Series: Cynsters Next Generation #1
Published by Harlequin MIRA, self-published on Oct. 28, 2014
Also by this author: A Match for Marcus Cynster, The Lady's Command
It's frosty December in Scotland and six Cynster families come together at snowbound Casphairn Manor to celebrate the season—and where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind.
The festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster's sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster's daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them.
However, Claire, once bitten, twice shy, believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Yet Daniel is determined. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.
Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel despite her misgivings. Then catastrophe strikes, and by winter's light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.
By Winter’s Light is intended to bridge the gap between the books about the original Cynster generation and those about their offspring. It takes place during a family Christmas gathering in the Vale – Catriona and Richard Cynster’s domain. Since the older generation (Devil, Vane, Richard, and their cousins) are already married, and the younger generation haven’t quite come of age, the romance takes place between a tutor and governess. Since they are both more constrained by their position as employees and their responsibilities toward their charges, the relationship is rather subdued, and there is little romantic tension. In fact, the obstacle to the couple’s happiness turns out to be less dramatic than early hints suggest. Still, both Daniel and Claire are nice people who deserve their eventual happy ending.
I have to admit, though, that I found the first glimpse of Cynster twins Marcus and Lucilla just as interesting than the romance when I first read By Winter’s Light last year. (Their books were released last February and May, respectively.) Sebastian, Devil’s heir, also has potential, as does his younger sister Louisa, but the others are either too young or had too little page time to get much of a sense of their characters.
Since the book takes place in Scotland, and most of the characters are English, I enjoyed the 19th-century Christmas, Yule, and Hogmany traditions scattered throughout the book. And of course, it’s always fun to revisit the Cynsters – though we don’t get a lot of time with any of the previous couples. There are a lot of people to keep track of, but Laurens has included a helpful cast of characters in the beginning of the book. (If you’re reading the ebook, I highly recommend you bookmark it so you can refer to it as needed.)
Bottom line: If you’re a Cynster fan and plan to continue the series, it’s worth reading as long as you don’t expect a full-blooded Cynster-style romance. If you’re not already following the series, don’t start here.
A final note: Laurens self-published By Winter’s Light in 2014 as an ebook, but it was released by MIRA on Sept. 29, 2015. Laurens used to publish with Avon. I haven’t been able to figure out whether Avon let let go (her romances have seemed very formulaic of late), or whether she left to pursue self-publishing, but she appears to be publishing through MIRA now. Lucilla’s and Marcus’s books were self-published as ebooks but then released by MIRA in paperback, and the new series scheduled for the end of December will be published by Harlequin/MIRA in both paper and electronic formats. I’ll be interested to see what impact, if any, a new publisher and editor have on Laurens’ writing.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2015 Historical Romance Reading Challenge