A Partridge in a Pear Tree (The Twelve Days of Christmas Book 12)

Emily E K Murdoch

HISTORICAL: This story takes place in and around Bath, England, during 1819. Isabella Fitzroy and a coachman head to Bath from her family’s home, Chalcroft, for a visit with her cousins, but she really desires some alone time. Most of her family members are married, and she isn’t. There seems to be a general air of pity for her among her family, as they are certain she will remain a spinster. After a short visit with her relatives, she wanders the streets of Bath where she encounters a man who leers at her. Next, he dispatches a thief by breaking his nose. Finally, that night, she discovers this same man–Guy Partridge–sitting on her window sill! Nevertheless, they talk late into the night, and then she sees him at a dinner party the following evening… 

If readers can set aside their concerns about the dangers this young woman faces, this novella moves at a good pace. Readers will wonder where her sense of self-preservation is though, as what would surely alarm most people to the point of screaming does not phase Isabella. Anyone with a daughter should be cringing by now and wondering how Guy learns which room is hers in a house large enough to host multiple families during Christmas… and the fact Isabella becomes intimate with him after knowing him for two days seems incongruent with the expected behavior of the early 1800s. Nevertheless, the story flows well and the tension keeps readers engaged. This is the final story in this series that features 12 cousins from three related families, so readers of the previous books will want to know how the series concludes. 

Carey Sullivan