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What Happens at Christmas
by Victoria Alexander
(Kensington, $16.95, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-75825-568-6 
***
A cutesy if uninspired seasonal comedy of errors, Victoria Alexander's What Happens at Christmas is a romp of little consequence that nonetheless provides a distraction from the rigors of the holiday season.

Camille, Lady Lydingham is preparing the perfect Dickensian Christmas for the perfect prince - Nikolai, prince of some country whose name she can't remember. And Camille's idea of the perfect Christmas certainly does not include her irregular and occasionally inappropriate family. So, enter, stage left: a troupe of actors better versed in household duties than playing parts.

Next, let's toss in an old friend, Grayson Elliott, who declared his love once more than a decade ago and disappeared. Naturally, given the crisis state of Camille's latest debacle, he is presenting himself at her door a handful of days before the most important - and most stressful - Christmas of her life.

Grayson joyfully joins in the charade, becoming unlikely allies with Camille's twin sister in the plan to maintain Camille's reputation while revealing her prince to be the fraud they believe him to be. Add in a few orphans, the return of Camille's real family, and the partridge in a pear tree, and you have yourself a humorous though not wholly heartfelt Christmas story.

Like the plotline, the characters largely lack depth, though Alexander's humor shines through = and, despite all of the comic mishaps, her humor is not at the expense of the characters. Regardless, What Happens at Christmas is a fun and light tale to carry you through those winter evenings after battling the hordes at the mall. Pick up a cup of hot chocolate and stoke the fire; you're set for the night.

--Sarrah Knight


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