5 stories set at Christmastime in England. These Regency authors have put together a wonderful Christmas book to curl up with and enjoy!
I read "The Best Christmas Ever" by Mary Balogh.
Edwin Gwent, Viscount Radbrook, is worried about his young daughter, Anna. Five-year-old Anna has not spoken since her mother drowned trying to retrieve Anna's ball from the lake. Edwin asks Anna what she wants for Christmas, but she doesn't make a sound. Anna knows exactly what she wants...a new mom. And when the family holds their annual Christmas party, Anna finds the woman she wants to be her mom. Unfortunately, her father and Emily have an unhappy history.
This was a Christmas themed novella with a predictable plot. My rating: 3 Stars.
MISTLETOE AND FOLLY (Sandra Heath)
Sir Richard Curzon is engaged to young Isabella. Geoffrey Hawksworth also wants the lovely Isabella and he decides to do something about it. He concocts a plan to break Isabella from her intended. Geoffrey plans to be there with waiting arms. During the days before Christmas, Richard happens upon his lost love Diana, who married another years before. Although Richard is hostile towards Diana when they meet, he cannot forget her.
THE CHRISTMAS CUCKOO (Mary Jo Putney)
Although this story is based upon coincidence, the story is good enough to overcome that writer's device. This is a charming story.
Major John Howard is a bit drunk when Meg Lambert enters the inn and collects him to take him to her home. Meg's brother (Jeremy) asked her to collect his soldier-friend to spend the holidays with them. Jeremy was detained but would be along soon.
Although having the same name as the intended visitor, the Major soon realizes that he is the wrong soldier. However, he is having such a splendid time, he has a hard time telling Meg about the error. Meg refuses to hear his confession -- thinking he is confessing to something else. However, everything is resolved when Jeremy and Captain John Howard arrive.
THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER ( Mary Balogh)
Six year-old Anna has one wish for Christmas -- a new Mama. Shocked by her mother's death in front of her, Anna has not spoken or laughed for three years (since the awful day when her mother died). Lord Radbrook, her father, is planning to ask Miss Chadwick to marry him; he hopes her happy nature will rub off on Anna. But his tiny daughter has other ideas; she zeroes in on a new visitor, Emma.
The reader soon learns that Lord Radbrook and Emma have an unfortunate history; one of which Anna knows nothing. But the heart does not worry about the past, only finding a happy present and future. Mary Balough pulls out all the stops with this sentimental tale.
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (Melinda McRae)
Ashley Sutton is the second son and has been at sea for 16 years. He left home under a cloud but hopes to gain acceptance and rekindle his boyhood dreams of an English Christmas. Because he did not advise his family that he was coming, he arrives at an empty home (the entire family has gone to have Christmas with relatives). The only people still home are most of the servants and Rose Norris, governess to the children of his older brother.
Rose, as an orphan, immediately recognizes what Ashley needs; she helps him create a Christmas at his home before he travels to greet his family at his uncle's home. Lovely.
THE DARK MAN (Edith Layton)
Eve Swanson, in her first season, becomes engaged to the Earl of Poole. When she finds that he has a current mistress (as well as a bevy of other former lovers in the ton), Eve realizes she cannot handle the 'normality' of such behavior. She breaks their engagement and, in disappointment, her parents send Eve to the country for New Year.
Something seemed wrong with the way this story was written; it seemed that I had to reread whole pages because of the archaic phrasing or odd prose. I'm not sure if she wasn't given enough pages for her story, but it seemed rushed.