Wishing Game

Wishing Game - A.S. Fenichel

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

A.S. Fenichel’s Wishing Game was a charming little novella, which I enjoyed quite a lot. This was my first book by the author, and definitely won’t be my last!

Mary, a spinster and the only daughter of the Earl of Westbridge has been living her days in insecurity. Because of entailment, when her ailing father dies, everything will go to a distant cousin. The Earl is suffering at the moment, and may pass on at any day. Mary feels hopeless and helpless imagining what’d happen when she loses her home. No, it’s not like she’d be down on the street. Mary’s Aunt Sarah, her mother’s sister and a widow, would take her in for sure. The problem is, Mary can actually save the day, or so to speak, if only she marries Sarah’s son, her cousin James. Unfortunately, she and James grew up together very much like brother and sister so Mary can’t even imagine being married to him! Then there’s the fact that Mary’s foolish heart still harbors the secret hope that someday, she’d find love once again...

When things are this way, Mary half-heartedly considering James’s proposal that he made just to see her happy, a letter arrives. And this, from the man right now Mary despises the most; Avery, the future heir to everything she calls her home. His letter is very polite, informing her he’s arriving soon in hopes that he can help Mary, now that the Earl is doing so poorly. Mary is mad, thinking the wolf has finally come sniffing for his due. Then Avery actually arrives one stormy night, a bit earlier than expected. And one look at him, Mary is like........ well, let’s just say, he’s superbly goodlooking and a complete gentleman to boots! If his good looks didn’t knock her off, his charming smile and consideration towards everyone’s needs should make him a winner to Mary. It actually does, as soon, the Earl and the household staff becomes enthralled by Avery. He wins them all over, except, it seems, for Mary, who is still holding a grudge that he’s going to rob her off of her home.

It’s the farthest thing from Avery’s mind at the moment. Though he came here with genuine intention to help the ailing Earl, Avery wasn’t thinking of money or the title. In fact, he’s not that interested in any of it, but he’s not a man to back down from his responsibilities. What never once crossed his mind is that the Earl’s spinster daughter would be so lovely! He can’t imagine why Mary never married. Now that he’s gotten to know her better, Avery finds that everything about her appeals to him greatly. A few days with Mary, and Avery becomes a hopeless cause. Now, if only he could change her perspective of him a little, enough to consider him as someone on whom she can rely on...

The rest of the story is rather how Avery wins Mary over. I wouldn’t say it would’ve been that tricky since Mary was smitten without a doubt. But she developed trust issue from a past experience. She was also being  prickly because of Avery’s position, not to mention she was finding it hard to believe that she was falling in love with the ‘villain’ to her coming ordeal. What she didn’t think that he’d be the answer to her prayers, as if conjured up by the silly wish she made in desperation one night, right before his arrival.

I would’ve loved to see a little more of Avery’s courtship of Mary because I was really enjoying reading it. True to the blurb, there is no sexual content, though I sure hope there was! Avery was such a gentleman, but I detected some past troubles that were never explored. In fact, there was so little about his background that I felt I’m missing something. And it kinda bothered me.

I’ll end my review in hopes that there’s a story somewhere for James too. 3.5 stars. Recommended if you’re looking for something short and sweet.