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A Sprig of Mistletoe by @katherinelbone is a Christmas in July Fete pick #historicalromance #holiday

Title: A Sprig of Mistletoe

Author: Katherine Bone

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Book Blurb:

She’s unconventional . . .

Christmas is Lady Catherine “Kitty” Egerton’s favorite time of year, and even though the temperature is mild and there’s little hope for snow, life couldn’t be better. Charles Dickens’s new novel is proving to be all the rage. Even more diverting, she’s accepted her brother’s invitation to travel to London with a childhood friend on the London and Birmingham Railway, to inspect a workhouse on Saffron Hill. The journey allows Kitty to help the poor, and to access the bookstore where Dickens’s latest book is sold. But in an irony of fate, the book is out of stock, and she shamefully accepts several copies from a mysterious donor, risking her reputation.

He’s not who he says he is . . .

Bartholomew “Bart” Fernsby netted his worth speculating on the railroad. But to whom much is given, more is required. Haunted by a scandalous past and determined not to let history repeat itself, Bart takes on the plight of the East End by becoming one of the founding members of a Poor Law Union seeking to bring education to the poorest sections of London. To that end, he’s enlisted a friend to help raise funds for Field Lane Ragged School, a workhouse Charles Dickens visited three months earlier. The children housed there idolize the writer, and as a gift to them, Bart purchases multiple copies of A Christmas Carol with plans to distribute them to those who’ve learned how to read. There’s only one problem—Bart hates Christmas.

Can a sprig of mistletoe deliver a miracle?


“Thief!” another demanding bellow followed. “Get back here, boy!”

The engine whistled off more loudly than the previous time, preventing her from hearing more of the altercation as she dragged her attention away from the decorative ceiling to search the platform for its source. In London, or anywhere crowds gathered and innovation excelled, pickpockets roamed, and wherever there was a crush of people, thefts and accidents occurred.

Compressors for the brakes shifted, creating a chuffing sound. Steam and exhaust burst forth from the train, propelled with great force from a continuous line of pipe, giving Kitty hardly any time at all to respond before the little thief suddenly appeared out of the ether.

“Get out of me way!” he spat before barreling into her. Kitty lost her balance grappling for the child, their limbs intertwined, as she tried to prevent both of them from falling to their deaths. “I’m sorry, miss.” He broke free and ran off, leaving Kitty struggling to regain her balance.

Tangled in her skirts, she started to fall. “Help!” she shouted, her heart pounding so hard it might break out of her chest.

Two large, strong hands circled her waist, and she was yanked into a solid wall of muscle, the daring act sparing her from toppling between two cars and bludgeoning her head on the ironworks. “Oh!” she exclaimed at the impact.

“Are you hurt?”

She froze at the deep baritone voice. “No.” She blinked and dizzily raised her head, making out the buttons on a black greatcoat. She could hardly comprehend how this rock-hard form had connected with hers so readily. One minute, she was contemplating the architecture, and the next, a stranger was embracing her, a man. And one whose body felt surprisingly familiar yet instinctively thrilling.

How hard did I hit my head?

But Kitty wasn’t that daft . . . She hadn’t hit her head. Thanks to the man’s quick reaction, she hadn’t even made it to the ground.

Her senses jarred and mind spinning, blood heated Kitty’s cheeks. The stranger stood a head taller than she did, forcing her to lean her head back to meet his gaze. Steam swirled about them as the engine shrieked, the unwelcome mist enveloping them in secrecy. A peculiar world of sensation and folly encompassed them.

“You are shaking.” His voice eased over her like honey dripping from the comb, and her heartbeat kicked up to an even more unprecedented cadence. “Allow me to escort you to the ticket office.”

“N-No,” she insisted, despising how her body betrayed her. What had come over her? “You may unhand me now. I have found my footing.”

“But is it sound?” His face materialized before her, revealing the most rugged-looking visage in all of creation—masculine, formidable, tempered by time, and when combined with his touch, utterly intoxicating. “Forgive me,” he said. “I wouldn’t be a gentleman if I didn’t insist that you seek care until every possibility of injury has been dismissed. The railroad is accountable for—”

“No.” She stepped back, needing space and air, and she immediately regretted the chill that entered her bones.

Her rescuer was handsome and dark, and his eyes were a startling blue, contrasting their rustic surroundings. Expression lines etched his brows, and there was a minor scar slanting over his right eye. It was almost invisible in the shadows cast across his forehead by the brim of his hat. His cheekbones were defined, and an aquiline nose that slanted away from his face like granite appeared to have been broken before. A mustache adorned his upper lip, and his beard was neatly trimmed around his chin, a scant portion left untouched below his bottom lip.

“No harm has been done, I assure you,” she added.

Liar! He had undone her.

“I will not be at ease,” he said, “until a physician agrees with you.”

“Kitty?” Meg rushed to Kitty’s side, diverting her attention. She hadn’t even realized her friend had been so far away. “I thought I would die of fright when I saw that little thief collide with you.” She righted Kitty’s bonnet, adjusting the ribbons beneath her chin. “Are you certain he did not harm you?”

Harm her?

Kitty flushed. Was Meg referring to the boy who’d run into her or her rescuer? Meg dusted off Kitty’s skirts. “Perhaps you should do as this gentleman suggests and seek a physician’s care.”

She shook her head, shaken to her core, but not from the child or even her brush with death. “That isn’t necessary.”

“I insist,” Meg said.

Dazedly, her senses toppling end over end, Kitty allowed Meg to gently coax her away. Inch by bone-tingling inch, her world grew a bit darker, a bit colder, though she couldn’t figure out why. Surely the dangerous situation affected her. But how could that be? Kitty thrived on danger.

“Miss?” She started as a porter handling a pocket watch and wearing a hat marched toward them. He stopped before her. “Miss?” he asked again. His discerning stare took in Kitty’s disheveled appearance and Meg’s hovering nature, then cut to the stranger.

Oh dear! He didn’t plan to blame her condition on this man’s kind act, did he?

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What I love most about the holiday season:

I love the smell of balsam and gingerbread, Renaissance Christmas music, the flicker of Christmas lights, and having my family all gathered round me.

Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?

“What a delightful read! I've read many novella's/full novels trying to convey the spirit of Christmas, most miss the mark. I'm pleased to say this had it all.” —Amazon Reviewer

“This is just an endearing story of people trying to make a change and all the obstacles in their way. It is a feel good story!” —Amazon Reviewer

“Would make a great Hallmark movie.” —Amazon Reviewer

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card.

Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs July 1 – 31

Drawing will be held on August 1.

Author Biography:

Addicted to history and romance, Katherine spent the better part of her childhood roaming the globe as an Army brat. Then while attending college, she was swept off her feet by a military officer. Yes, reader, she married him, and they continued traveling the world. Four children, two Labradors, and three cats later, Katherine put down roots in the south. And there she pursued her lifelong passion of creating vivid stories that came calling with abandon. Adventure. Mayhem. Swashbuckling heroes. Her books are pure escapism at heart.

Social Media Links:


Barbara Bettis
Jul 21, 2022

Hi Katherine. I absolutely enjoyed this book! Good seeing you here. Continued best of luck!!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jul 21, 2022

Thank you, Katherine, for sharing your book in our Christmas in July Fete!

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