Friday, November 10, 2017

In the Holiday Spirit, Already?

You’ve probably seen it—decorations popping up in shopping centers, festive music playing inside, advertisements of everything you and your loved ones ever wanted online and on television. The holiday season comes sooner and sooner each year, it seems. But while every family has its own traditions, there’s a few that rarely, if ever, were celebrated in early nineteenth century England.
One of those is the poinsettia. The gorgeous red flowers are popular gifts and decorations where I live, with owners waiting eagerly for that first bloom to appear. There are even white and pink versions. But the what we now call the poinsettia (after Joel Robert Poinsett, first US ambassador to Mexico) originated in south of the border and did not reach America until 1825. I have not found evidence of its arrival in England until after that date.

Mistletoe is, sadly, almost as rare. It only grows in certain parts of England. So, unless you lived in in the south of England or west in the midlands, you might not have mistletoe either. Holly and ivy were more likely Christmas decorations.

Which is why I asked for them on the cover of my latest re-release, An Uncommon Christmas, which is currently available for preorder and launches next week. Previously published as “A Place by the Fire” in Mistletoe Kittens, and as a standalone novella The Mistletoe Kitten, the book has connections to both the Uncommon Courtships series and the Lady Emily Capers. It explains how the older brother of Jareth Darby (The Unwilling Miss Watkin) and the best friend of Hannah Alexander (Secrets and Sensibilities) came to fall in love, for the second time.

Eleanor Pritchett has convinced herself that love is not for her. She’d dared to love once, a man superior to her in birth, education, and position. His family warned her away. But when his orphaned niece begs her to carry a kitten to him for Christmas, Norrie cannot refuse.

Justinian, Earl of Darby, always wondered what happened to his first love, whom his father claimed was a fortune hunter. Now she returns, bearing a kitten. Can that tiny creature, and the wonder of Christmas, prove that true love never fades, and hearts once closed can be opened anew?

I hope it puts you in the holiday spirit, whenever you read it.


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