My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Christmas Revels #4
Publication Date: 9/18/18
Mr. Hunt’s Christmas Caller by Anna D. Allen
I really liked this well-written novella and it was the first time I’ve read anything by Anna D. Allen. I liked that both the hero and heroine were both older – in their thirties and both of them were flawed – as in not the most handsome man alive or a diamond of the first water. They were just regular people – NOT the ton. Add in that it was also a Christmas story and it was really nice.
Mr. Matthias Hunt of Oakwood Hall wasn’t looking forward to the Christmas celebrations. Once again, he had been unlucky in finding a wife. He’d proposed and she’d said she needed to think – then – in church – the bans were read announcing her engagement to another man. Well – what did he expect – she was half his age! So, all Matthias wanted to do this Christmas was to sit by his own fire and sulk in misery.
Miss Constance Blackwell was a very poor relation living in her aunt’s home as not much more than a servant. She wasn’t beautiful, but she had a sweet gentle spirit that drew people to her. She had also been in love with Matthias Hunt for almost the entire seven years he had lived in their village. He never really noticed her as a candidate for his wife – he seemed to look toward the young and beautiful debutantes. So, she’d always wish him the best and love him from afar.
Then, finally, he notices her – had he always been so blind that he hadn’t seen her – really seen her. People try to put obstacles in the way of their HEA, but it is a fun read to see how and what they overcome.
The Christmas Gamble by Kate Parker
My favorite stories are those that have both a mystery to solve and a lovely romance and that is just what this story has. Kate Parker writes one of my favorite series, Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, so I always know I’ll enjoy her contribution to any work.
Lizzie Hancock is very hopeful as she travels with her guardian to meet her betrothed – George Waters, Earl of Stonebrook. As she approaches, the house takes her breath away. She can’t wait to meet him – he certainly can’t be much worse than her guardian. However, when she arrives, something seems just a little off. She’s not sure what it is – maybe it is just the fact that her betrothed isn’t there, he’s gone to London on business.
The same afternoon, George’s long-lost brother, Gabriel, arrives and is amazed that his brother isn’t there. George sent for him and he’s come from the middle east to see him.
It is the Christmas season and there are balls and other festivities to participate in, so George squires Lizzie and her guardian around. Gabriel and Lizzie begin to really enjoy each other’s company, but Gabriel knows he’ll have to give her up when his brother returns.
Can’t tell you more – don’t want to spoil it – but there are some lovely twists to the story. After all – it is a Christmas story – and there are Christmas miracles.
The Gnome and the Christmas Star by Hannah Meredith
I really enjoyed this story. It was well written, excellently paced and had very relatable and likable characters. At first, I thought the story was going to be about the younger couple, but it turned out to be about their parents. YIPPEE! The hero was in his mid-forties and the heroine was in her late thirties, so not old, but mature. There is a really fun epilogue that I absolutely loved. To me, the only thing missing was what happened to the relationship between their two children because they seemed to be forming an attachment as well. Maybe it is in an upcoming book, but I couldn’t find it if that is the case.
Dowager Viscountess Sophia Lyndon married an older man with children because she needed security and had no dowry. She wasn’t unhappy, but now that he has passed on, she is going to savor her independence – just as soon as she gets all of her step-children settled. There is only one left, Henry, and he is turning out to be a problem. He lost his left arm in the war and just hasn’t adjusted well – he is temperamental, and can’t seem to find a purpose in life. She and her older step-son, Alexander, have come up with a plan – they just have to persuade Henry to follow it. They think being in the House of Commons and a political career would interest Henry and they present the idea to Henry. He scoffs at first, but then, the idea piques his interest. Once the idea takes root, Alexander mentions that he has the perfect location in mind – in a borough that Duncan Ashe, the Earl of Marle, heavily influences. All Henry has to do is travel to extreme northern England – in December – despite the weather – and attend a house party where he’ll interface with the Earl and perhaps receive his endorsement. All of Sophia’s step-children love her dearly and Alexander has a sub-plot that is all his own. So, he manipulates Sophia into accompanying Henry to the house party.
Duncan’s wife left him after ten years of marriage and four children. He’s felt insecure in his ability to ‘read’ the emotions and thoughts of the female gender from that point on. He thought all was well with their marriage until he came home and found her five-word farewell note. “I have always loved him.” He had kept that note for the last fifteen years and read it about once a week – just to remind him of his failure. He’d settled into a life where he wielded tremendous political influence and power and he held a yearly political house party where he could meet and endorse (or not) newer entries into the political arena. Females rarely attended the events. So, he was a little interested to see the young man who was bringing his mother with him to the house party – certainly an unprecedented thing.
Neither Duncan nor Sophia were looking for any kind of relationship and both were stunned at the instant and very strong attraction they felt for each other. I really liked both of them and I loved watching them realize that they could have more out of life – they could both have a love match. I enjoyed the story, but as I mentioned earlier there was a thread between Duncan’s daughter and Sophia’s step-son that was just left dangling. I would have liked to see that one tied up.
A Perfectly Ridiculous Christmas by Louisa Cornell
I enjoyed this happy little addition to the book, but I guess I didn’t think it was so much a farce as it was just three misguided men trying their best to protect three lovely little girls. It was bright and funny and the characters were engaging.
Valerian, Viscount Kenysham, William Collins, and Viscount Thynne had grown up together. They had spent all of their lives together wherever they had traveled and whatever they had done was always together– they were closer than brothers. Although he was the youngest, Valerian had always been the leader. So, when Thynne needed a new wife, a mother for his three mixed-race daughters, and an heiress, it was Valerian who went to Edinburgh to find just the right lady. Luckily, he did.
Lady Catherine Chastleton has come into a fortune left to her by her aunt. She already has much of the inheritance, but in order to receive all of it, she needs to marry. She doesn’t have a very high opinion of men, so she needs to find one who is weak enough to marry her for her money and still let her be in charge. Luckily, she has found just that man in Viscount Thynne.
The fun begins because the men don’t plan to tell Catherine about the daughters. They figure Thynne can have her “wedded and bedded” and they spring the news of her step-motherhood on her. They make an elaborate plan to keep Catherine away from the girls, but that quickly falls through. Then, they come up with a new scheme and work on that one for a while. Too bad none of them took into account the attraction that would develop between Valerian and Catherine.
The little girls are cute – and can plot on their own. They constantly refer to Catherine as The Hairless rather than The Heiress.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”