Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review - - The Last Chance Christmas Ball

The Last Chance Christmas Ball
An Anthology by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley,
Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, 
Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, and Susan King
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: September 29, 2015


Preparations are underway for the Dowager Countess of Holbourne's 50th annual Christmas Ball and love is in the air, even if the couples in Lady Holly's (as the dowager is known to her friends) sights are not yet aware. The war with Napoleon is over, life in England is beginning to return to normal, and hope is the prevailing theme of Lady Holly's Last Chance Christmas Ball. People are not meant to spend their lives alone and if they can't find love on their own then Lady Holly is more than happy to help them along with invitations to her ball.

In these poignant, heartwarming stories by the historical romance authors collectively known as the Word Wenches, love blooms both above stairs and below. While each of the stories brings a unique perspective, the central theme is threaded consistently throughout. All were enjoyable though these four touched my heart the most.

CHRISTMAS LARKS by Patricia Rice

Seriously wounded on his way home, a prodigal son discovers his safe haven is no longer his but now belongs to the church and is slated to become an orphanage. His childhood friend and two small "mice" teach him that his home is not made of wood and stone but of the love surrounding him.


Returning from war broken in both body and spirit, Lady Holly's grandson seeks refuge in a tower on his family's estate, refusing to allow admittance to any save his batman. Through grueling weeks of recovery and rehabilitation, he remains resolute in his isolation in a misguided attempt to shield others from his pain, including the woman he has loved since they were children; a woman with only one more chance to break through his barriers before she yields to his wishes and moves on with someone else.

FIRES'S ASHES by Cara Elliott

In a companion story to Putney's, Cara Elliott brings us the story of Lady Holly's older grandson. Ten years earlier, a young Edward had loved and lost Lily to another. When she arrives, widowed, for his grandmother's Christmas Ball, he's given another chance to claim the woman he still loves but this time he may be the one forced to turn to another.


When her father dies and his estate passes to a distant cousin in the Caribbean, Alice Fenton is faced with the prospect of leaving everything - and everyone - she holds dear but she has one last evening of carefree joy to anticipate before leaving for her job at a girls seminary. When a carriage accident brings a gentleman and his sister - also bound for Lady Holly's Ball - to her door, love blooms amidst mistletoe kisses and new possibilities abound but Alice's generosity to another may be the death knell to her own chance for happiness.

Anthologies are my favorite type of holiday reading during this busy time of year and this one is populated with engaging stories from some of my favorite historical romance authors. Second chances, revenge, intrigue, redemption and a touch of whimsy mark the eight hopeful and heartwarming stories in The Last Chance Christmas Ball.



  1. I really like Christmas stories. I've put this "on hold" at my library.

  2. All wonderful authors - sounds like a great read!

  3. As one who still misses the annual Signet Regency Christmas anthologies, I was excited from the time I learned the Wenches were doing another anthology. I loved their first anthology and thought this one was even better. It's such a treat to have stories from so many authors whose work I love.

  4. This one is a must have. I have shelves of Christmas anthologies and each year find a few more to add. I have several with a common event tying them together and it is a format that works well. The Wenches are some of my favorite authors, so I know I will enjoy this book. I love their blog, but haven't visited in a while. They have wonderful posts and links to their research. The problem is I start following those links and resurface an hour or so later. It is informative and enjoyable, but I don't have the time.

  5. I'm going to look forward to attending Lady Holly's Last Chance Christmas Ball. I've read most of the 8 authors mentioned. What a treat! I've already started my other Christmas themed books.