Fairchild's story is unusual but heartwarming, about a disfigured war veteran and Emma, a paragon of virtue and patience. She may be too patient and wise to be believed, and he nearly too weak, but they do get on well together. His dragon of an aunt is thoroughly conceived. All in all, a pleasant and diverting tale. 3 stars.
Metzger's spoof is the best of the bunch, in my opinion. A delightfully convoluted "wish list" holds this witty and quirky tale together. Metzger's clever "trick" of viewing the story from multiple viewpoints with similar phrasing is delightful, is occasionally taken a bit too far. Her characters are finely drawn, especially the secondary ones. Metzger delivers. 4 stars.
Kelly's offering is only so-so. It's a fairly interesting situation for the hero but is otherwise blah. There's nothing really special here, and the story is not firmly resolved. The author's style is nice, but the story is not particularly engaging, and there is a sense of it being unfinished. 1 & 1/2 stars.
Fairchild's piece is also less-than-wonderful. It involves a thoroughly dastardly brother and a twist of sorts. This tale is more sensual than most in such anthologies. There's some nice imagery, but it's only middling overall. 2 stars.
Layton's contribution is a take on Sleeping Beauty--one that is fairly obvious and straightforward. The tale is mildly diverting, but Layton, as usual, is overly wordy, relying too much on description and on "telling" the story. 2 stars.
5 great Christmas stories. High-spirited and humorous, heartwarming and romantic--full of the fun and flavor of the holiday season. And in each delightful story you'll find that there's one Christmas present that lasts all year round--the gift of love.
From the back cover:
The gifts of Christmas are priceless-good cheer, warm hearts, and happy times with friends. And now five bestselling Regency authors have made a special present to you -five brand-new stories. High spirited and humerous, heartwarming and romantic-and full of the fun and flavor of the holiday season-they're the perfect present to share with friends and loved ones. And in each delightful story you'll find that there's one Christmas present that lasts all year round - the gift of true love.
Book contains these stories: Heart's Desire, Christmas Wish List, An Object of Charity, A Christmas Canvas, and The Last Gift.
I own about 30 Regency Christmas antholgies and love them all. This one was a double. I can't keep track of what I have and don't have when I go to bookstores!