This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
About The Book
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic and love.
It’s frosty December and six Cynster families come together at snowbound Casphairn Manor with members of their households to celebrate the season in true Cynster fashion—and where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind.
The festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them.
However, Claire, once bitten, twice shy, believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Yet Daniel is determined. He’s seen the kind of love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.
Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, their relationship deepens. But then catastrophe strikes, and by winter’s light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.
By Winter’s Light is the first book in the Cynster New Generation series and is also a holiday romance that is set in the Victorian Era as its year 1837. I have been wanting to read this one for the longest time and I have been wanting to explore more of this author’s work. She isn’t an author that I want to read all at once though because I know sometimes her books can feel the same (some author’s writing styles are like this so its intelligent to space them out). I was really intrigued with the setup of the story, as I do love a good unrequited love or intentions of marriage. There is also a Christmas theme to this story and I can’t tell you how much I adore this cover. There is such a magical theme to it. It really fits the Christmas setting. And one thing you can truly depend on with Stephanie Laurens is that her books are so authentic to the era. I love the realism feel to it, with the combination of culture and society and history that she is able to implement. But it also means that you need to be more patient as she takes the time for the description and captures the scene. The romance is charming, the characters and reconnecting, and the setting is purely festive.
By Winter’s Light begins with the youger generation of the Cynster clan have arrived to Casphairn Manor, which is Richard and Catriona Cynster’s place of residence. Daniel Crosbie, the tutor to Lucifer’s Cynster’s son and Claire Meadows, govern to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter are drawn together during this festive time. Daniel and Claire have known each other previously, and there is an attraction between them. Daniel is looking to win the hand of Claire, but Claire had a ot great marriage the first time around and isn’t eager to participate in it once again. But Daniel and Cynster younglings are determined to bring these two together with a level of matchmaking. We see another story prop up with Lucilla to help with childbirth with the other Cynster’s aiding her in bringing about the miracle of a child being born. Will Daniel be able to convince Claire that they are meant to be together and overcome her fears?
What I Loved
There were quite a few things about this one that I actually enjoyed. I loved the authenticity element to the time period and the way in which the author really capitalized on the culture of the Christmas season. You see the richness that is displayed. We also get some wonderful family dynamics and I was having so much fun getting back with the Cynsters. I do think that the Christmas/Winter theme will work for quite a few. The romance that is developed is quite sweet and endearing and I really enjoyed Daniel’s devotion and determination to win over Claire’s hand. I was really drawn into the charm and elegance that is displayed and the writing stye that is so clearly a “Stephanie Laurens” signature.
What I Struggled With
While there were quite a few things that I enjoyed, there were also some aspects to this story that just didn’t quite work out or me. Quite frankly, I was mostly bored with this story. I had to really force myself to keep going with this book and just pushed the speed faster on the narration to get through it.. I wasn’t too invested in the romance, I wasn’t a fan of Claire’s character and it felt choppy at moments. I didn’t quite get the separate storylines that happen in this story and would have wished for more focus on the actual romance between Daniel and Claire. I felt like they didn’t get the story that they deserved here, It also could be the author’s writing style just doesn’t work for me anymore, as I have grown pickier with historicals. As I know there were some readers that really enjoyed this one. At the end of the day, I just don’t think that it was for me.
Despite my reservations, I really do feel like the narration was well done on this one here. The narrator really captured on the character’s personalities and the level of excitement and magic of the Christmas season in this story. I would definitely listen to him again.
By Winter’s Light is a magical tale of renewing love, endearing familial connections, and a sense of renewal and fresh starts!
Title: By Winter’s Light
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Hoopla Digital
Length: 7 Hours and 54 Mins
About the Narrators
Matthew Brenher is an audio narrator and voice-over actor. Brenher has narrated a wide range of audio books including romance novels, biographies, adventure stories, self-help, and philosophy titles. He studied at The Actors Studio and The Mountview Theater School. He is the winner of the 2015 SOVAS Audio book award in Hollywood for Best Narration for a Romance Novel. He lives in Los Angeles.
Storytelling Quality: 3.75
Story Itself: 3.5
Character Development: 4
Writing Style: 4
World Building 4.5
Feels + The Romantic Heart 3
Cover Art 5
Rating of the Book
Simmering cup of tea—soft warm touches and light intimacy
Warmin’ by the fire- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.
Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.
Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.
Cynster Next Generation
By Winter’s Light-Pub 2014 #1 in the Series
The Tempting of Thomas Carrick-Pub 2015 #2 in the Series
A Match for Marcus Cynster-Pub 2015 #3 in the Series
The Lady By His Side-Pub 2017 #4 in the Series
An Irresistible Alliance-Pub 2017 #5 in the Series
The Greatest Challenge of Them All-Pub 2017 #6 in the Series
A Conquest Impossible to Resist-Pub 2019 #7 in the Series
The Inevitable Fall of Christopher Cynster-Pub 2020 #8 in the Series
The Games Lovers Play-Pub 2021 #9 in the Series
The Secrets of Lord Grayson Child-Pub 2021 #10 in the Series
Foes, Friends and Lovers-Pub 2022 #11 in the Series
The Time for Love-Pu 2022 #12 in the Series
About The Author
Stephanie Laurens was born in Sri Lanka, which was at the time the British colony of Ceylon. When she was 5, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she was raised. After continuing through school and earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in Australia, Stephanie and her husband moved to Great Britain, taking one of the last true overland journeys from Katmandu to London.
Once in London, Stephanie and her husband both began work as research scientists in Kent. They lived in an area surrounded by history. Their own cottage was built in the 16th century, while next door were the protected ruins of an early Roman villa, and nearby was a 14th century castle.
After four years in England, Stephanie and her husband returned to Australia, where she continued to work in cancer research, eventually heading her own research laboratory. One evening Stephanie realized that she did not have any more of her favorite romance novels to read. After years of thinking about writing her own novel, during nights and weekends for the next several months, she began crafting her own story. That manuscript, Tangled Reins, was the first of her books to be published. After achieving a level of success with her novels, Stephanie “retired” from scientific research and became a full-time novelist. Her novels are primarily historical romances set in the Regency time period.
Stephanie and her husband live on peaceful acreage on the outskirts of Melbourne. If she isn’t writing, she’s reading, and if she’s not reading, she’s tending her garden.