Publisher: Sandra Schwab
Release Date (Print & Ebook): 22 September 2017
Length (Print & Ebook): 18,000 words
Subgenre: historical romance, Victorian romance, mm romance, holiday romance
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940154716328
It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.
But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.
Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?
Quotes from Sandra Schwab about the book:
Yuletide Truce is a feel-good enemies-to-lovers holiday romance that takes you on a sweeping journey to Victorian London, to fog-filled streets and smoke-filled taverns, to Fleet Street, where news are made, and to Bethnal Green, where once a crime lord ruled as supreme master. Meet those who criticized a rich ruling class that clung to its old privileges, and those who eked out a meagre livelihood on the streets of the metropolis. Yuletide Truce not a story about rich people, but a story about two ordinary men — because everybody deserves a happily-ever-after, and I want to challenge the idea that it’s somehow only straight, white, rich people whose stories deserve to be told.
Quotes from other authors about the book:
“Sandra Schwab’s Yuletide Truce is charming and witty, and I thoroughly enjoyed the peep into Victorian literary culture. The relationship between the proudly self-made Aigee and carelessly arrogant Foreman unfolds through dueling book reviews and salon repartee, but also in wonderfully drawn London streets and rickety boarding houses. The cross-class romance is a terrific cup of holiday cheer.” –Emma Barry, author of the Fly Me to the Moon series with Genevieve Turner
“Yuletide Truce is warm and cozy, just what I want out of a holiday romance. Aigee is a total cinnamon roll and it was lovely to see him happy.”–Cat Sebastian, author of The Ruin of a Rake and The Soldier’s Scoundrel
Now Mrs. Woodall’s smile diminished as her gaze fell on the magazine Aigee was holding. “Oh dear. About Town? I take it the ‘Adonis of Fleet Street’ has struck again.”
At the mentioning of Foreman’s nickname among the London publishing world, a rush of heat washed through Aigee. Lord, as if the whole situation wasn’t already embarrassing enough! No, to make matters worse, Aigee’s body—well, his prick, he supposed—had also decided to take a fancy to the very man who delighted in publicly bashing him.
It was ridiculous!
Well, Foreman was attractive, otherwise he wouldn’t have gained that particular epithet. He was tall, with a lean, trim body, violet-blue eyes, ridiculously long lashes, and a head of golden hair that tended to curl if he let it grow too long.
Handsome like the devil himself.
No, not the devil. Some kind of arrogant angel, tumbled to earth, probably thrown out of the heavenly choir because he had spouted some profanity at a horrified archangel.
Aigee and a battered Christopher Foremand are stranded on Fleet Street on a Wednesday night, just when the staff dinners of Allan’s Miscellany and Punch come to an end.
Another small group of men emerged from the fog, among them the tall, large form of Thackeray, who wore a sprig of holly in his hatband, and small and slender Doyle, who looked as if a strong gust of wind might blow him away.
He would not, Aigee thought resolutely, under any circumstances, make a ghastly blunder and mention anything about Doyle’s work. No matter how much he had enjoyed the illustrations for The Fairy Ring.
Greetings flew to and fro, then Thackeray leaned forward and peered at Foreman through his small, round spectacles. Straightening, he threw Aigee a broad smile. “Well done, Garmond. A slightly unorthodox reply to Foreman’s impertinence, no doubt, but—”
“Oh, it wasn’t him who punched our Adonis,” Pelham cut in. “Just some street urchins.”
“Pity.” Thackeray sounded rather mournful.
“Come, come. Next you will suggest that Mr. Garmond and Mr. Foreman meet at down on Hampstead Heath with their seconds,” a somewhat sour-looking man sneered.
Thackeray raised his brows. “Don’t be silly, Jerrold. We are not the sort of men who’d do anything so ridiculous as to fight a duel. No, no, we are the sort of the men who poke fun at those who do.”
A round of laughter greeted this statement.
Beaton’s teeth flashed white when he grinned. “And even if we did fight duels, we’d surely have more sense than that other class of gentlemen who get arrested by millers on Wimbledon Common.”
“Indeed.” Thackeray inclined his head. “We are the sort of sensible men who are in search of some drink and light entertainment at the Cider Cellars. Anybody want to come along?”
A Yuletide Truce:
Foreman brushed a hand through his hair. “Does that mean I can no longer sharpen my pen on your reviews?”
Aigee’s lips twitched. Suddenly, he felt quite lighthearted, almost daring. As if anything might be possible.
As if this little room had been touched by some Christmas magic.
As if he might take the boldest chance of all…
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll have no difficulties in finding something else for sharpening your pen,” he said. “After all, the lashings of your pen and tongue are renowned.”
Foreman snorted. “It’s hardly my fault that people insist on being ludicrous.”
Aigee looked out of the window at the darkness that was only broken by the feeble glow of the a few lamps in the windows of the houses around this little yard. “Hm…” For a moment, he still hesitated. Then: “Did you also give a tongue-lashing to that fellow I saw you leading up the stairs at the Little Rose?” He turned, wondering if he had overshot his mark.
Rather pale, Foreman stared at him, which made Aigee realize that his remark could be misconstrued.
“I was rather jealous of the man,” he clarified.
Color came and went in Foreman’s face. With narrowed eyes, he looked Aigee up and down. “I see,” he said, nastily. “And you expect me to give you the same in gratitude for services rendered, is that it?”
Aigee felt a stab of exasperation as he shook his head. “What a nasty mind you have, Mr. Foreman.” He walked over to the bed, sat down, and boxed Foreman in with one arm, forcing him to fall back against the pillows as he leaned over him. “Actually, I was thinking more of giving you a tongue-lashing for being so stupid as to enter a well-known rookery all by yourself.”
They stared at each other.
“I’ve locked the door,” Aigee added helpfully.
Confronting Foreman in the Cider Cellars, a tavern:
Aigee pushed forward through the crowd in the direction Sherrick had indicated, and sure enough: over there, a table in the corner had been taken by four men from About Town, among them Christopher Foreman—that mop of golden curls was unmistakable. He was lounging on his chair, long legs stretched out in front of him.
Aigee took a deep breath. “Mr. Foreman. A word, if you please.”
Very slowly, the blond head turned, golden brows arched delicately. “Dear me. If it isn’t Munro’s pup,” Foreman drawled.
It wouldn’t do, Aigee told himself, to lose his temper and plant a wallop onto Foreman’s arrogant nose. Not in a crowded tavern, where a good quarter of the men present were happily belting out the chorus to a song about a milkmaid and a magic flute.
It was the kind of song that would have made moralists turn pale, if not fall into a dead faint.
Not that Aigee hadn’t heard worse.
He pasted a pleasant smile on his face. “Mr. Foreman, I’m sorry my reviews don’t appeal to you. However, I don’t see why you should take such umbrage, considering that Munro’s is a rather small magazine. Perhaps it is time to focus your ire on somebody else’s work. Preferably work from a magazine equal to About Town.”
The golden brows rose even higher. “So the pup talks?”
The other men at the table chuckled.
Inwardly, Aigee gritted his teeth, but still kept his voice pleasant. “I fail to understand why you hold me in such dislike, Mr. Foreman, but I would ask you not to take it out on my employer.”
Foreman flicked a lazy hand, as if he were swatting away an annoying fly. “Dislike? You must have misunderstood me.” His voice turned venomous. “Why should a pup like you interest me? It’s your simpering reviews I hold in contempt. Puff pieces to boost your employer’s sales.”
By now, several men were listening in on their conversation.
“Hear, hear!” somebody said. “I thought puffing went out of fashion in the thirties.”
“So last century,” somebody else muttered.
This time, Aigee allowed his teeth to show. “Puffing? I write nothing that I don’t mean. And we all want to make a living.”
Foreman’s glittering gaze swept over him. “I have no objection to you making a living, Mr. Garmond. As long as it doesn’t involve writing literary reviews.” His lips curved into a taunting smile. “Surely it should be obvious that somebody like you has no business writing them.”
Aigee felt each word as if it were a slap. There was a great rushing noise in his ears, and suddenly, all the sounds in the tavern seemed to come from very far away.
Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now, she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances (some of which she now uses to shamelessly fangirl over Punch, her favorite Victorian magazine).
She holds a PhD in English literature, and in autumn 2015, she appeared on the BBC documentary Great Continental Railway Journeys to talk about another favorite topic of hers, the Grimms’ fairy tales (while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest) (there were a lot of slugs, too).
She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.
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