Twas the Night After Christmas

Written by Sabrina Jeffries
Review by Nanette Donohue

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, was abandoned by his parents at a young age — and he has no idea why. Especially embittered by his mother’s abandonment, Devonmont wants nothing to do with love and goes about scandalizing his family’s name by taking a string of society mistresses. When his mother’s paid companion, Camilla Stuart, sends Devonmont a letter saying that his mother is gravely ill, Devonmont travels to his family’s home — and very quickly finds out that Mrs. Stuart only wants to engineer a reconciliation between mother and son. Determined to take care of other business while visiting his family’s home, Devonmont stays longer than expected, and he quickly realizes that beneath the demure Mrs. Stuart’s responsible exterior beats a passionate heart. As the reasons why his mother abandoned him are revealed, Devonmont must learn if he is able to forgive his mother for what she did to protect him.

Set in 1826, Jeffries’s latest is a page-turner featuring long-buried family secrets that are slowly revealed, keeping the suspense and tension ongoing. Devonmont is a man who seems to only playact the part of the rake — he’s really a nice man who has been driven to his actions by circumstance. Camilla is a fine character, a woman who, like her employer, risks much to protect her child, yet hasn’t abandoned her desires. The climactic ending ties everything up nicely, and the love story has some nice twists.