Review: What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander

What Happens At Christmas

”You do realize you’re quite mad.”

“Or quite clever.” Camille tapped her temple with her forefinger. “Like a fox.”

“An insane fox, perhaps.”

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I’m guaranteed to laugh when I read Victoria Alexander. The eccentric characters, the convoluted plots that never go as planned, and the fact that another hilarious occurrence is always right around the corner add up to a fun package that keeps me coming back for more time after time.

The heroine, Camille, is the sort of person for whom phrases like, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” were created. She’s an impulsive creature who tends to leap into half-cocked plans and wing it in the hopes of avoiding a future scandal. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked her or not. She seemed a little vain and shallow, but I warmed up to her after a few chapters. I liked that although we heard the hero’s accounting of their past first, and naturally sympathized with him, we soon learned that the truth of the matter wasn’t so cut and dried. In all actuality, they were both idiots.

Camille met a prince traveling incognito through England and decided that she wouldn’t object to letting him propose to her. Sure, she doesn’t love him, but there’s nothing about him not to love, so she’s sure that love will come eventually. Maybe after they’re married. Besides, to her mind love isn’t a requirement for marriage. She was perfectly content with her first husband and they didn’t love each other at all.

The prince has been making noises about wishing to experience an English Christmas, so Camille is determined to give him one. What better time would there be for him to propose than at Christmas? Of course, her family has a few…quirks that she doesn’t want to scare off the prince, so when her mother and younger sister go away for the holidays, she decides to hire a troupe of actors (at a bargain price because of their lack of experience) to take their place. She enlists the help of her reluctant twin sister—who helpfully points out that the prince will still have to meet her real family at some point after their marriage, and how will she explain that?—to help make the Christmas a success. Not only did the family have to be replaced, the actors had to replace the servants as well. How else could she avoid anyone else finding out about this?

Of course, things are never simple in an Alexander story. That troupe of actors came at a bargain price for a reason. The actress playing her mother can’t keep her character’s name straight and is always changing it (hilarious!) and the actress in the role of her sister is a tart! But even that doesn’t compare to the added complication of the hero, Grayson, showing back up after an eleven year absence. Camille is not at all happy to see him given that he confessed his love the day before her wedding and then bolted, never to be heard from again, despite their years of friendship! Grayson worms his way into the drama by pretending to be a cousin after he finds out about the ruse. Poor Camille is stuck going along with his story to keep him from spilling the beans to the prince.

The antics in this book kept me giggling. The overall plot itself was funny, but the little asides had me in stitches. The horror Beryl, Camille’s twin, experienced when confronted with hundreds of children invading the house (it was only five kids), the fact that the number of ex-fiancés Win, Grayson’s cousin, had kept increasing every time Grayson talked to him (first two, then three, then four!)… It was all great. The only thing that kept this book from being an A for me was the fact that I felt the continued misunderstandings between Grayson and Camille at the end came off as frustrating instead of funny. It was like they were almost made up and then boom, they were arguing like idiots again. I was a little tired of it by then. All in all, though, if you’re in the mood for a fun read, this is it. Grab a copy!

Favorite Quote:

Apparently, he had no intention of kissing her. Not that she wanted him to. Still, there were, well, procedures for this sort of thing. Steps that led logically from one point to another. Gazing into her eyes, not releasing her from his embrace and then…nothing?

Well, what could she expect from a man who declared his love, then abandoned her? Grayson never did know how to do things properly.

Rating: B
What Happens At Christmas by Victoria Alexander
October 16th 2012 by Kensington
Amazon || Barnes & Noble


  1. says

    I have never read anything by this author before but your review has me intrigued. Is there a place you would suggest starting?

  2. Angela says

    This one sounds good… I’ll add it to my TBR list.

    I just purchased Beauty and the Bounty Hunter based on your review. Can’t wait to start it.