warned that his time here will be limited, and he fears Annie is under the spell of a rival, a cad who will surely betray her and cause her death! In order to rescue Annie, Jason must resurrect his own nobler nature and recapture the true spirit of Christmas. Can Jason save Annie in time for Christmas? Or will his newfound love for her doom her instead?
About the book:
Jason doesn't want to be covering "How London Celebrates Christmas". The fact is, he doesn't really want much to do with Christmas at all. But when he receives an invitation to what he thinks is a 'Christmas House' - something dressed up in old fashioned decor - he decides it should fit well with his assignment. However, when he arrives at the house, something doesn't feel quite right. First, where are all the people and second, why is it so dark. Curiosity bites him hard, as it does so many of us, and he enters the house. There he meets the ghost of one Annie Simmons, who takes him on a tour of the house, then drops the bombshell that she died on the steps of this very mansion. She leaves him with a cryptic message.
Stepping from the house, Jason feels things are a little different. He soon discovers he has been transported to Annie's time. With a little luck and some special Christmas charity, Jason finds himself rooming in the mansion, and spending a great deal of time with the lovely young woman. Soon he wonders if Annie's finance will be her demise, or just maybe it will be Jason himself who causes her death.
I enjoyed reading this little book and believe, if you like light paranormal and medium time travel, you will, too. I especially enjoyed Jason's dilemma as he wonders how long he will be in the past and whether he should keep his distance from Annie or try to protect her from her fate. It is Annie that unwittingly makes this extremely hard on Jason as she continues to include him during several family Christmas outings.
The characters are done well although the book is a bit too shallow, mostly because it is short. I feel we would all benefit if Riley had added about half again as many words to thicken the stew, I mean plot, since her writing is quite enjoyable. This novel comes in at less than 30,000 words and the kindle price for this work is appropriate at less than a can of soda.
My recommendation: I recommend this book to those who want something short with good writing, a bit of time travel, a smattering of Christmas, and a strong romance.