Review: The Widow’s Christmas Surprise (The Widows' Club #5) by Jenna Jaxon - .Red Wine & Books

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Review: The Widow’s Christmas Surprise (The Widows' Club #5) by Jenna Jaxon


Print Length:
 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra (September 29, 2020)

From Goodreads.com: The death of her husband has thrown Lady Maria Kersey’s future into doubt—and her heart into the arms of a man she cannot have. But Christmas with the Widows’ Club will bring choices—and surprises—that may change all her holidays to come...

Maria just gave birth to her first child, a beautiful daughter—but the event is shrouded in sorrow. A month earlier, Maria’s husband, Lord Kersey, was killed in a duel under compromising circumstances. Worse, Maria’s failure to provide a male heir has stripped her of any hope of an inheritance. Scorned by the ton, one of her few allies is her late husband’s steward, Hugh Granger. Hugh is everything her husband was not—warm, charming—and penniless...

Hugh has fallen desperately in love with Maria, but has little to offer but comfort. As their attraction becomes impossible to resist, Maria flees to London to spend Christmas with her dearest friends, a group of widows who lost their own husbands in the Battle of Waterloo. Little does she know the holidays will reveal a twist of fate she never expected—proving that the greatest Christmas gift is the magic of true love...

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I have read the books in this series, but have very little memory of Maria as being heavily featured in the others. Thankfully, you don't have to read these books in order (or at all) in order to be able to read this one. 

I went into this one knowing from the start all I needed to know. Maria was a very young, twice widowed woman who was in the midst of giving birth while her second husband prepared to fight a duel that he knew he could not win. A duel of his own making considering he was found in bed with a wife that was not his own. 

From the start I couldn't like Maria. I get it. She was first married at 16, her husband went to war two days later and was killed. She ends up falling for a rake and getting duped into a second marriage a year or so later (after getting knocked up). She has obviously not had an easy life - but why the heck is so she naïve that she doesn't know what a Dower house is? Or she can't see that she is being duped by the new Lord Kersey and his son? Of course, this could have something to do with the fact that her cousin is practically a shrew; seriously she tells poor Maria that she's made two unsuitable matches thus far and Jane will not have such a thing happen again while Maria is under her charge. Under her charge? Maria has been twice widowed woman, she doesn't need anyone in charge of her or chaperoning her for that matter. Especially when Jane has a lover herself that she's eager to be with. 

I could have probably overlooked those things as this author does weave together a good story that is capable of drawing the reader in despite a few over the top characters. However - for what is billed as a Christmas story? Not only does very little of the story actually take place on Christmas, but there are some pretty serious topic addressed (adultery, destitution and suicide among them).  As I'm sure you can imagine, this does not make for a very cheery or Christmassy story. I also would have liked to have seen Maria take her daughter's future into consideration when she's flirting with her late husband's steward when she's not even out of mourning for her second husband yet. Instead, the daughter seems to be little more than an accessory, brought out once in awhile just to remind the reader that she exists and then shipped off into the background again while her mother does whatever she pleases. 

However, I am sure this novel will appeal to fans of this author and this series. Just as I'm sure there will be people who pick this story up and immediately fall in love with it. But at the end of the day, it just was not for me. I would read more from this author however, as I have read other stories by her and enjoyed them much more than this one.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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                                         The Widow’s Christmas Surprise is available from Amazon.com

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