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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Anthology’

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

What do you get when you have four despairing mamas with four unwed daughters? A very matchmaker Christmas, of course! This delightful holiday anthology features 4 novellas written by 4 authors, all revolving around the same fun plot involving a Regency holiday house party and hijinks aplenty!

Her Christmas Rogue by Christi Caldwell

Lady Winifred Grisham has been in love with her brother’s best friend Lord Trent Ballantine more years than she can remember. The only problem is, Trent is a notorious rogue who doesn’t dally with the respectable. Except, Winnie doesn’t want a dalliance–she wants his heart.

To Make a Perfect Scandal by Danelle Harmon

Tristan St. Aubyn, the Earl of Weybourne, is a driven man. Haunted by the bad decisions he made in his youth, his life is all about work … working to restore his fortunes, working to rebuild the herd of unique racehorses that were his late father’s legacy, working to forget just how lonely he really is. Lord Weybourne isn’t looking for a wife … but when a saucy young lady dressed as a lad finds her way into his stable and charms the most irascible colt in the barn, Tristan can’t help but be intrigued …

To Win a Quiet Heart by Renee Bernard

Suffering from crippling shyness, Nicodemus Chesterfield, the Earl of Athmore, would rather battle an army of demons than put one toe inside the treacherous social waters of a holiday house party. But sometimes, a man just has to face his fears—and when Jane Pemberly is the surprisingly beautiful and fantastically charming prize at the opposite end of the gauntlet—it seems there is nothing a man won’t do to sidestep scandals and win her love.

To Tempt a Saint by Valerie Bowman

What happens when a saint is tempted by a sinner? Prudence Carmichael is the epitome of well, prudence. But when a rumored pirate—with whom she just might have had a secret scandalous interlude years ago, that she’s been beating herself up about ever since—appears at Lady Weston’s Christmastide house party and charms the innocent young lady again, can Prudence resist her first and greatest temptation?

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Each story in this anthology may be written by a different author but I like how all the stories share a continuity in the setting and the way in which many of the characters appear in more than one story, but the same events are seen from a very different perspective.


REVIEW OF HER CHRISTMAS ROGUE BY CHRISTI CALDWELL

This charming story features one of my favourite tropes – the older brother’s friend/little sister pairing.

Trent is constantly fighting his desire for Winnie, not only because of his friendship with her brother, James, but he also believes that she deserves someone better than a roguish second son. But Winnie is no shrinking violet but a spirited young woman who knows just who she wants and is determined to make Trent admit his love – and desire – for her.

I enjoyed the scene in the billiard room where, in order to get him to herself, Winnie persuades Trent to give her billiard lessons. Who would have thought a billiard lesson could be so sensual!

Her squirming brought her shapely buttocks flush against the vee of his thighs and Trent gulped.

Poor Trent is sure that with all the wicked thoughts he is having, there is only one destination for him – hell!

I love how protective and caring Trent is towards his blind sister and, at that moment, Winnie sees him as both honourable, kind and worthy of love.

I love how he braves one very angry brother to declare his love for Winnie before everyone.

Ms Caldwell brings her own brand of warmth and charm to this story.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

REVIEW OF A PERFECT SCANDAL BY DANELLE HARMON

This is a delightful story of a workaholic hero and a bold heroine who find they might share more than just a passion for horses.

I understood Tristan’s shame at having made such a terrible error of judgement and his desire to restore his father’s legacy. He hates Christmas because seeing the happiness of his sister’s family only underscores everything missing in his own life…someone to share his life with, someone who shared his passion for horses.

Lettie teeters between respectability and scandal. She is bold, confident and independent and it is these very qualities that draw Tristan to her as well as her passion for horses. They are obviously a perfect match but have hurdles to overcome in the form of Lettie’s interfering mother, her over-protective brother, Simon, and the imminent arrival of a certain Mr Homer Trout, her prospective husband if her mother has her way.

New-to-me author, Danelle Harmon charmed me with her engaging writing style and I was delighted to discover that I have more of her books on my Kindle.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

REVIEW OF TO WIN A QUIET HEART BY RENEE BERNARD

This story of a painfully shy hero and an accident prone, outspoken heroine has a slightly darker tone.

Although intelligent and well-read, Nick is virtually tongue-tied when it comes to social gatherings. Rarely venturing from his estate, he experiences the world through his beloved books, maps and the journals and sketches of explorers and adventurers. Ms Bernard captures so well Nick’s fears and anxieties when he is forced to confront a room of strangers.

Jane is pretty, confident and witty but her tendency to be accident prone has resulted in two disastrous seasons. It doesn’t help matters that she is intelligent and outspoken, qualities in a woman which are frowned on my Society.

When Nick meets Jane (under rather unusual circumstances), he immediately feels a kinship with her and is comfortable in her presence.

“Do you ever wish the floor would just open up and swallow you whole?” she whispered through the blades of her fingers.
“All the time,” he replied softly.
She spread her fingers slightly to peek at him miserably. “Really?”
He nodded.

Nick’s sister, Constance, is nothing more than vicious, bitter, manipulative bitch and I wanted to put my hands around her neck and squeeze. I love Nick for being willing to forfeit his happiness to save Jane’s reputation and protect her from his sister’s cruelty. Luckily, Jane is made of sterner stuff and I enjoyed seeing her foil Constance’s evil plans.

I love the letter that Nick writes to Jane…so romantic.

This is an emotional, poignant and heart-warming story from one of my favourite authors.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE

 

REVIEW OF TO TEMPT A SAINT BY VALERIE BOWMAN

This is a spicy story of a hero who would tempt a saint and a saintly heroine who refuses to be tempted.

Prudence’s internal thoughts, when she literally stumbles across Christopher in the conservatory, and her tendency to counteract Christopher with appropriate Biblical verses are amusing.

Christopher is hampered by rumours that he is an infamous pirate but help in resolving this problem comes from a rather surprising source.

It was fun watching the to-and-fro between Prudence and Christopher. Prudence is determined to avoid Christopher and pursue Lord Beesley, who does not inspire her to sin at all. Christopher sees a woman trying to deny her passionate nature. He understands her as no one else does.

Prudence might want to seem like an angel but he’d seen her passionate side. She was trapped behind Bible verses and rules.

Luckily Prudence comes to her senses, after unburdening herself to a rather surprisingly sympathetic mother, and what follows is one of my favourites scenes in the anthology.

“You’ll want to keep your eyes open, milady,” William warned. “It’s easier if you see where you’re going.”
“That may be a matter of opinion, “ Pru informed him. “I’m not sure I want to witness my own demise”.

This is a charming and fun story from Valerie Bowman.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  WARM

 

MY VERDICT: Overall, an entertaining anthology and the perfect accompaniment to the festive season.

Read December 2015

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