Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blog Tour: Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly - Review, Author Interview, and GIVEAWAY!

Marian's Christmas WishMiss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she is certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected--- a young and handsome English lord.

I Give This Book: 1 star1 star1 star1 star

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading 'Marian's Christmas Wish'. Marian was definitely an unconventional young woman! Her father allowed her to be educated in subjects normally reserved for men at that time and she excelled at them.  When the time came for each person to make a wish on the Christmas pudding, Marian made a wish for another person - which showed her unselfishness and caring spirit.

Marian's sister, Ariadne (what a name!), was in love with the rector, Sam Beddoe. At first Ariadne seemed more meek and reserved, as though she didn't have a will of her own, or at least not a very strong one. But later in the story you see a deep strength in her.

I found Marian's younger brother, Alistair, quite adorable even though he was a trial at times. He secretly arrived home earlier than expected, due to the fact that he was expelled from Eton. Throughout most of the story he appeared quite immature; but, towards the end he had become quite a mature young man.

Marian's older brother Percy was a Diplomat. He was coming home from Belgium and was bringing two gentlemen with him, Sir William & Lord Ingraham. Sir William was a short, fat but wealthy gentleman. He was the type of man who thought he knew everything and had no problem stating his opinions on matters that were none of his concern. Lord Ingraham was also a Diplomat and a man of many secrets. He hadn't seen his family in years, ever since an accident had left him scarred. I don't know why, but I never really felt connected to him.

The story begins with Marian and Ariadne decorating their home for Christmas. This is the first Christmas they are celebrating since their father passed away a little over a year ago and most likely the last that will be celebrated in their ancestral home. The Wynswich family has had to tighten their purse strings since his death, because he left them with a mountain of debt, and they may have to move out of the only home they have ever known. But not if their mother, Lady Wynswich, has her way.

Lady Wynswich is plotting to marry off Ariadne to a wealthy gentleman, Sir William, who is a great deal older than she is (quite disgusting). She doesn't care that he is so obnoxious and condescending to their family, or that Ariadne cares for another man - she just wants to be able to keep her rank in society.

There were several occasions, when Marian and Lord Ingraham were alone together, that I thought would not have been acceptable behavior for a single woman at that time. Also towards the end of the story, Lord Ingraham's behavior was quite inappropriate and a bit shocking. I can't give the particulars because it may spoil the story for you.

Overall I thought it was an endearing story - especially to read over the holiday season. I would recommend this book to those looking for a sweet, light Christmas story.

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

View all my reviews

Product Details:

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599559536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599559537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 0.8 inches


Carla, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm 64, like water aerobics, never read romance fiction, because I prefer really good crime fiction. I have two degrees in history, and have written a few what I call footnote works. My scholarly backround is military history, with emphasis on the Indian Wars and Napoleonic Wars at Sea. I'm really near sighted, and a good interviewer (years and years of that with my various jobs). I like to write. Favorite movie is Yojimbo, directed by Akira Kurosawa. Favorite musicians are Michael Martin Murphey and Ian Tyson, cowboy singers. 

What are you currently working on?
I'm finishing up my current three-book contract with Harlequin. It'll probably be my last with then, since I have several novels in the work for Cedar Fort. Also, Signet is interested in having me write for them again, so I'll go in that direction. For my own fun, I'm also working on a little book set in the Royal Colonel of New Mexico in 1725. Don't have a home for that one yet, but I probably will.

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
No single person. I just like to write. The person who gave me the most help was my high school journalism teacher. She taught me a lot about plain, factual writing, which is still pretty much what I write. More important, she instilled in me a stewardship for words. They matter, and the right word matters even more.

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?
I wrote a novel about the Nez Perce exodus in 1877. Never published. My first published novel came next, Daughter of Fortune, set in the Royal Colony of New Mexico in 1680. It will be coming out in ebook form soon.

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
Not really. I sit at my computer and write. I do have a wonderful photo over my desk that I look at from time to time, of a 1948 trail drive in Sunlight Basin, Wyoming, from the Two Dot Ranch.  My dad was from Cody, and knew the Two Dot Ranch folks, the Taggarts. I love that photo.

I have heard that many authors listen to music while they write. Do you? If so, what do you usually listen to? 
No, I don't listen to music. I find it distracting.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?

I've pretty much done - career-wise- what I wanted to do: ranger, adjunct history prof, contract researcher for ND Historical Society, PR writer for a major Missouri hospital, daily newspaper feature writer and columnist. And mom.  I would like to study for a year at Oxford. The closest I came to that was writing "Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career" for Signet. 

All the music in the world is being destroyed and you can only save one album, what would you save and why? 
Handel's Messiah, without question. That's a total no-brainer. I consider it the high water mark of Western civilization. And probably Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club album, if I could save two.

Borrowed LightDo you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
It's usually the characters I am currently working on. I do have a real fondness for Julia and Mr. Otto in Borrowed Light, because I do like stockmen. (All my own years in Wyoming.) It was nice to revisit them in Enduring Light. (They're doing well, BTW) Currently, I'm happy with Paloma Vega and Marco Mondragon of the Chama Valley in 1725. So it goes.

What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you?
My husband gave me a first-edition, boxed set of Paul Horgan's two-volume history of New Mexico. So nice of him. I use it, and love the gorgeous prose. My oldest son gave me a first edition of a book by Jim Corbet, game warden in India during the British Raj.  And daughter Mary Ruth gave me a first edition of Kate Seredy's The Good Master, one of my favorite books that I read to my kids. Both of those books were a thank you for all the books I read to them when they were little. They mean the world to me, because they opened a world of reading to my kids.

What are three things (not people) that you wouldn't want to live without? 
Hot water. That's about it. When I worked at Fort Laramie NHS as a ranger, we did living history. I discovered quickly that working in a kitchen without hot water is a pain. Book. Add books.

What is your all-time favorite book? What is your favorite book you have read this year? 
I have three, and the order shifts: War and Peace, A Town Like Alice, and The Lawrenceville Stories.  Favorite book this year?

 Fiction, it would be Richard Bradford's "Red Sky at Morning."  Great book. Can't believe I didn't read it years ago.
Enduring Light
What do you like to do in your spare time?  Spare time? Not much of that. Travel and visit old friends, but the trusty netbook is always with me for writing.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? 
Early bird. I start writing about 4:30 a.m. And night owl, if the writing is going well. 

If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive) who would you invite? 
John Marshall, the Great Chief Justice; Custer- just what did happen, sir, when you took Medicine Tail Coulee? The truth now; Admiral Chester Nimitz; Bob Kisthart, a ranger friend of mine, alive and interesting; the Duke of Wellington.

You are given a ticket that will bring you anywhere that you want to go, at anytime in history. Where would you want to go and why?
Philadelphia, for the debates on the Constitution. And then probably Waterloo. Wish I could visit some strands in my family history, which runs through all the royal houses of Europe. Some real nasties there.

Where can people connect with you online? H'mm. I have an ego-sounding email address  Can't guarantee how much time I'd have to reply.

Thanks you so much Carla for being on Hardcover Feedback!
You're welcome. I think I'll get that dinner party ready now. What fun that will be.  Do you think John Marshall will like enchiladas?

Make sure to visit the other blogs participating in this book tour. For a complete listing of them go HERE.

I am giving away a copy of Carla's book 'Marian's Christmas Wish'! If the winner is in the United States, they may choose a printed book or an e-book. If the winner is NOT in the United States, they will receive an e-book. 

Marian's Christmas Wish

To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open internationally.

Blogaholic Designs”=


  1. Hi Megan! I'm not familiar with Carla Kelly, but I love the time period this book is set in, and I love Christmas stories around the holidays! Thanks for this opportunity!


  2. I have read and really enjoyed Carla Kelly's books in the past so I would like to read this one.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  3. I have never read any of Carla Kelly's books- but this book sounds great. Perfect for the holiday season. Thanks for offering this giveaway.


  4. Carla how hard was it for you to choose a cover for your book. This cover is gorgeous.

    mamaw1050 at att dot net

  5. I forgot to leave a link to my Good reads profile on Carla's fan list.

    mamaw1050 at att dot net

  6. I posted about this blog tour/giveaway on my blog.

    mamaw1050 at att dot net

  7. Sign me up! I would love to win! Love the cover too, so pretty!

    srstormo at yahoo dot com

  8. this sounds like a wonderful christmas story, would love to win it!

  9. Sounds like a good book to read. Thanks for the chance to enter!

  10. thank you for the this contest! i would like to read this b/c i love a good christmas story!

  11. I want this book so much because I love Christmas! I love it so much that my wedding was a Christmas theme.


  12. I haven't read any books by Carla Kelly but this sounds like a great one to start with.

  13. I haven't read anything by Carla Kelly but I would really love to! The period setting of the book is one of favorites to read about!

  14. Hi, thank you for the giveaway! New follower via book blogs.

  15. This is my first visit to this site and it's really great. I enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading more!

    reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

  16. I love reading Christmas stories thanks for a chance to win this book sounds very interesting

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  17. I love Christmas stories! This one is particularly interesting because of its period setting & forward thinking main character!
    Best wishes and thanks for a chance to win this wonderful book!

  18. I would like to win this book because I like one word in the title and I like to read! :o)