A Change of Address by Kate Dolan


A Change of Address by Kate Dolan
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Historical, Holiday
Length: Short Story (77 pages)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fennel

Amanda, her young sister and her unconventional mother move to a small house in a remote village just before Christmas—and discover it lacks furniture and everything else they need. Charles, son of the local squire, bursts in to rescue them when he mistakes smoke from the clogged chimneys as a house fire. When she realizes his father is their landlord, Amanda drafts Charles into helping them, and he willingly complies with the requests of the beauty.

As the acquaintance between the families deepens, Amanda comes to realize that Charles may not be quite as bacon-brained as she assumed. When he rescues her from a drunken man, she then has to conspire with him to prevent worse consequences—all on Christmas Eve.

A Change of Address, by Kate Dolan, is a short, sweet Christmas Regency read. It may be short, it may be sweet, but it is fully formed, and peopled with believable characters, a few somewhat unbelievable plots that still work beautifully and a setting so vivid I could feel the damp chill of the new home.

It’s a home that Amanda, her younger sister and her mother, move to after her father’s death. A home so far removed from their accustomed luxury Amanda cannot help herself resenting her mother’s resolution not to accept their cousin’s offer to remain in their familiar surroundings. It doesn’t help when they discover their home is without furniture, let alone the most basic necessities to start their new life.

Enter Charles, son of their new landlord, in less than auspicious circumstances and you have the beginnings of a series of misunderstandings plots and subplots that Ms. Dolan weaves together with a gentle humour in keeping with her characters and her story.

While Amanda has strength of character, and her younger sister an equally strong sense of adventure, Amanda’s mother, and her motivations are not immediately clear. Once again, it is down to the author’s craftsmanship that the mother’s motives and personality are finally revealed.

Meanwhile Charles’ sister and father both play an integral part in the story and both come across strongly in their own personalities, as do the drunkard Plucket and his daughter, Mary.

Ms. Dolan packs a full-length story into a 77 page novella with her cleverly offered tools of suggestion, in the same way she crafts just enough description of her settings for the reader to fill them in to their own satisfaction.

I enjoyed that none of the characters were too perfect to be true. A Change of Address tugs at both laughter and tears and was a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas read.

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