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Released: October 2013
ISBN: 9781311373328
Kindle US, Kindle UK
Apple, Kobo, Nook
Author: Romy Gemmell
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Price: $3.99

Edinburgh 1816: young widow Lady Lenora Fitzallan receives an invitation that might change her life.

At his Scottish country estate, Edward Montgomery awaits the arrival of the woman he should have married seventeen years before, while his niece Annabelle begins to fall in love. But is it with the right man?

As they all prepare for the Masquerade Ball on the Winter Solstice, new arrivals cause uncertainty and reveal past secrets. But who will win Lenora’s love in the end?

As the carriage departed from her house in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, Lady Lenora Fitzallan settled back in her seat and contemplated the change to her plans since receiving the unexpected correspondence.

“Let me read the letter again, Lenora, if you will.”

Lenora reached across the short distance and handed the well-folded paper to Lady Clarissa Pettigrew.

Lenora’s godmother read the letter twice over, then handed it back. “How mysterious, my dear. And you had no knowledge of this niece, Annabelle, whom he wishes you to meet?”

“Not only have I never heard of the girl, but I’ve had no contact from Edward Montgomery in seventeen years, which makes his invitation to a midwinter solstice house party and masquerade ball all the more intriguing.”

“One wonders how Mr. Montgomery knows you to be a widow. His invitation would not otherwise have been proffered.”

Lenora turned the letter over in her hand as if the answer to her godmother’s astute question could be found there. “I do not know, Godmother. It is exceedingly curious.” She fingered the firm, sloping signature before returning the missive to her reticule. She knew it by heart, especially the part concerning the unknown niece. A sudden vague remembrance surfaced of rumours about the birth of a child, and she recalled Edward had a younger brother but knew nothing of his life. But why should the girl be in Edward’s care, as the letter inferred?

“Annabelle is becoming even more unruly now she is almost of marriageable age. She appears to be forming an unsuitable attachment to Mr. Frederick Shaw. My purpose in writing is to ask if you might consent to joining a small house party we are to have at Marlings around the winter solstice as part of the festive period. Several of the large houses nearby will be celebrating midwinter with dances and concerts and I am concerned that Annabelle should be in good company.”

Lenora pushed aside her questions, and a niggling little doubt that refused be given substance. She would meet the girl herself soon enough when all questions would be answered.

As the carriage lurched over the cobblestones on its way through the New Town, Lenora had to admit to curiosity about Edward. She tried to picture how Edward Montgomery might now appear and could imagine only a more mature version of the handsome young man who had stolen her heart so many years ago. Now she was no longer a young girl in her first season with hope of an advantageous marriage, but a wealthy widow with several admirers. And yet, a deep part of her longed to fulfil the passion of which she was capable and that had been denied for too long.

As though hearing her thoughts, Lady Pettigrew spoke again. “I dare say Sir Charles Osborne will be nonplussed to find you gone over the festive period, my dear.”

Lenora sighed. “He must surely understand by now that I am not contemplating a future with him. I endured quite enough boredom in my marriage and will never marry again unless for love, for I have no need of security.”

She paused, then decided to keep her other thoughts to herself. There was one more reason for marrying again: to bear a child before she was beyond such a possibility. If she were honest, Edward’s description of a lively, wayward niece sparked more interest in her than the dull, gray streets of Edinburgh in late November.

What the reviewers are saying
Scottish Regency Romance
Scotland is the unusual setting for this Regency Romance with literary and historical references creating an authentic atmosphere. This novel will appeal to all ages due to the author’s artful portrayal of the romantic longings of two generations . . . Only when masks are removed and past secrets revealed can this intricate plot reach its heart-warming conclusion. ~ TangoQueen, Amazon

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Intriguing plot, nicely done
This is a refreshing twist to the tried and true genre. I liked the fact that the heroine was in her thirties and financially secure in her own right. This set the stage for the widow to marry again for love alone. Because the subplot is about a seventeen year-old girl coming into her own, genre purists can enjoy that aspect of the storyline, as well. A wonderful snuggled-up-on-the-couch weekend read! ~ Jaqie, Amazon

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Although this is an historical novel, set in the winter of 1816, the intrigues and relationships are every bit as appropriate to the modern age . . . a real page turner . . . The characters are well delineated, subtly defined and engaging. I particularly liked Annabelle with her rather scatterbrained approach to life in general and men in particular and the underlying humour adds an extra dimension to the novel . . . The nicely judged focus of the winter Masquerade draws us towards the very satisfactory conclusion when motives are made clear and personal difficulties resolved . . . Another most enjoyable story from Romy Gemmell. ~ Amazon reader

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What a lovely tale
Reading a book for pleasure is almost unheard of for me, but I have promised I will work my way through so many books sitting on my Kindle. This one intrigued me, partially because of the setting, early 1800's and because it was set in Scotland. Plus the beautiful cover begged me to read. Ms Gemmell did not disappoint . . . Extremely well-written, it is a lovely tale that transports you to different a place and time. Back to a time when men were supposed to be gentlemen and women were supposed to be ladies, but all wasn't exactly what it seemed. Time changes, settings change, but human nature really never changes. Worth spending an evening curled in a comfortable chair with a cozy blanket while devouring every word of this midwinter tale. ~ e.ayers, Amazon

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Reel to Reel
As always, Romy writes with assurance and brings deft touches of period and humour to her story. The juxta-positioning of two romances keeps the reader guessing all the way to the end and is a clever device to allow both an older couple and their younger counterparts to shine. ~ Anne Stenhouse, Amazon

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The title is appropriate
I enjoyed reading this book and liked the atmosphere, intrigue and details appropriate to the time and setting. The characters were real and interesting. This book will appeal to women in particular especially those who enjoy historical novels. ~ Joan Pretorius, Amazon UK

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A most enjoyable read! ~ Maggie Powell, Facebook reader

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Midwinter Romance
Midwinter in the Scottish countryside is a perfect setting for this historial romance. I enjoyed the clever threads of stories running through this book, with the widowed Lenora's romantic turmoil a nice contrast to the more whimsical escapades of the younger Annabelle. The unanswered question of why Lenora's past love, Edward, abandoned her, only to now invite her to his home years later, provides intrigue and a page-turning simmering tension between the two. The supporting cast of characters weave further mystery and drama on the lead up to the magical masquerade ball, and we are left wondering who will capture Lenora's heart. ~ SnowWhite, Amazon

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Wow! Lots of intrigue here. At the heart of this story is a sweet romance we've come to expect with Regency romances. But looking deeper, we have an intricate story which revolves around family drama, secrets, mysterious strangers, a troublesome teen, and a villain who must be unmasked, both in the figurative and literal senses. Readers will be pulled in from page one and become one of the costumed ball attendees enjoying a Highland soirée. There are no slow spots in the story to bog down reading. The short chapters will have readers saying, 'Just one more before lights out' but finally turning the last page in the wee hours of the morning. Regency fan or not, this is a lovely story, not just for the holidays and not just for those who love Scotland and Scottish set books. This book has something for everyone who loves sweet romance in a time and place which can only be imagined. Give it a try. ~ Heart of Fiction



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