Winter Fire is a story about the importance of family especially during the Christmas season. The story opens with a coach rumbling along on itís way to Rothgar Abbey, cozily tucked inside are the elderly Ladies Trayce and their companion Genova Smith. Genova has traveled all over the world with her parents but recently her mother has passed away, her father has remarried and she feels the need to be on her own. On their way to the abbey, they encounter a coach that has left the road and they agree to provide a ride for a baby and itís nurse to the next inn to await the babyís father, a Mr. Dash. Mr. Dash arrives at the Inn, Genova spies him and decides he definitely isnít plain Mr. Dash. He is gorgeous, a splendid specimen of manhood, with an immense emerald on his finger and a single gold earring.
Mr. Dash happens to be, in reality, the Marquess of Ashart, or in other words the great nephew of the Ladies Trayce. The sparks fly between Genova and Ashart, and by the morning they are found in a very compromising position, she is lying under him and they are lying on his bed. Someone walks in expecting to find Mr. and Mrs. Dash, only to find Genova there instead. Great Aunt Thalia insists they are engaged. Ashart agrees to a fake the betrothal and heís to accompany them, including the baby and the nurse, to Rothgar Abbey. No one has enlightened Genova of the huge family conflict that awaits them at the Abbey.
This book was marvelous. I have loved the other Malloren books and with Mallorens all things are possible. This was a true family reunion. Jo Beverley included as many of the family as possible, but the focus is on Rothgar, his wife Lady Arradale, the Trayce family and the tragedy that split the family in the first place, Rothgarís mother was a Trayce. There are many humorous places in this book, like whoís the father of the baby, guineas for kisses and a spectacular food fight near the end of the book. You can read this book as a stand alone and it is a wonderful story, a reconciliation and peace for all at Christmas time. It just seems even more special if you have read any of the Malloren series and are revisiting old friends, or it might be a grand reason to try the rest of the series.
Debbie Olson, October 2003
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