RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Review: His Christmas Pleasure, by Cathy Maxwell


Title: His Christmas Pleasure
Author: Cathy Maxwell
Publication Info: Avon 2010
ISBN: 9780061772061
Genre: Historical: European

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.It’s Christmas in June – well, for this review anyway – as Lindlee takes on a holiday story for the RITA® Reader Challenge.

Christmas Pleasure CoverFirst, ye olde plot summary: Anything can happen at Christmas!

When her father threatens to marry Abigail Montross off to a man twice her age (and with thirteen children!), she decides to elope instead with the irresistibly handsome Baron de Vasconia. She knows all about his notorious reputation. He is the most seductive man in all of London, but he’s vowed to protect her, so she allows herself to be tempted into his bed, promising to guard her heart at all costs.

Andres believes he’s entered into nothing more than a marriage of convenience with a charming and very wealthy young woman. But the days—and nights—Abigail spends in his arms soon reform this rogue. He’ll do anything to gain her love—until they each discover the truth about the other and old wounds are revealed.

It’s the season of miracles and passion—when love not only awakens the senses but delivers the greatest gift of all . . .

And now, Lindlee’s guest review:

I’m a sucker for a good “marriage of convenience” story. Especially the type where the couple plans to stay married (instead of “get marriage annulled after I get my money” or something similar). I like it when two people are shown working with one another to make a life together. His Christmas Pleasure may become one of my favorite MOC stories.

It’s hard to express why I loved this book so much without getting spoilerly, but I’ll do my best. I loved Andres and Abigail’s relationship. Once they decided on marriage, they were supportive and protective of one another. They complemented one another’s strengths and weaknesses. Andres was more of the dreamer, but Abigail was the encourager when obstacles arose. 

The elopement was exciting (Abigail and Andres have to keep one step ahead of her father) but it was also heart wrenching because Abigail struggles with knowing she’s hurt her parents with her actions. Once the marriage has taken place they work together to build a life, overcoming difficult problems and obstacles that are thrown their way. By the end, I was convinced that no matter what happens in the future Abigail and Andres can conquer anything. I completely believe in their happily-ever-after. 

If I have any criticism, it would be that the ending, while nice, did feel a little “let’s take all the plot lines and tie them in a nice big bow now.” But very small criticism. Overall, great book.

His Christmas Pleasure is available from Amazon | kindle | BN | nook | Powell’s | Book Depository | WORD Brooklyn

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  1. 1
    Donna says:

    they work together to build a life, overcoming difficult problems and obstacles that are thrown their way. By the end, I was convinced that no matter what happens in the future Abigail and Andres can conquer anything

    So, exactly what they didn’t do in the previous book.

  2. 2
    Kate Pearce says:

    I loved this book too because the hero was so different and so endearing. It was the first book of this author that I’d read and I’ll definitely be seeking out more.

  3. 3

    Cathy Maxwell is the reason I read romance – I discovered her books in an Army Thrift Shop while living overseas.  Cathy’s books deliver that warm fuzzy feeling that I seek from romance.  She is also a fabulous (and frequent) speaker so if you have the opportunity to hear her, go for it!

  4. 4
    Sabrina says:

    I really loved this book too. It was actually my very first Cathy Maxwell and I went immediately to twitter to ask why in the world I hadn’t heard people singing her praises before!

  5. 5
    Trudy says:

    I remember reading this book a few months ago.  I really liked it, even though the characters acting goofy in certain parts. But in total, it worked.

  6. 6
    AndreaZ says:

    This turned out to be a major disappointment.

    I rushed to check this book out of the library, based on this review; I really liked the idea of a marriage-of-convenience-developing-into-a-solid-love-relationship done right.  That aspect was indeed everything that I’d hoped for… the bonding and falling in love was so well done, in fact, that the required “tear the couple apart drama” felt like the worst of contrivances and annihilated my enjoyment of the whole story.  Even if feelings haven’t been admitted yet, both of them had made major sacrifices showing their willingness to stay together.  So having their first instinct be distrust in the other’s commitment at the least sign of a made-up issue completely negated all the build-up of their relationship, and made the making-up part ring hollow.

    Did anyone else feel that way?

  7. 7
    Lindlee says:

    @AndreaZ I’m sorry the end ruined it for you. I will admit that was my least favorite part of the book. For me, it wasn’t bad enough to ruin the enjoyment I got from the rest of it and I still believed that they had a strong relationship. And I liked the epilogue. However I can see why it would bother you.

  8. 8

    All I can say is, though I had to kind of like this book (mistletoe, dude…I couldn’t totally hate it), I really got annoyed with some parts of it. Mainly, like AndreaZ said, the last “OMG I thinks you a HO! Thus and verily we can part in tears and anguish of star-crossed-ness (even if it’s really only a stupid misunderstanding and I”m, you know, kind of a d***) in order to have a moving and emotional and soap-opera worthy reunion to close the tale!”  part made it a bit *eyerolls* oh REALLY? It had some cuteness though, and a few funny parts that weren’t totally due to the writing. which is actually the second thing that made me sort of want to throw the book.

    She writes weird, okay? Like she BUILDS upon short little sentences as if we’re working up to a complete thought, and then this works really weirdly in the sex scenes.

    Por ejemplo:

    “He entered her. She stiffened. He stopped, holding himself tight, letting her adjust to him.”


    “Her legs opened wider. He went deeper. She arched and he wrapped his arms around her.”

    *snort* and this just made it seem to drag, like (if it were me, which pray God it never will be) I would be like “ummm…this is taking a damn long time to get underway…”


    “Andre began moving [Finally]. He knew how to make love [Are you sure?]. He’d done it enough [I’m not convinced], but he realized he had no control when it came to Abby [Ooooh, but of course].”

    Then it moved to just Standard Phrases & Implications That Must Show Up in The Love Makings So Thus We Know The Wang Is Functioning Properly Within the RomaAAAANCE:

    “She felt so good [*Teen Girl Squad Voice* SOOOO GOOOD!]. He’d never known a woman could feel like this [Like…what?]. He’d been born to join with her [oh yaya]. He’d been unconsciously searching for her all his life, and now this was their moment [Preach it, brother!]. Their blessed, precious moment [Do they have a figurine for that?].”

    …ummm…I feel like we just went down the check list, but, hey, nothing equals the following:

    “Pride filled him […”pride” huh?”]. Male pride in all its glory. “We can do it all you wish, palomita,” he assured her, and proceeded to show her the truth of his words.”

    I love how Maxwell seems to be like a catechism instructor when she’s writing her sentence:

    What filled him? Pride filled him! What kind of pride filled him? Male pride, in all its glory!!!  And when he says “we can do it all you wish” what might he do? Show her the truth of his words! (boinking, in case you were wondering. Hey, I was).

    Okay I’ll stop now. Time to writes the paper of the awesomeness!

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