Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dueling Review Continued - Sabrina Jeffries and 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS

On Monday, I posted part one of the "dueling review" with LSUReader at this link.   Today I offer you part two.

Kim:  I am ambivalent to holiday books, mostly because I read them in advance of the holiday. Yet 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS grabbed my attention in the first chapter. It is a heartfelt story that stands alone from the holiday references. But add the Christmas cheer and it was a five star winner for me. What are your thoughts on holiday books? What drew you to this book?

LSUReader:  I like books with Christmas settings. They put me in the mood for one of my favorite times of the year. (I also admit to singing Christmas carols in July!) Add that Sabrina Jeffries is one of my go-to authors for historical romance, and 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS is a book I knew I wanted to read. She didn't disappoint. One thing that I really enjoyed was her use of Clement Clarke Moore's poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," in the novel, not just as a catchy hook for a title. So many of us are familiar with that Christmas story; we forget what new and different concepts it introduced. Here, we get to see how 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS 1826 characters related to the then recently published story of flying reindeer and stockings hung by the chimney.

The Night Before Christmas in Hawaii

Kim:  I am also ambivalent to children in romances. Yet Jasper was the glue that brought the characters together - he was the gift from Camilla's loveless marriage. He brought hope to the Dowager Countess. He gave Pierce the chance to be a child again at Christmas. What are your thoughts on children in romance books? Did you bond with Jasper?

LSUReader:  I agree with you on children in romances generally (I'm ambivalent) and specifically with regard to Jasper. His character was necessary to move the whole story forward. Jasper's relationships with his mother, the Dowager Countess and Pierce are key to their character growth. The six-year old offers a second chance at mothering for the Dowager Countess. He is a reverse mirror of what might have been for Pierce; and it is both painful and illuminating. For Camilla, Jasper is the reason she can understand the tremendous hurts of the past in the Waverly family. I can't imagine a successful conclusion--or such an enjoyable read--without Jasper.

Picture of Children Ahead Road Sign - Free Pictures -

Kim:  Sabrina's writing enveloped me, taking me to Herefordshire's countryside and its Christmas fair. What part of Sabrina's writing worked for you?

LSUReader:  I did read the two earlier novels where Pierce was a supporting character (books 4 and 5 of Sabrina's Hellions of Halstead Hall series.) My first impressions of him were of a stiff and unforgiving rake with little regard for family. And then I read 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS prologue. That quickly, I was drawn into his story. Within a couple of chapters I began to understand why he was this way and I hoped (but wasn't sure) he could be freed from his miserable past. I admire how Sabrina so artfully and thoroughly redeemed Pierce and the other  'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS characters who were guilty of deception. She answered those fears that I had early in the book. That's what worked best for me: how Sabrina brought her characters to a peaceful, forgiving resolution. 

Picture of Yat Rock Viewpoint, Herefordshire - Free Pictures -
Yat Rock Viewpoint, Herefordshire

Mahalo, LSUReader, for joining me in this dueling review - we must do it again in the future!   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 - a Hawaiian holiday tote plus 3 titles from the Hellions of Halstead Hall series:


To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment children in romances - love them or loathe them?

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


  1. I think a scene with a child in a romance novel can really show a softer side to a H/H. So I don't mind them/it at all.

  2. Adding children adds a different dimension. Sometimes they are wonderfully done and sometimes they are out of place.

  3. I like children in books if they are not overbearing brats and they don't take over the storyline.

  4. Most of the time I prefer not to have children in romances.

  5. Thanks for the great post! I don't mind the children as long as they are portrayed realistically as children and not mini adults. They can add need comic relief and show a main character's softer side :)

  6. I like having children in romance books, specially if they have a connection with our hero and heroine (for instance if it happens to be their own child), the child serves as the bond to the both of them.

  7. I don't mind having children in romance novels. They can sometimes help show a softer side to a rough hero that maybe he didn't even know about. It can give the characters a common ground. I really enjoy Sabrina Jeffries, thanks for the giveaway.

  8. It's not something I usually look for in my romances. If it has "baby" in the title, I usually stay away lol. But as long as they're not the major theme, I'm ok with it.

  9. When done right children in romance books could be a great addition. It really shows another aspect of the parentless hero/heroine's behavior with children. When they adapt or grow fond of children it shows me they are a great character.

    Some of m y favorite books with a child in it was Lisa Kleypas's Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. Now that was done great! Anotehr good example is Rev it Up by Julie Ann Walker...

    But Sabrina Jeffries has alawys been an author I loved reading!

  10. Only if done right. Sometimes I feel like the kids are written all wrong.

  11. It doesn't bother if children are in romances, but I don't usually seek the books that have them.

  12. I don't mind children in romances as long as they don't overwhelm the story. I think they are a great addition to Janet Chapman's Spellbound Falls series. I loved this particular tale and enjoyed the chance to get a brief glimpse of the characters from the Hellions of Halstead Hall series. Thanks for the dueling reviews (0:

  13. It depends on the story and who the kids belong to.

  14. I love Sabrina's books. Thanks for the dueling reviews!

  15. I am pretty neutral on this but usually prefer that any children involved are not overshadowing main characters or used as some plot device...

  16. While I wouldn't want children in every romance I read, I feel they can add to the plot when there is an appropriate place for them.

  17. I love children in romance. They show a different side of the hero and heroine.

  18. I don't love or loathe. If the children are a fit for the story I'm happy.

  19. I love children but at the end of a romance. I would'n mind, sometime that a romance had a child to help the story. I love Sabrina's books!
    Nicole Laverdure, Canada

  20. Having children in the story can add an additional dimension to the relationship between the hero/heroine but as in any other story, it depends how well the author has written the book.

    Sabrina's books are awesome!

  21. Another fun duo review! Loved it!
    I really don't enjoy children in novels, or movies. They always just seem to be props that need rescuing or do things that cause issues. If a writer can make me feel for the child and actually integrate them into the story then they have some talent.

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