Gwen's Christmas Ghost - Lynn Kerstan, Alicia Rasley Very good Regency with a paranormal twist. There are friendly angels/spirits and devilish influences that try to knock Valerian Caine from his ascribed course of action: to "fix" the lives of his later descendants and those affected by his thoughtless actions.

You see, back in the 1700s, Valerian was killed in a duel over certain scandalous behavior that has had a lasting impact on the families involved. What developed from the events of that night is a bitter feud between the two families. Now, after 100 years in purgatory, he's been given a chance to return to his carefree rakehell lifestyle...if he can make the descendants of those involved "happy."

This directive is something of a new concept for the pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent Valerian, but after 100 years of purgatory and boredom, he dives into his role with the focus of a man determined to capture a prize he had imagined no longer in his grasp. He knows that failure will bring an eternity in purgatory with no more second chances, so he gives it his all with an eye towards reclaiming his title as Georgian London's most unrepentant rake.

In Regency England, Valerian Caine is newly dubbed Jocelyn Vayle, a name he detests but resigns himself to live with for what he believes is his temporary month-long stay in this world. Little does he know that one of the descendants whom he is to help, plain and unassuming Gwen Sevaric, will capture his interest and his heart.

This book is really about a wonderfully written Georgian rake who's forced to consider the consequences of his actions a century ago and improve the lives of those affected by such. His reformation is quite a joy to read, and much of the story is told from Valerian's POV. In addition, there's great tension in the plot with (i) our curiosity over how he is to fulfill his task, (ii) the question of how his "deal" will play out once his month is over, plus (iii) a missing heirloom that is at the center of the century-long feud. The romance itself is a little subdued what with all of the other goings-on, but even so, by the end of the book, I never doubted the sincerity of Valerian and Gwen's feelings for each other.