Performancing Metrics

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

Book cover of Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly (Historical romance novel review)
One of the greatest benefits of the ebook revolution is that readers are gaining greater access to out-of-print books.  With the digitization and rerelease of these older books, it's much easier to get your hands on a title that hasn't been published in a while.  Carla Kelly's Regency romances were originally published in the 1980s and 90s but are now being released electronically and in paperback.  Kelly isn't a new author, but she's new to me so I took advantage of the release of Marian's Christmas Wish to check out Kelly's work.

Goodreads summary: Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she s certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected – a young and handsome English lord.

My thoughts:  I'm conflicted about this book, because while I found it silly and even irritating at times, I stayed up way past bedtime to read it. That has to count for something. 

My main issue with the book was 16-year-old Marian’s age and immaturity.  (And yes, she was immature, even for a 16-year-old.)  Marian manages to engineer the most bizarre situations that no thinking person would ever take part in – like drugging the hero and putting him on his merry, sloppy way to Bath.  I think her actions were supposed to make her cute, but I found her completely asinine.  And about her age – I know it’s historically accurate for a 16-year-old girl of that era to be contemplating marriage, but I’m not comfortable with that, especially when the hero is so much older.

On the other hand, I adored the hero – Gilbert Collinwood, Lord Ingraham.  He’s intelligent, funny, thoughtful, and wise, and he finds everything about Marian adorable.  The main reason I stuck with the book until the end was because of Ingraham.  I wanted him to have his own HEA (happily ever after) even if I don't think Marian was quite ready for her own.  I was a bit peeved that he frequently called Marian "brat," but he meant it endearingly and well, she was a brat.

There was a subplot involving espionage, and some drama over the Wynswichs’ future, but it didn’t keep me interested.  Marian's family was supposed to be charming and quirky, but they were really rather annoying – apparently it’s a family trait.

I can’t give this book a full thumbs down, though, because Lord Ingraham really is quite a marvelous hero.  Kelly could have improved the book by giving us his perspective and sparing us from Marian’s inanities.  Glancing over Kelly’s published works, I think this book is typical of her style, so Kelly fans may love this book.  As for myself, though, without more Ingraham I’d be hesitant to read more.

Rating: C+
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Publication Date: September 8, 2011
Original Publication Date: 1986
Length: 304 pages
Sensuality: Very mild – a few kisses

I read this book as part of the Book Lovers, Inc's Holiday Reading Challenge.  Interested in participating? Join here!

Romance Novel Book Reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm (historical Christmas novel by Carla Kelly)

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.


  1. I liked this book more than you did though I can understand your points. Lord Ingraham was my favorite part of the book as well, he was a great character.

  2. Anne ~ That's why I struggled with writing a review - I didn't like it, but I can see how some people would enjoy it. And yes, Ingraham was such a great character!

  3. Definitely sounds like one of those "gah, I shouldn't be reading this but I just can't help it!"

    It is frustrating to find books like that with good things about them - it makes you see their potential!

  4. I couldn't help but laugh at Marian but I don't think I would have found it at all funny if I was reading it. Great honest review.

  5. Allison ~ Yes!! That was totally it!

    Alexis ~ Lol, I can see how it seems like she *would* be funny. Just doesn't work for real, though!


Thank you for your comments!

Romance novel book review