The Earl of Christmas Past (Novella) - Kerrigan Byrne
Date Read: November 24, 2020
Review: Seriously, I am dead. Stick a fork in me. This novella destroyed me. I do tend to like paranormal romance on top of my favorite - historical romance so this was a sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top! Kerrigan loves the spicy, angsty pairings and Vanessa & John are definitely combustable when together. Very hot. But the connection between the two just breaks your heart, too. Both of their backstories were tragic and you really root for them to find a way for the impossible. Oof, I bawled more than I have in a long time while reading. I really connected with them. This was such a rich, satisfying read even though it's short. Sometimes I forego novellas because they're "too short" for me, don't miss this just because it's a novella. It's wonderful. One of my favorites this year.
Series: Goode Girls #5 and also connected to the Victorian Rebels series
Tropes: Strong Heroine, Ruined Spinster, Only One Room, Cursed Ghost.
Premise: Vanessa Latimer, on her way to photograph the Scottish highland lochs, gets trapped in a raging snowstorm after her carriage breaks down and her driver never returns with help. She drags her own heavy camera bag out into the freezing snow to find some shelter during the storm. The local inn has no more room and the inn keeper is sending her away when his wife intercedes. They decide to give her "Carrie's Room" even though it's haunted and they never give it to anyone. Vanessa doesn't mind. She's rather intrigued. She was there to see if she could get a photo of the Loch Ness Monster, so why not a ghost? As the night progresses, and Vanessa gets out of her freezing wet clothes and bathes... she manages to pique the desire of Earl Jonathan de Lohr who can only become sentient and party corporeal between equinox and solstice and has haunted the room for 150 years, though he knows not why. She certainly gets a rise out of him while in the bath. She can "feel" him too. It's lust then love at first sight. There's a secret that not even John knows about that will set him free, but does he want to go? Will he have a choice? How will an independent, free-spirited spinster and the apparition of a Culloden soldier find happiness? You'll have to read it to find out.
The Good: It was everything you'd expect and more. Hot as hell on a wintery night.
The Bad: I wish it were longer! I would love to see this as a longer novel with more interactions before the resolution and more after the current ending. Basically, I want more!!!! Let Netflix pick this up as a series.
**I was given an ARC in order to write this unbiased review.**
Author Website: https://kerriganbyrne.com/