Here is the summary of the book:
Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she s 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.
Christmas is just two months away and what better away to spend the time than to read this phenomenal book about a many christmas wishes coming true for the Wynswich family don't you think? Well I simply can't fathom the fact as to how I could have missed this one before. Oh well......its here now and it is one the best historical romance fiction I have read so far.
Set in the time of Napoleon the story revolves around the Wynswich family and how they spend their christmas together. Although people might think of their family as wild and mismatched but each member has his/her own characteristics that define them. After the death of Lord Wynswich the family is down under dept and as used to be the norms of the old times girls then had to marry rich lords in order to pay off their debts, so is the scenario here as well the oldest son Percy who is a diplomat himself is trying to get a rich suitor for his sister Ariadne so they may pay off the debts. But Ariadne had already given her heart to another, the vicar Reverend Sam Beddoe (who is not only poor but shy in asking Ariadne's hand for holy matrimony) and does not wish to marry whoever her brother was bringing for the christmas. So her sister Marian (bless her) knows she must do something to avoid disaster from happening. Marian's only wish for this christmas is the happiness of her whole family.
As predicted her brother Percy does return back to Picton with not one but two rich gentlemen lords, a Sir William Clinghorn and Gilbert Collinwood, Earl of Ingraham. Sir William is the one who wishes to marry Ariadne but his rather lordly attitude is less than appreciable by the other Wynswiches (take Percy and Lady Wynswich out of the equation) and do all they can break off the affair for Ariadne's sake with a little help from the Lord Ingraham and while Marian does not wish to be tied in matrimony but this christmas is not only out of the ordinary for her but also for herself. Through a series of events Marian who had been planning her Christmas pudding wish all year, saving it for her much derailed family finds herself changing her wish: “I wish that Gilbert Collinwood will have the best Christmas.” Little does she know that Gilbert's own special pudding wish will depend on her to be fulfilled.
Marian's Christmas Wish is a re-issued traditional Regency romance from earlier in Ms. Kelly's career, originally published in 1989, and it has the feeling of a storyline which really moves, interesting, but accessible characters and pure entertainment. Out of the enormous catalogue of Carla Kelly's book this one is the first I have come across (and I'm so going to try the whole lot later). The story is rich in its plot, its rich characters, its prose and even the language that is styled as of the classic genre is easy enough to understand. Kinda made me remember of Jane Austen's Emma.
Marian is a very likeable character. She is spunky, she is intelligent, and there you go she has got a practical head in there. She is a sensible human being, even when crossed in love, and she’s got a sharp tongue and a cool head when such things are needed. And she’s more than a match for Gil, the equally intelligent and charming hero who has a rather big secret of his own, giving him a slight unexpected edge. There is one that should be noted here is the fact that Marian like the others of time when daughters married nobile gentlemen and acquired all the knowledge required to be the housemistress but she does act like a 16 year old and not showing the maturity portrayed by a say 28 year old would.
As to Gil's part of the story is seen. He remains a total enigma and although he is a diplomat and all the interactions between Gil and Marian make the highlight of the tale the nature of his work is the reason for the main confusion and heartbreak of the heroine halfway in the story. The author completes the personalities of the heroine and her hero with their words and actions.
The plot has an episodic feel to it and the best part as I had already stated are the interactions between Gil and Marian. They recognize an affinity between them immediately, quickly become comfortable allies, and progress to love. Marian, a good heart, though gets into much trouble with her loose tongue and sharp mind. Gil on the other hand is rather secretive himself yet very kind and has a particularly attachment to Marian, despite the 12 year age gap. And although this episodic saga has too many threads and wires weaving through it but at the end it all meets at a comfortable convergence, a perfectly sweet ending to an amazing read.