Ballantine, Nov 2003, 15.95, 180 pp.
With the London season over, Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould like most of her peers is now looking forward to the Christmas holidays. Vespasia's husband is abroad on business and her children remain in London while she attends a party at Applecross, home of friend Omegus Jones. Vespasia feels good about life in general, but hers in particular as she reflects that her nation is prospering in the peace of the middle of the century though rumors fly that war in the Crimea is imminent.
However, at a gala, Vespasia's friend Isobel Alvie's behavior is rather spiteful and nasty especially towards widow Gwendolyn Kilmuir. The next day, Gwendolyn is found dead, apparently having jumped off a bridge. Everyone blames the tragedy on acrimonious Isobel due to her cruel words so no one will talk to the “culprit” except Vespasia. A despondent remorseful Isobel accompanied by her only loyal friend Vespasia journey to Scotland to offer sympathy to Gwendolyn's mother where they will learn the truth behind the suicide and the true meaning of friendship.
A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY may be a mid nineteenth century tale, but the deep messages remain valuable in today's society. The story line is kept from being light fluff by a strong cast especially the two lead women that brings to life the era yet also relates the true meaning of friendship “never fades” regardless. Fans of Anne Perry or just the time period will appreciate this charming holiday story.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner