The Winter Wife
Amazon Digital Services
Bought for my Kindle
Sebastian Sinclair, the Earl of Kinvarra and his bride Alicia have been married for eleven years, separated for nearly a decade. Wed at 21 and 17 respectively, the young couple had several misunderstandings early on in their marriage that led to a rather insurmountable distance springing up between them. Alicia gathered all of her courage to leave her handsome, wild husband and he immediately disappeared overseas for some years. In the time since Sebastian’s return, they’ve met briefly in polite society very rarely, exchanging a few words and then going about their separate business.
Now Sebastian has discovered his estranged wife appears about to at last take a lover. He finds her and her hopeful lover in dire circumstances, their carriage having overturned. When the gentleman accompanying Alicia realises who it is that has stumbled across them, he flees, leaving Alicia to Sebastian’s mercy.
Sebastian is older now, and much wiser. He’s full of guilt for the rough and impatient way he treated his shy and nervous young bride all those years ago and although he hasn’t bothered her since she left, he’s not about to sit back and be cuckolded either. When he’s left alone in the snow with Alicia he is determined to do the right thing, unlike he would-be lover and see her to safety.
Sebastian isn’t the only one who has grown up and changed. Alicia too, has changed and faced with this new, mature version of her husband she begins to see her own faults in the breakdown of their marriage. Previously she has always blamed Sebastian and his callous behaviour but now she can see where she went wrong. Trapped in an inn with Sebastian now, Alicia sees a chance for them to, as adults, right where they went wrong years earlier. The passion that has always been there is still there for her, she just needs to test the waters and see if her husband still wants he after she rejected him years ago.
The Winter Wife is a holiday novella from Australian author Anna Campbell that I happened to see another Aussie author Cathryn Hein recommending on twitter. I was looking for cheap holiday reads at the time to put on my kindle for my three week holiday interstate so I snapped it up. This is my first Anna Campbell read but it will definitely not be my last! This novella is short but well rounded and provided me with a fabulous morning read in my hotel room on the one night my husband and I had away from our children, leaving them in the care of my parents for the first time.
Sebastian, the Earl of Kinvarra and Alicia were married through a family arrangement when both of them were very young, Alicia in particular. Both of them were initially very impressed with what they saw but very quickly the situation deteriorated and Alicia ended up leaving her husband, the two of them living apart. Sebastian went overseas on a tour and when he returned they saw each other very occasionally in polite society and did no more than exchange a few words. Unbeknownst to the other, each of them regret their mistakes made during the early days of the marriage, although Sebastian has had longer to regret his actions. Alicia has always steadfastly blamed Sebastian but when she is forced to spend time with him one snowy winter’s night, she begins to realise the role she had in things going wrong. She was immature and unable to talk to him, instead choosing to freeze him out, which to a young, virile and proud man, was possibly the worst thing she could do. Sebastian regrets his impulsiveness and his lack of control, but even now after 10 years apart it seems that he still suffers from the same lack of control – which is why he chooses to sleep in a chair when they are forced to take a room together at an inn.
I do love a good reconciliation story! And this one is so fun – we get both points of view, the focus switching between Sebastian and Alicia, which really works as it helps give the reader a clear understanding of both characters, their mistakes and regrets when the other is not aware. Sebastian has matured enormously and he seems to be the one that suffers the most with guilt and regret – Alicia has mostly been fueled by anger and resentment. It isn’t until she is forced to deal with this Sebastian, rather than the memory of the 21 year old that she married, that her outlook begins to change.
Apparently this is an extended version of a short story that was published in an anthology so if you’re an avid Campbell fan then this may seem very familiar. It also includes the first chapter of Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed, which is I think, Campbell’s most recent release, and I read that after finishing this and all I can say is I must have that book now! I am buying it as soon as I can get on to my amazon account!
This was a fun, well constructed story that was perfect for what I was after. It’s short but not without dept and character development and it makes me super excited to read her full-length novels.
Book #279 of 2012