The Earl’s Mistletoe Match by Ashtyn Newbold is the third book in the Belles of Christmas collection. However, it seemed to me the most powerful.
It must have been the characters; their attitudes and motives are very real. They are not perfect, and they know it. They make decisions they regret. They struggle.
It starts out with romantic drama. Olivia, a spinster, pretends to be her cousin Esther at a masquerade, when she suspects an earl plans to court her.
Olivia does this out of mistrust for the earl, Andrew. She has been hurt in the past by men of rank; being in charge of her cousin now, she does not want Esther to endure the same.
Olivia does not count on the earl falling for her, instead.
Their conversation at the ball was short and did not end well. However, it was long enough for Andrew to fall in love with the lady behind the mask, the one he believes to be Esther.
When Andrew goes to Esther’s house to apologize for his behavior at the ball, he is no fool. The Esther he meets sounds and acts nothing like she did while hidden behind the mask.
It’s not long before he spots Olivia and realizes there was a switch. What he cannot figure out is why. How come Olivia mistrusts him so?
High expectations from families and a fear of disappointing are the driving forces for these characters. How I love it when, in a story, expectations are tossed out the window and love wins, as it should.
The Earl’s Mistletoe Match is a quick read that will lift your spirits. I promise there is a happy ending; we can all certainly use more of those.
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