Monday, January 4, 2016

Review: Falling Stars by Loretta Chase

Falling Stars
By: Loretta Chase
Publisher: NYLA


Driven by a restless longing he cannot define, Marcus Greyson arrives at his brother's home just in time for Christmas, only to be confronted by the woman who'd broken his heart years earlier. Ten years ago, Marcus had been a callow twenty-four year old youth, brash and outspoken, a social reject. Christina Travers was all that is prim and proper, just eighteen and ill-prepared to resist the magnetic force of Marcus's personality and regard. Over the course of two weeks they fell madly in love -- but when Christina refused to run away with him, they parted in anger -- Marcus going on to make his fortune and reputation, Christina to a happy marriage and two daughters. Now a widow, Christina is determined to reclaim her independence and raise her children as she wishes, free from the influence of her late husband's sisters. Marcus isn't about to let the one woman who truly broke his heart upset his life, and the last thing Christina wants is to reignite a the flame of a youthful indiscretion she's sure is much better left buried. But over the course of one magical Christmas, the ties that once bound two young lovers may prove to be the most irresistible gift of all...

Falling Stars is a gorgeously wrought reminder of everything I love about Loretta Chase's writing, wrapped up with a sparkling bow of holiday cheer. This story of second chances and love renewed just shines from start to finish, it's greatest crime being that it is "only" novella-length. This is a story I would have happily lost myself in for triple the time. Every revelation, every scene between Marcus and Christina sparks with romantic chemistry. This is a tale of two people who, after the wound of their initial failed romance, went on to live full, rewarding lives -- they didn't live with regret, but when they are reunited, the spark and connection that once bound them cannot be denied. It's especially refreshing to see a heroine like Christina who made the mature, difficult decision to leave Marcus, lived and loved, and now finds the promise of a renewed romance with Marcus more than ever before the possibility of a union of intellectual and emotional equals.

Chase's gift for razor-sharp characterizations and relationship development are on full display here. Her romances shine because its never just about a physical element, though that is present -- her lovers are deliciously equatable, often-bickering, equals. Perhaps the best surprise is the role Christina's children play in rekindling her romance -- the small children in a romance trope can wear thin quickly in less capable hands, but here Marcus's interactions with her two precocious daughters is absolutely ADORABLE. Watching this gruff, independent man fall so convincingly under the charms of the two girls positively melted my heart.

Falling Stars is the perfect introduction to Chase's novels for those who have yet to fall under the spell of her swoon-worthy, laugh-out-loud romances. This is a sparkling gem of a story to savor, one I'll happily revisit. Chase is an absolute pro, her books instant classics, never failing (yet, at any rate) to deliver an unforgettable romance wrapped in warmth and humor, grounded in the mores and manners of history. The perfect dose of winter romance escapism, Falling Stars more than lives up to its enchanting premise. I adore it!

About the book:

New York Times bestselling author, Loretta Chase shares an enchanting Regency Christmas novella about romance, forgiveness… and a second chance for a once-in-a-lifetime love. 

Ten years ago, dashing Marcus Greyson and naïve Christina Travers fell madly in love—and parted in anger. Now, wiser and more seasoned, both know better than to trust the wayward impulses of the heart.

But some feelings never fade; and the joys of Christmas and family just might rekindle a certain, special spark…

This novella was previously published in A Christmas Collection anthology.

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