Christmas Revels VI: Four Regency Novellas
by Hannah Meredith, Anna D. Allen, Louisa Cornell, and Kate Parker
Publisher: Singing Spring Press
Release Date: September 20, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
Come Revel with four award-winning authors for Christmas tales filled with laughter and tears and love…
HER LADYSHIP ORDERS A CHRISTMAS TREE – Scandal and outrage--dare one say blasphemy?--descend on the village! Her Ladyship has tasked the new steward, Lachlan Reed, to place a pagan Christmas tree in the Hall. Surely the vicar will put a stop to it, but only his daughter Emily is present to deal with the matter. If she is to avert an insurrection, Emily must enlist Lachlan's assistance, before Christmas—and a royal visitor—arrive.
“THE PLAY"S THE THING…” There’s always an amateur theatrical at the duchess’s annual Christmas house party, but this year, two people, Rachel Grant and Captain Lord Alexander Kingston, have assumed false roles even before the festivities begin. Lies and misdirection lead to an improbable attraction. Rachel is horrified when the action in her play goes off script and only Alexander knows how the drama will end.
YULETIDE TREACHERY – Frances Smith-Pressley doesn’t enjoy society, so when she’s dragged to a Christmas house party by her parents, she escapes to her favorite place, the library. There she confronts a masked man she later discovers is her host, the disfigured Earl of Wolfbrook. Brutally beaten and left for dead in France, Wolfbrook has included his potential assailants among his guests. Can unmasking a traitor lead two lonely people to love?
A PERFECTLY UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS – Abandoned by her husband after their wedding night, Portia struggles to manage his estate and care for the daughter who arrives precisely nine months later. When St. John attempts to return home for the christening, a riding accident results in amnesia. The physician recommends a return to his routine, and if St. John can survive the regimen Portia decrees, he hopes to have a home for Christmas. Forever.
I tend to like my romances on the sexy, sassy side but sometimes I'm more in the mood for a sweet, heartwarming journey to love. This tends to occur most often at Christmas when I can curl up with a cup of hot tea, my favorite cozy blanket, and lose myself in happily-ever-afters from Regency England. Even better if the stories are novella length, the perfect reading nugget to slip in between shopping, baking, and all the other items on my holiday to-do list. It's also a great way to try out authors I have yet to read. Over the years, I've discovered some of my favorite, keeper-shelf, authors by picking up a Christmas anthology of novellas.
Christmas Revels VI offers readers four stories, each written by a different author, each appealing in their own way, each featuring a heroine I could root for and a hero who captured a bit of my heart.
In the first story, there's a vicar's spinster daughter, tainted by her sister's scandal, who finally takes control of her own happiness in a rural village overflowing with quirky, gossipy townspeople. The author does a great job of bring the characters, and the town, to life with humor and emotion. It's a sweet romance between two characters who won my heart.
The second story, set at a duke and duchess's house party features a mystery, a family reunion, and a reminder that people are more than the physical appearance they present. I loved that the heroine falls in love with the hero's mind and heart, and that his disguised, less than appealing, appearance, rather than being off-putting, to our heroine, becomes an endearing part of the whole.
The third story, featuring a scarred hero and a bluestocking heroine, was my favorite. My heart hurt for the disfigured, reclusive hero who was exposed by a British traitor and badly beaten by the French. Man, did this guy deserve some happiness. Enter the bluestocking older daughter of one of his guests who is exactly what our hero never knew he needed. Expect snappy banter, danger, a traitor to unmask, and a love that shines bright. I really adored these two.
Two favorite tropes, a marriage of convenience and second chances, take the spotlight in the fourth novella. When this story opens, our "hero" is anything but heroic. He's a drunk (actually, an alcoholic), and less than appealing. But a riding accident, resulting in a head injury, and month-long coma, gives our couple the opportunity for a second chance. I really loved the heroine in this story and admired her strength, her intelligence, and her determination to be her own, independent, person. I appreciated her reasons for going through with the marriage, even knowing the kind of man she was marrying, and her reasons for what she does when he awakens from his coma. I'm a sucker for second chances and though I would have had a really hard time forgiving the hero for his former actions, I really liked the (sober) person he gradually becomes post-coma and I liked these two together. I turned the final page confident they would have a long and happy life.
Have you discovered any favorite authors through a holiday anthology?
I started my holiday baking over the weekend. What would be your favorite treat to find on the table at a holiday house party?
I'm giving one randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, December 10, a Kindle copy of Christmas Revels VI.
*Must be 18 or older