What Happens At ChristmasWhat Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 flames

I have come to look forward to Victoria Alexander’s Christmas novels. This year’s was just as fun and yet, I felt that it wasn’t quite as good as His Mistress by Christmas or My Wicked Little Lies (books 1 & 2 in Sinful Family Secrets series).

This one starts out with twin sisters Beryl and Camille talking about Camille’s ridiculous plot to ensure the man (a foreign prince) who’s courting her both has the perfect English Christmas and proposes to her as well. Their family is not quite “normal,” so since no one is in the country, Camille hires a troupe of actors to play her family.

Let the games begin!

The farce is off to a raring start when Camille’s new “sister” decides her part would be much better played if she were a tart. The lady who plays her mother can never remember her own name, let alone that of the part she’s playing. And while all of this drama is just getting started, Camille is hit with a blast from the past.

Gray has just blown back into Town under the impression his uncle, the man who raised him, is dying. Lo and behold his uncle is in great health.It was a trick his cousin played to get Gray to come home. Gray bailed 11 years ago and hadn’t come back once. The day before his long-time friend Camille was to get married, he walked in, declared his love out of the blue, and when Camille didn’t immediately declare her undying love right back, he left for America to make his fortune.

Camille is shocked to see Gray in her family’s country house, but since he won’t leave and decides to stay on through Christmas as her cousin, she’s stuck with him. And a house full of actors, her twin sister, and one foreign prince.

This book had the potential to have a ton of sexual tension, but I felt so much of it wasn’t there. Immediately we see that Camille and Gray are the love interests, but that leaves the third wheel, Nikolai the prince (who may or may not be who he seems). I felt this is why I couldn’t enjoy this story to the fullest. Nikolai is used as a plot device and nothing more. He is around when it’s convenient and he has a very small role. Which is sad because he’s the whole reason for the Christmas farce!

Gray and Camille finally have it out over what happened a decade ago, and I did enjoy that, but I really had a hard time feeling any deeper connection to the two main characters. I enjoyed Beryl and Lionel’s small scene better than any other (which if you’ve read the previous book, makes it all the sweeter).

Then the ending scenes began. At first when Camille’s real mother and real sister show up, I thought it was great. Her mother is quite a fun lady. But something happens with Camille’s father that really bugged me. The ending was way too easy, too tidy. I love a good Happily Ever After, don’t get me wrong, but this ending was incredibly convenient.

While I liked the book well enough, it wasn’t as fun and witty as her other books. The drama felt contrived and the Prince was used only when it was convenient, or when Camille needed to make Gray jealous. This was ridiculous since the whole point of the charade was to entice the prince to propose by Christmas. He was rarely around. If there’s going to be a love triangle, for the love of all that’s holy, actually use the characters!

***ARC courtesy of Kensington Books

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