Cover Image: The Mistletoe Countess

The Mistletoe Countess

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Member Reviews

I received a copy of this from NetGalley for preview and this is my freely given review.

When I first started reading this, after a couple of pages I put it away, thinking it was going to be a super sappy, sugary bit of romantic fluff. However, after a couple of weeks, I decided to pick it up again and give it another go.

Grace initially seemed an overly indulged, dreamy, child-like young woman who liked to live in the pages of her beloved books, and Lillias, the older sister and the selected bride for the Earl of Astley, a much colder, refined, calculated woman set to do her duty and marry for a title, in exchange for her dowry.

Also, I did not realize that it was Christian fiction, which is not usually to my liking, not being Christian myself, or a fan of any kind of organized dogma/religion, and I find I usually don't like it mixed into my fiction and desire for escapism in my reading. I have found that in the past, it sometimes detracted from the story line, but in this case, it was well written within the story line, and was one way that Frederick found hope and joy again, both in his hope for a real relationship with Grace and for his growing hope in himself and the future.

I found that I was charmed by the protagonists as the story went on. Yes, Grace is rather child-like in her curiosity and enthusiasms. But she is generous, loving, with an open heart, and desire to help others. She reminds me greatly of another red-head character I loved, who was also a dreamy, curious book-lover - Anne Shirley of L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. So many of Grace's quirks bring to mind Anne and how she responded to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Rather than living in the pages of her books and ignoring the world around her, Grace is very much so engaged in the world and people around her, and uses her love of reading to apply to and engage in the world around her. She seems to love strongly her friends and family, and is strongly loyal, but also very sincere and honest.

Frederick, the Earl of Astley, was arranged to marry Grace's older sister, Lillias to gain her large dowry to save his failing estate, but other circumstances prevented that from occurring. Grace offered herself as an alternative, to fulfill the terms of the contract between her father and the Earl. This worked out well, as they appeared to be enjoy each other's company also, and while he was ready to enter a marriage of convenience and make the best of it, he seems quite charmed by Grace and her openness, willingness to learn and please, and her authenticity. It seems like he is a rather sad and lonely man, who has been disappointed in his prior relationships, including a lack of care and acceptance from his parents, brother, and a destructive love-affair. Grace chips away at his barriers and he develops the hope that she could be a new beginning to a happier life for him. They marry and travel back to England to start their life together at his estate.

This was so much more than a Christian romance with Christmas overtones. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it had so much more depth and humour than I expected. It was a romance, with engaging characters. Grace was charming and lovely, and reminded me of Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, and this was a romance, but also a gothic novel and murder mystery - complete with ghosts, a castle, ruins, and a villainess or two. I enjoyed reading about her developing relationship with Frederick, her enthusiasm, but also her self doubt, and all her literary references. I am so very glad that I chose to give this a second chance, because it really was a a gem of a read and I give it a hearty 4.5 stars out of 5!
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With no choice but to marry a man she barely knows to avoid a scandal in her family Grace leave America with Frederick for England and become the Countess of Havensbrooke.Hall..

But this place keeps its own secrets and Frederick and Grace must put the pieces together to uncover who want to harm them. The story combines romance and mystery.

Grace has a great imagination and love books, she is funny and seems to be the sunshine Frederick needed in his life. I found her a little naive at the beginning, but as the story evolves we can see that she is very thoughtful and really care about others. 

This is a beautiful chrismas story.

"Kindness is your most valiant weapon. People may fight against many things, but against kindness, they fall unprepared."
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This is a romance novel that you never want to end because it’s so wonderful. It brought me giggles and comfort, reminding me why I love to read so much. I absolutely loved it and not only because it was Christmas time but because it had a heartfelt romance, breathtaking chemistry and cozy mystery. I loved everything about this couple. And I enjoyed how God brought them together and how sweet their friendship was. It still makes me smile. It was a perfect match in the face of so much before them. 
I can not say enough good things about this. I highly recommend it if you like a clean romance. 
Lastly I want to mention the belief in God part that was hopeful, comforting and so encouraging. I just wish more Christian authors had her touch. 
Thanks Barbour Fiction via Netgalley
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Historical romance has a special place in my heart, but there has to be certain criteria for me: the age gap, the maturity level, development of character, a well-placed story and correct grammar. This book hit all but one. Our heroine is the younger daughter of a rich American. Their father was able to contract a marriage for his eldest daughter with an earl. His eldest daughter has been taking British etiquette and other lessons on how to direct her home and servants. The heroine, her father and older sister arrived at a house party planned around the wedding of her sisiter to an earl. The hero, the earl, has had to make a marriage with an heiress to save his estate. He hopes to have a marriage that is based on affection, but not at first, and fidelity. He hopes that his bride and him will learn to have affection for each other and bond over similar likes. But after talking to his bride-to-be,he realizes that they have nothing in common, but she would be a perfect countess. So he plans to go through with the wedding.
There may be spoilers in this next section.
The way the age gap is described is that the heroine is 19 and the hero has no age, but he has an illegitimate daughter from his youth (pre-college) with a tenant's daughter, who is 5 years old. The child's mother did not survive childbirth, but we will assume that he was 18-19, plus 6.5 years puts him at 25 years at least. He could be as old as 27. And he was sent to India 3 years before his brother's death 9 months prior to this story. Mind you, I had to read the book twice to make this conclusion. The hero is described, by his actions from an unrepentant rake, to a naive innocent, swonging back and forth, through out the book. Sometimes he comes off as very astute, and others, he is a ding bat. The heroine stays the course as a highly intelligent, effervescent loving woman during the whole book. The supporting characters make sense. The mystery part of the plot is laid out so the reader can make some assumptions, but there still are enough twists to keep the focus on the book. This was not the easy read. I had to read someone it, put it down and come back to it. I did realize, that the book is Christian based and while I appreciate the references, some may not this is a tingly romance, with only making out being described in detail. I also found that the title was not used to describe the heroine, like I thought it would have, but I had to think why was this book titled as this. It was an oblique reference to the heroine's date of birth as Christmas Eve. I like this book, but give it 4 stars. If it took me 2 reads to determine the age of hero and the fact that I wanted to finish it, I suggest reading only if you want to.
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OH MY GOODNESS! I don't even have words to describe how wonderful this book is. A spunky, quirky heroine who charms from the first page and a charming, conflicted hero are only the tip of the iceberg of elements that make this book perfect. Mystery, intrigue, tension, flirty banter, a marriage of convenience, Basham's trademark swoony kisses, and Christmas magic... need I say more? I think not. Easily one of my favorite books of the year, I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my review copy of this book. My opinions are freely and willingly given.
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I am a sucker for a marriage of convenience story, and The Mistletoe Countess did not disappoint! I’ve heard so many people raving about this story, I had to give it a try. Of course I fell in love with Grace, the feisty heroine with a penchant for fiction, and Frederick, the brooding hero with a tragic past. The sparks flew between them from the first page, and although they weren’t meant to be a match at first, they turned out to be perfect for each other. 

There was a little more focus on their physical attraction and the physical aspects of their relationship than I would have liked, although there was nothing graphic and I would still call it a clean romance. Still, the spiritual themes and stories of spiritual growth were powerful and contributed to the depth of the characters. Grace’s naïveté was a little unbelievable at times, and the conclusion of the mystery a bit over the top, but it all worked together to create a page-turner of a story. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham is a fun Christmas story to read. It has mystery, suspense, action and romance all in one story. This story show how giving, generous and devoted Grace is. She steps into take her sister’s place in an arrangement between her father and Lord Frederick’s mother. Grace has faith and is determined to do what she needs to for others. I just adored her character. One of the things that stands out to me is the secrets the Percy family kept and and how it affects them and their relationships with each other.

I received a complimentary copy of this story from the publisher through NetGalley. This is my honest review.
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This one reads like a real life fairy tale. A marriage of convenience tale that was almost a bit much for this single lady when it came to the character's chemistry and all the implied things married people do. If you love England and regency, and tons of kissing you'll love this one. Grace is a very likable character, though immature and probably annoying in real life she's written as endearing and naive. There's some humor and serious stuff like mystery. Lots of danger and lots of hidden history in this dark British estate. Some Downton vibes and ghosts Secret Garden-like style. It was a really fun one and I stayed up late trying to finish it. I just wish I could live Grace's easy life where marriage just fell into her lap. There are also some beautiful quote worthy lines throughout the novel.
This is my third book by Pepper Basham this year and she's definitely added to my list of favorites. 
Thank you netgalley for the privilege to read this one!
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A most appealing story, The Mistletoe Countess, by Pepper Basham, is beautifully written, thoughtful, and engaging! This captivating book is genuinely stunning and not to be missed! With a hearty blend of history, mystery, romance, and humor, Ms. Basham brings to life a memorable story that is remarkably enjoyable. 

Within the pages of this book, Ms. Basham reveals characters who are unique, tenacious, authentic, brave, and wholly unforgettable. Their motivations, their needs, their interests, and their goals are truly fascinating. The opportunities, the choices, and the difficulties the characters face are thoroughly developed, and from them flows a story that is utterly riveting. 

The Mistletoe Countess is a moving novel that offers a vivid and compelling marriage-of-convenience story full of secrets, regret, obligation, danger, and intrigue counterbalanced with love, faith, friendship, and redemption. Hope, perseverance, courage, and grace are also significant themes that strengthen this novel and make it especially meaningful and uplifting. Furthermore, the English countryside setting in the early 20th century with its small village, a grand estate, shadowy ruins, and wooded hillsides, enriches the novel and provides ample opportunities for the story to unfold. Abounding with Edwardian sensibilities, this British setting, rich in history and whispered secrets, is notably significant in a story that lingers long after the last page has been turned.

The Mistletoe Countess is a thoughtful story of grace, second chances, and truth. Offering new possibilities and fresh perspectives, it is a touching story of perseverance and the power of encouragement. This novel is a story of two hearts in search of being known, accepted, appreciated, and loved. I can easily recommend this book to readers of historical fiction who also enjoy elements of mystery and plenty of sweet romance. In The Mistletoe Countess, Ms. Basham has once again crafted a worthy novel that is honest, tender, emotionally-stirring, and ultimately uplifting. With every new book she publishes, my appreciation grows for how remarkably talented Ms. Basham is as a writer and storyteller. The Mistletoe Countess is a very special novel, and I eagerly recommend it to all readers.

*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley and JustRead Tours. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.
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"Oh my! Grace was such a fun heroine!! A delightful blend of naiveté and knowledge, filled with sunshine and made almost everyone around her feel lighter merely being in her presence.

Frederick was a wonderful broken hero. I loved the way he learned to see himself differently through Grace's eyes. Having turned his back on his past and setting his eyes on who God could make him freed him from the guilt and shame he had lived with for years.

A handful of ""accidents"" following the deaths of Frederick's father and brother began to look more and more menacing and intentional. I had to laugh at Grace's confidence in her sleuthing abilities simply because the techniques worked in the stories she had read. The mystery was very well executed. The adventures and danger Grace and Frederick faced while trying to solve it were fascinating. This part of the story was kept lighthearted, and I found myself laughing out loud in numerous pages throughout the climax!

It was clear that this sweet couple loved each other and found each other attractive; however, it was equally clear the basis of their love was their character not their bodies. The author described Grace and Frederick's intimate relationship in a very tasteful and appropriate manner. I would not hesitate to allow a teenager to read it.

Most importantly, a firm faith element runs throughout the story. Grace's intimate relationship with God and her trust in Him was inspiring. She had quite a struggle to return blessing for insult and yet chose to do right and what was pleasing to God.

I recommend The Mistletoe Countess to everyone who loves to read. It feels like it is a story anyone would enjoy. Having read this far in my review, you are probably the perfect audience for it!

I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own."
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The Mistletoe Countess is one of the most adorable, endearing, fun stories I've ever read!  Grace is an absolute joy.  She's quick-witted, loveable, charming, and readers will quickly fall in love with her.  Frederick will work his way right into your heart as well.  His non stuffy, ability to see  joy around him is a delight.  And the way he falls for Grace is just perfection.  They are the perfect literary couple.  Everything about this book will get you excited and leave you turning pages as you figure out the mystery and smile at Grace's antics.  The Mistletoe Countess is definitely a must-read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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So many reviewers have captured this novel so beautifully, I honestly wondered what I could possibly add to entice the potential reader! Probably not alot, but here's my thoughts for what they're worth. 

What a witty, charming satirical novel with a dashing rogue of a hero—and a delightful, ingenuous heroine who lives her life vicariously through fiction and the gems she has gleaned through books. With a personality as bright as her lovely red locks, Grace touches every life she comes in contact with (think Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables!) Just like Anne Shirley, our heroine has the gift of gab...especially without thinking first! lol And Lord Frederick. What an amazing kisser, er...rather an amazing kind earl, I meant to say. Ahem! Lord Astley aka Frederick is a wounded man...destined to live out his life in a loveless existence until he meets the exuberant, enchanting Grace.

Not totally a Christmas story, a fairytale, a Gothic mystery, nor an immensely steamy romance—all combine together to comprise one hilarious, captivating novel, destined to become a Yuletide classic!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own and I received no monetary compensation.*
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“Oh, I devour books.” She tugged the novel against her chest. “It’s a disastrous habit for being productive, I’m afraid.” Humor lit the darkness of his eyes and made him a little less imposing .
“And is that the extent of your vices, Miss Grace?”
“I’m afraid, Lord Astley, my vices are too many to name, only one of which is a proclivity for disappearing from large crowds at the first availability." 

I LOVE THIS BOOK. Yes, this is another one of those oh-wow-she-has-no-chill reviews. Buckle in, ladies! 😅 but in all actuality, I am breaking this review up into multiple posts so you'll be hearing more about this one from me near pub date. This review is going to highlight WHY you should pre-order this one and the next one will be more spoilery in nature 😘 

🔥 MARITAL SPICE: Hotness abounds! This is marriage of convenience with a serious side of swoon. Too often premarital sex is glorified in books, but *very rarely* is sex between husband and wife written as something ______. This married couple is ALLLL about it and I was here for it. Nothing here is explicit in nature at all, but I still wouldn't recommend for young girls just bc yeah ya know, they don't get it 😅 but for Christian women, I found this sooo encouraging! 

📚 BOOK LOVERS: The main characters are both readers and the literary references do. not. disappoint! Author name dropping, quotes, plot references to well known books...all perfectly placed. So well done! 

🤣 THE HUMOR: Omg hilarious!!!!!! I seriously would be tearing up or on the edge of my seat, and then there would be the funniest one liner and I would be rolling! Perfect 👌
❤ THE DEPTH: I think this would be a great book club pick for a group of multi-generational women. There is a lot to discuss - marital growth, mother-in-law issues, moving to a new place, being yourself when people try to discourage your uniqueness,  family obligations. I think this book would have been great to have in my hands at 22 when I was newly married and very idiotic and selfish 😅 just being honest! 

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Oh, my goodness! This is the most delightful book and I loved every minute of reading it.

From the beginning, Grace reminded me of Anne of Green Gables. Fredrick is not only a swoony hero, but he's also got a past he's not proud of and he doesn't think he'll measure up to his family name and all that comes with it.

Together Grace and Fredrick find that true love really does exist and dreams come true.

Ms. Basham has outdone herself with this book and currently, it is my favorite. I hope we see more of Grace and Fredrick.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick’s Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future. 

My review:  Grace was a naïve young woman.  Frederick was a man of the world needing a rich wife.  When plans for Grace's sister to marry Frederick  feel apart, she stepped in to be the bride.  Grace looked at life through the books she has read.  She tries to solve the mystery by thinking the way the sleuths in the books she's read would do.  Overall this was an enjoyable book.  The beginning was a little slow.  But it was setting stage for how Grace ended up marrying Frederick.  Once they got to England after the wedding the book moved along at a much faster pace.  A good mystery and I enjoyed Grace's impulsive personality.  

I would recommend this book to all who enjoy a lively mystery.

I was given this book by Barbour Publishing via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way.
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This was a fun, lighthearted Christmas read. It would be the perfect book to curl up with during the holidays, as it has all the cozy vibes. 

Now this was a marriage of convenience that was actually plausible. Different from the usual, ‘oh we’re trapped in a room together and now we must marry or we’ll be ruined forever!’ circumstance you usually see in this type of story. Kudos to Pepper Basham for being original!! 

Grace is a fun heroine who I loved reading about. She reminds me of Karen Witemeyer's bubbly, sunshine-personified heroines and I am here for it. I enjoyed the humorous interactions between Grace and Frederick, and the side mystery was a nice touch.

This is nitpicking, I know, but I wasn’t a fan of the writing style (there were a lot of qualifiers and filler words that cluttered up the speech and seemed to be there for word count) and the dialogue seemed… contrived. Yes, I know it’s fiction and there has to be some suspension of believability. However, dialogue that uses words like 'twas' and throws in modernisms tends to throw me while I'm reading.

This is a marriage of convenience story. If that’s not your thing, you may want to skip this one. There is no explicit, on page anything, but I would not recommend to younger readers because of the interactions and many conversations about such things between the married couple. For Christian fiction, the amount of content felt a bit uncomfortable for this reader.

*I received a complimentary copy of The Mistletoe Countess through the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. A positive review is not required.*
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The Mistletoe Countess is the perfect marriage of English history with wonderful romantic comedy! This is the first book I have read from Pepper Basham and it will not be the last. I simply did not want this book to end, and I had a hard time putting it down while reading it. The Mistletoe Countess kept my attention, is well written, and has perfectly rounded characters that are "real".

This is simply a perfect romantic story that grabbed my heart!

Thank you for my advanced ARC copy, it is much appreciated!
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Gracelynn Ferguson was a wonderful sister who agrees to marry a count she does not know so that her sister will be free to marry the man she loves! Gracelynn is young and knows the count doesn't love her but feels she can always fall back on her love of books to sustain her! Gracelynn uses the knowledge she has gained from reading mysteries to help solve the mysterious things going on in the castle! I admired Gracelynn for wanting to make Lord Frederick Percy's life happier. I'm thankful I didn't have her mother-in-law! The story wasn't quite believable but it was a fun read! I received a complimentary e-book through NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.
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This book was hilarious, fun-filled, a bit spooky and romantic, all rolled up into one! Basham is a master at creating characters that are relatable and unabashedly themselves. I started this book in July and it was a perfect time to dream ahead about Christmas and lovely things.

Grace, the protagonist, is a bookworm like myself, which I LOVED! She's sassy, honest to a fault and ready to support her sister's upcoming marriage...until she finds herself falling for the man her sister is supposed to marry! Plot twists, ghost hunts and unexpected twists keep the reader's attention throughout this fun story.

Basham has a reputation for her kissing scenes, so if you're not ready for that, maybe hold off until you can! HA! Romantic, funny and engrossing, this is a book you will love to pass on to a friend just so you have someone to gush over it with!

I was an early reader, thanks to the publisher, but all opinions are my own. Don't miss this joyful read for the holidays--or any time!
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This is a fun, light-hearted story that references just about every classical novel under the sun. I don't think I know anyone with Grace's extremely wide taste in books; I love to read, but some classics are more a chore than pleasure to get through, and I don't think Grace has a critical word for any of them. Grace is a lot like Anne of Green Gables, red hair and all, but even more entrenched in her imagination and the world of books. And while she doesn't float down the river like the Lady of Shallott, she does attempt swinging down a rope like Tarzan. Even from the meet-cute, she's clearly a much better match for Frederick than her sister, though the reasons grow deeper as the story goes on.

The first half of the book is more focused on the romance, and the second half delves deeper into the mystery of the attempts on Frederick's life. If you enjoy kissing books, there's a lot in this one. I'm not 100% convinced of Grace's sleuthing skills, or that even with her convolutedly clever mind she should be taking on murderers, but it all works out, and the story is entertaining all the way through. 

Thank you Barbour and NetGalley for the complimentary e-book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
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