The Heart of Christmas : A Handful of Gold / The Season for Suitors / This Wicked Gift
The Heart of Christmas A Handful of Gold / The Season for Suitors / This Wicked Gift Author:Nicola Cornick, Courtney Milan, Mary Balogh A Handful of GoldbyMary Balogh — Julian Dare is handsome and wealthy, the heir to an earldom, yet it takes a Christmas tryst in the country with the innocent Verity Ewing to teach him the true meaning of life. — The Season for Suitorsby Nicola Cornick — After so... more »me close encounters with rakes in which she was nearly compromised into marriage, heiress Clara Davenport realizes that she needs some expert advice. And who better for the job than Sebastian Fleet, the most notorious rake in town? Inevitably, the tutelage doesn't go quite as planned, as both Sebastian and Clara find it difficult to remain objective when it comes to lessons of the heart!
This Wicked Gift by Courtney Milan
Lavinia Spencer has been saving her hard-earned pennies to provide her family with Christmas dinner. Days before the holiday, her brother is swindled, leaving them owing more than they can ever repay. Until a mysterious benefactor offers to settle the debt. Innocent Lavinia is stunned by what the dashing William White wants in return. Will she exchange a wicked gift for her family's fortune?« less
Two of the three stories, A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh and The Season for Suitors by Nicola Cornick were previously published in the 2005 anthology Christmas Keepsakes (ISBN 0373770944) The Balogh story was originally published in 1998 in the anthology The Gifts of Christmas (ISBN 0373833725) and was republished for the 2005 anthology. So if you are a regular Balogh reader, you've probably already read her story at least once.
The third story in this collection, Courtney Milan's debut, is interesting purely from the fact that unlike virtually all historicals I've read, it follows the lives of the working class. It makes for an intriguing difference.
It goes without saying that Mary Balogh's, 'A Handful of Gold', put this in the 'really liked it' category. It is the second time I read the story and I liked it as much as the first time. To me, Mary Balogh is the current Queen of Regency Historical Romance Fiction. I did 'like' the stories by Nicola Cornick and Courtney Milan. I have just discovered Ms. Milan and really like her writing. This is the first story I have read by Ms. Cornick and like it enough to check out her other books. Of course, I am really do not really enjoy reading anthologies. I don't get enough character development and the stories are so limited that the ending seems contrived. Nothing happens this fast in the 'real' world. Does it?