REVIEW: The Christmas Tart by Mary Jo Putney

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Niamh Kavanagh
Niamh Kavanagh is a social media and digital marketing expert, CMO of Dream Machine Foundation, and storyteller with a purpose. She grew Dream Machine to 8M followers and edited videos that raised $750K for charity, earning attention from Oprah, Steve Harvey, and Khloe Kardashian.

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A Chance Christmas Connection

Tired of dealing with legalities relating to his father’s unexpected death, new baronet Sir Philip Selbourne is ready to leave London and head home for Christmas. But having spent a boyhood rescuing strays, he’s unable to resist helping a desperate young woman with speaking brown eyes and a kitten in her pocket.

Young French seamstress Nicole Chambord is in dire straits after being wrongly fired by her dreadful employer. Then chance brings her together with Philip Selbourne. His kindness leads her to accept when he offers to take her to his family estate so she can become a companion to his French-born mother.

But the roads are icy and an accident forces Philip, Nicole (and the kitten!) to seek refuge at the cottage of a lonely widow—and creates a Christmas miracle for them all.

Dear Ms. Putney,

As you yourself said, “The Christmas Tart” is fluff but what charming fluff. And it has actual fluff in the form of one ghastly scarlet cloak (with ostrich feathers) and a lucky cat named Merkle who is named after (and I agree with you here) a wonderful historical author Judith Merkle Riley – gone from us too soon.

So girl loses job, girl on the street finds kitten, girl gets propositioned by boy’s friends as a “Christmas present” for him, girl weighs her options and money in hand, girl makes practical choice, boy meets girl and then – ah, the magic happens.

No, no not that magic. Boy in the form of Philip is a very decent chap who quickly deduces that Nicole is not the lady of the evening his friends (they meant well and actually did pick The Right One for him) thought she is. I mean come on! She has a cat with her. Nicole, who is honest to a fault, spills everything and tries to give Philip the £10 advance she’d been given so he could return it. Philip wisely decides that Masterson could stand the money loss and this young woman truly needs it. But what is he going to do with her now?

No, no no. No hanky panky ensues. Instead Philip has a brainstorm! And manages to talk Nicole into going along with it although along the journey she decides that she will have to come clean about her true identity and circumstances. Merkle is along for the ride and happy to have an inside home again.

Is this a novella which must pack in backstories and the first introduction of our MCs? Yes, so things move quickly but what a delightful subplot gets included which also gives Philip and Nicole more of a chance to see the other’s true worth. Mrs. Turner is a love as well as a dispenser of shrewd advice. Luckily there is a reason that will delay any actual (though already decided) announcement between Nicole and Philip plus a distant family connection that makes it all right. Yay for those historical family connections. Hopefully Merkle is alright with her green ribbon. B+

~Jayne

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Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 25 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there’s no TSTL characters and is currently reading more fantasy and SciFi.

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