I read A Wreath of Snow to fulfill the Sherlock Holmes Times (aka Victorian era) requirement for the Reading Embrace. It was a novella, a trend you may be picking up on at this point. Basically I hit a certain month (I want to say November) and realized I was roughly 19 books behind schedule so I started just binging novellas. It isn’t cheating because it is still books!
The synopsis for this novella was a little darker than I expected. The heroine, Margaret Campbell, is heading back to her home instead of spending Christmas with her family because her brother is an utter shit. He’s rude, demanding, and critical and no one feels they can criticize him because he’s been this way since he was paralyzed from the waist down when a drunken curler yeeted a stone at his back by accident when he was 10. Margaret has always blamed herself because she was there and his big sister but couldn’t protect him or make it better. Now she feels guilty because she can’t bring herself to stay and deal with her brother’s assholery and to that I say brava. There need to be more stories with characters who don’t let family treat them like crap just because they share blood and it’s the holidays. Unfortunately for Margaret her plans are halted when their train hits too much snow and she and the rest of the passengers are forced to walk back to town.
Also on this train is Mr. Gordon, an attractive newspaperman who keeps glancing at Margaret as if he knows her but won’t introduce himself. They finally get to know each other as they walk back though it takes him awhile to share an important truth with her – He isn’t “Mr. Gordon” as he’s been letting her call him, he is Gordon Shaw, the man who drunkenly maimed her brother in a Christmas curling accident years before. He fled town after that horrible accident when he was not allowed to apologize or try and make amends and his family left as well which he always felt was because of his reputation.
The two get back safely where Margaret is met by her parents who are not critical as she would anticipate but instead very grateful she is safe and eager to invite her, and the handsome stranger who walked with her, to their home for Christmas. Margaret begs Gordon not to ruin her family’s Christmas by sharing the truth with them but all comes out, including a family secret no one could have anticipated.
I don’t read many stories where redemption is a primary theme. It was also a very chaste romance and felt almost like an Inspirational Romance but I can’t say for sure it was because I haven’t read any of those. It was a fairly quick read and it didn’t make much of an impression on me but it was pleasant and fit the season well.