Two weeks from today The Widow’s Christmas Surprise releases in e-book and mass media print so I wanted you to meet the heroine of the book, who made her first appearance in book one, To Woo A Wicked Widow, and afterward was assumed to have found her happy ending. As you will see, this is not actually the case.
In To Woo A Wicked Widow, we found Maria Wickley a distraught young woman, widowed at sixteen, and just coming out of mourning. Her cousin, Lady John Tarkington, befriends the girl and invites her to a country house party.
Maria is a rather simple girl, raised in the country in a family of the gentry, land-owning but not terribly prosperous. She and her next-door neighbor, William, are young and desperately in love. But when duty calls to William to help foil Napoleon’s army one last time at the battle of Waterloo, he enlists as a private in the army. Their parents agree to let them marry before he goes to war and they have only one night together before he is killed in the battle.
At the house party, a naive Maria is enthralled by the rake, Allen Garrett, and finds herself swept off her feet by the charming cad. She ends up in an “interesting condition” and at the end of the book, elopes with the scoundrel. Her other widow friends and her cousin all wish her well, but fear that marriage will not mend her ne’er-do-well husband’s roguish ways.
And in The Widow’s Christmas Surprise, we find that it didn’t. The book opens with
Garrett, now Lord Kersey, about to participate in a duel after being caught in a married woman’s bed. When Kersey is killed and Maria’s child is born a girl instead of the hoped for heir, Maria (now eighteen) must grow up quickly and become a woman who can make the proper decisions about her and her daughter’s welfare.
The trouble is, there’s this estate steward, Hugh Granger, with whom Maria feels a kindred spirit. However, the man has no prospects and his fortunes are about to go from bad to worse. The prudent thing for Maria to do is marry the heir apparent to the Kersey title, another rake just like her late husband, and with that marriage secure her future.
The Widow’s Christmas Surprise releases on September 29 and is now available for pre-order at the following e-retailers: