Monday, October 29, 2012

Aloha to Sabrina Jeffries and 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS

I squealed with delight when Sabrina Jeffries' 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS arrived in the mail for me to review:

Dear Sir,

. . . I feel I should inform you that your mother is very ill. If you wish to see her before it is too late, you should come at once.


Mrs. Camilla Stuart

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has led an unabashed rogue’s life, letting no woman near his heart. Inexplicably abandoned as a child to be raised by distant relatives, he never forgave his parents, refusing to read any of his mother’s letters after his father’s death. Then came a letter that shook his resolve. A Christmas visit to Montcliff might prove his last chance to discover the truth of his past, and come to terms with the stranger he calls “Mother.”

But two surprises await him at Montcliff. His mother is perfectly healthy, nowhere near a deathbed, as her meddling lady’s companion led him to believe. The second is Camilla Stuart herself, a lively vicar’s widow, too bright and beautiful not to arouse the scoundrel in Pierce. Though she alone is reason enough to prolong his stay, he is soon faced with other tantalizing riddles: What secrets lie in his mother’s past to explain his childhood abandonment? Why is the captivating Mrs. Stuart so determined to mend the breach between mother and son? Meanwhile,  Camilla herself is caught up in love’s complications since the arrival of the irresistible earl. As his bold flirtation and suggestive whispers draw her dangerously close, can anything protect her vulnerable heart? If they are destined to share real happiness, there must be honesty between them—yet telling him the truth about her own life may shatter that chance.

None of them can predict the startling revelations to come. Or the secrets, both heartening and shocking, divulged between a mother and son, and between two lovers haunted by their respective pasts, that will make Christmas night at Montcliff one to remember—and the glorious night after, one to treasure for a lifetime.

File:Twas the Night Before Christmas - Project Gutenberg eText 17135.jpg
Image from Wikipedia, citing the Projet Guetenberg (link)

When I posted my review on Goodreads (at this link), I noticed LSUReader rated it with four stars.  I invited LSUReader to join me in a "dueling" review.   Today, I answer her questions ... and later this week, she'll answer mine!

LSUReader:  Forgiveness is a central theme in the book. At times, I doubted the characters could fully be redeemed. How did you view the prevalence of so much painful distrust and deception by so many characters? 

Kim:  The book blurb references two surprises for Pierce at the Dowager House.  There was at least another ... and the days spent with those three surprises lead to a fourth.  I am being vague to not spoil the story for other readers.  As you noted, forgiveness is the theme, so there has to be a conflict.  Sabrina tapped into the "norms" of the Regency era and the customs of titled families to create that conflict - fear of scandal, security, and reputation - that rocked the three central characters.  Sabrina excelled at drawing me into that fear while still making it a lighthearted, even heartfelt, story set during the holiday season.

Berrington Hall in Herefordshire
Image from Prichardson, released to public domain (Wikipedia)
Pierce's estate lies in Herefordshire.

LSUReader:  Hero Pierce Waverly was introduced in Sabrina's Hellions of Halstead Hall series, and several of those characters briefly appear in TTNAC. If you read that series, how did your earlier "acquaintance" with Pierce influence your view of him here? If this was your first introduction to him, does it encourage you to read the earlier series?

Kim:  Pierce appears in 2 of the five books in the Hellions of Hallstead Series.  I read the other three, so I was not familiar with Pierce.   He could have been the garden variety Regency rake in those two books, but he is not in 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS.   Pierce could spend days on Freud's couch, analyzing why he pursues the image of carefree womanizer when he is, privately, a thoughtful man who indulges in the pinafore.   Pierce does inspire me to read the two books I missed from the series - I'd like to see him "in action" as the roving rogue.

File:John-Pettie Two-Strings-To-Her-Bow 1882.jpg
Image from Wikipedia/Public Domain

LSUReader:  It was nice to see so many supporting characters fully fleshed out--the staff of the dowager house, estate manager Mr. Fowler, Mr. Manton the investigator--who was your favorite among them and why?

Kim:  Sabrina takes on the mantle that it takes a village, a country village, to tell a story, especially one of forgiveness.  Supporting characters add dimension to the circumstances and keep the hero/heroine honest of their feelings.   I chuckled at the "competition" between the staff of the dowager house and Pierce's household; it reminded me of Upstairs/Downstairs and even Downton Abbey.   Mr. Manton was a surprising warm character in the last quarter of the book, especially in light of his connection to Pierce's youth.   But I was cheering for Mr. Fowler to be appreciated by Piece and noticed by .... I won't tell.  You have to read the book!   Mr. Fowler was a dedicated employee who did not judge Pierce or his mother.   He was honest and forthright with the staff, including Camilla.  In the end, he wasn't as stern as the dowager's staff thought he was.

File:Dean Bower House.JPG
The Dower House at Dean Castle in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire
Image by Roger Griffith, released to public domain (Wikipedia)

Mahalo, LSUReader, for your questions!  I look forward to your answers!  'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS will be available on Tuesday, October 30.  Check out Sabrina's website (at this link) for the synopsis, excerpt, scoop, accolades, and links to purchase.  I am giving away a special prize today to celebrate its release - a Hawaiian holiday tote bag 3 titles from the Hellions of Halstead Hall series:

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment holiday shopping - do you prefer Christmas fairs, shopping malls, or catalogues?

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 3, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 4.


Kim in Hawaii

Make sure you visit Sabrina's website,, for fun tidbits!

Four from the Goddess Blogs (at this link):
Suzanne Enoch, Julia London, Sabrina Jeffries, and Karen Hawkins
RWA Librarian Day 2012


  1. I so wanna read this book! I shop for the holidays year round, but love to visit Christmas fairs. Not that there are that many round here but it's fun.

  2. I'm going to enjoy your dueling review....I always liked Pierce!

    I had the honor of meeting Sabrina at RT this year what a wonderful lady!

    I deleted my first comment because I realized that I never answered your question -- I shop year round for some people but I do give a lot of gift cards as gifts.

  3. I prefer... to already have my shopping done!! LOL Howver, I prefre the shopping malls, hoping to get it all done in one stop. I never do (get it all done in one stop!) But I do try.

  4. Lately I like gift cards. NO one has to return anything.

  5. I like shopping for Christmas at the local stores, rather than going to the Mall.

    There's no need to enter me into the contest, as I've read all three of these books, and I've got Sabrina's "Twas the Night After Christmas" on order at the library.

  6. I used to hit the Malls to buy Christmas presents for what seems like forever, but in recent years I have converted to online shopping as it's much less of a hassle. Plus I try to buy prezzies as early as possible so I don't have to do a last-minute-dash to the Mall after all. ;-)

  7. I love shopping at malls and outlet malls. :)

    I always end up getting things for myself! :)

  8. I like to give gift cards to my older grandchildren. It's getting harder and harder to shop for them. I do some shopping at the mall and I also give books to everyone!

  9. Christmas fairs are nice, since it's the perfect place and time for people on a tight budget but doesn't compromise the quality. And the more gifts I buy, the more I can give. XoXo

  10. I've never been to a Christmas fair, it seems like it would be interesting. I hate the mall with a passion and I try to avoid at all costs. I would rather shop online.

  11. Don't enter me into the giveaway. I have all the books and loved the Hellions series. I also read Twas' the Night After Christmas. I got an ARC copy and I loved it. I think it helped reading the other books, because Pierce was great. I loved his flirting with the ladies, his humor, and his loyalty to his extended family.
    I do love shopping online or in stores. Never been to a Christmas Fair. Been to Christmas vendor shows with a bunch of retailers in them like Partyite, Avon, Tupperware, etc.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

  12. Oh, a little bit of everything. Wherever I can get some good ideas and hopefully some bargains.

  13. That was way to much fun. I loved the dueling reviews.

    I do ALL of my shopping online these days. I actually have most of it all done because when I find a great deal during the year...I get it.

  14. thanks for a very fun post/review!!! I'm dying to read this series and especially this book!

    Ummm... I do a lot of buying online if I can help it. Amazon has fully sucked me in but every once and a while it's fun to go to the stores to see the decorations and feel the "spirit" of the season :)

  15. I want to attend a Christmas fair or parade. We have them but I haven't visited. Visiting the malls when it's decorated is fun during non-peak hours. I like seeing the shops decorated with a Santa sleigh in the center for everyone to enjoy.

  16. I love Christmas stories Always touches the heart.
    I work in retail so I am not a good shopper , I do love to go to Small towns Not so busy but they always seem to be more Christmas Spirit.
    In 2 weeks one of my favorite towns is doing a Dickens theme So I am planing on going there.
    Have a good one Ann/alba

  17. I've never been to a Christmas fair. I guess I prefer the mall to get the best deals.

  18. Great answers, Kim. Thanks!

    For my Christmas shopping, I prefer the convenience of the Internet. I do like Christmas fairs, too.

  19. I think Christmas fairs are always fun. Malls tend to be a tad bit scary. Catalogs you have to order by a certain time otherwise your in trouble.

  20. I would prefer online or catalog shopping. I can't stand the crowds and craziness.

  21. It depends on my mood. I like Christmas fairs to find all the things I don't know I want. Othewise, I like online shopping.

  22. I love Sabrina's books! I hv 2 of the 3 books other than To Wed a Wild Lord & would love to win it.

    I prefer to shop online. Crowds scare me & I don't have the patience to battle my way through them. I take one look & turn tail in fright.

  23. I'm really forunate to live in an area where there are tons of local artisans and craftsmen in a variety of the mediums. Plus, we have a local Christmas fair of those people. But I'll admit that I do send gift cards to family with small growing children that we see rarely. With mailing costs adding an additional third of the cost to the gift, it just seems silly to send them something that might not fit, be a duplicate, etc. My mom was the Queen of the Catalog shopping!! Hundreds of those things would arrive at her mailbox during the holiday season!!! I know because I had to take them to the recycling bins!!!
    PS.. I adore the images you included in this blog!! Wonderful!

  24. I do not celebrate Christmas, but love to see people so busy buying all christmas thing and decorate christmas tree and wrap a gift :)

  25. Oh how fun! Great idea Kim. And great questions LSUREADER! Can't wait for the second half =)

    (no need to enter me in the drawing, just having fun commenting)

  26. I love the atmosphere of a Christmas fair. I usually get my parents gifts there for something unique. I do lots of online shopping for the convenience. I can enjoy the holiday season with more free time by using the Internet rather than the mall. Thank you for the chance to win this book from one of my favorite authors.

  27. Christmas fairs and shopping malls. As long I go out! :D

  28. I prefer catalogs or online shopping. No crowds, or fighting for parking. I've never been to a Christmas fair. Sounds interesting.

  29. When it comes to Christmas shopping I love the lot. I love gift shopping.

  30. I like shopping over the internet since you can get some good buys.

  31. I guess it depends on eho I'm dhopping for. Malls and catalogs are my favs.

  32. I would prefer shopping malls, but to be honest I think Christmas fairs are fun to go to as well!