I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.By Winter's Light by Stephanie Laurens
Series: Cynster #21
Published by Mira Books on 2014-10-28
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Romance, Victorian
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic and love. It's frosty December and six Cynster families come together at snowbound Casphairn Manor with members of their households to celebrate the season in true Cynster fashion—and where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind. The festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster's sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster's daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them. However, Claire, once bitten, twice shy, believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Yet Daniel is determined. He's seen the kind of love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness. Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, their relationship deepens. But then catastrophe strikes, and by winter's light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic and love. It's frosty December and six Cynster families come together at snowbound Casphairn Manor with members of their households to celebrate the season in true Cynster fashion—and where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind. The festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster's sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster's daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion.
I have just learned the hard way that not all Christmas themed holiday romances are created equal. I picked By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens from Vine on the basis of A) the lovely cover and B) the fact that it is Christmas themed and C) hearing great things about the Cynster series. This book is a part of the Cynster series, and I think one that the initiated will appreciate. For me, though, By Winter’s Light was by and large an exercise in boredom. I honestly felt every single one of the 347 pages, they did not fly by as expected. Then again, I think I am more than ready to chalk my experience reading this book up to hefty expectations.
Set in Scotland a long time ago, lol I am fuzzy on the exact year, By Winter’s Light features the entire huge Cynster clan traveling to the Scottish countryside and spending the holiday season together on one large estate. There are three main storylines. There’s the story of Daniel and Claire, tutor and governess to different branches of the Cynsters, who are navigating a friendship turned potential romance. There’s the story of Lucilla and a fated horse ride with the older Cynster cousins. Then there’s the fourteen year old Cynster cousin clique. These three stories interweave throughout the book. I quite liked the romance between Daniel and Claire. I found myself wanting the book to focus more on that romance instead of going off into several different directions. I did like the inclusion of the youths, there’s a scene where they gather things to decorate that was silly and fun, and just added some lightheartedness to the overall story.
The romance is not center stage to the story. Like I said above, there’s three storylines that interweave. There’s also a hint of a romance with Lucilla’s storyline too, but that does not pan out in this book. I think that maybe she’ll get her own book for that romance. Anyways, okay, so Claire is a widow and goes by Mrs. Meadows. She used to be a fine lady, but she has fallen on hard times which is why she is a governess. She does not want to remarry. However, Daniel has fallen in love with her. The two have easy conversation and really get along. She might like him too. Yet, she’s hardened her heart against love for very good reasons that seem to take forever to reveal. Daniel is relentless in his pursuit of her, and well, the teenage girls are doing what they can to aid Daniel. I did actually find the romance delightful, but was not totally invested because whenever it would start to get good, the story would shift focus.
Honestly, this was not the best introduction to the Cynster series. As an outsider, I felt no real investment in the hodge podge of characters. I thought that this book really needed more focus instead of jumping from storyline to storyline. Maybe it would have made a better novella if everything except the romance between Daniel and Claire was cut. I’ll also say that there’s some mysticism going on with some Lady of the woods who is like a deity and gives Lucilla magical sensing powers and my eyes were totally rolling. Anyways, parts of this book were really delightful and I think that if you are already a fan of this series, you’ll enjoy By Winter’s Light, but if you are a newbie, maybe try another book to get into the Cynsters.