by Anthology

November 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4165-7822-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

Three of historical romances most popular authors have come together for this collection of Christmas themed stories.

Jane Feather starts the anthology off with her story A Holiday Gamble. Ned Vasey, Viscount Allenton, is going back to his ancestral home after living in India. Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating and not only is Ned robbed in the snow, but he must impose on his neighbor on Christmas. But something seems odd about this Christmas gathering and Ned has an idea that it involves the beautiful Lady Georgiana Carey and her rather belligerent fiancé. Can Ned get to the bottom of this Christmas mystery before something happens to Georgie?

Ned and Georgie have an interesting time of things amongst this rather crude Christmas revelry. There is definitely something not quite right about Georgie’s “fiancé”, but Ms. Feather manages to bring the story to a denouement quickly enough without losing sight of the romance amongst all the mayhem.

In When Sparks Fly by Sabrina Jeffries, Elinor Bancroft, her aunt, and her young cousins are stranded on a snowy night. Elinor’s aunt is injured and they are not sure how to get help for her until a soot-covered stranger rides out of the snow and rescues them. Only, he is definitely not happy about having a full house for Christmas. Martin Thorncliff, known throughout Polite Society as the “Black Baron,” just wants a permanent respite from the gossiping crowds of London. He is sure Elinor is just like all the other young women who have scorned him in the past. But as Elinor spends time with him during their unexpected stay, Martin has some surprising revelations. Is Elinor the woman for him? Can she love him despite his past?

Even as I got a bit frustrated with Martin’s continued self-flagellation for the past, I still enjoyed getting to know him. He is definitely gruff, but Elinor brings out a softer side to him. Sabrina Jeffries manages to create a festive, amusing, but emotionally tangible story.

Laird Duncan Buchanan’s callous past comes back to haunt him in Julia London’s Snowy Night with a Highlander. Lady Fiona Haines is in a desperate hurry to get word to her brother, the Earl of Lambourne, that he is in trouble and is being implicated in the scandal surrounding the Princess of Wales. Fiona needs to get to Scotland quick in order to help her brother. Her escort: a reclusive and brusque man named Duncan. Little does she know what he is hiding and how he will affect her future. What secrets will be discovered on their journey into the most remote parts of Scotland?

Julia London brings together a sweet and chatty Lady with a man who has been scarred by his past. I really liked Fiona. She seems a bit like an inquisitive child but when it came down to acting like a mature woman, she was able to express her feelings for Duncan. This is another story where the hero tends to dwell too much on his past pain but Duncan is a likeable enough character and is balanced by Fiona’s more open nature.

Snowy Night with a Stranger is a satisfying romance. These three authors have a lot of fans and I think their fans in particular will enjoy these stories. Enough steam and just enough conflicts to keep things interesting.

Reviewed in October 2008 by Sarah.

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