UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR
by Jude Deveraux, Linda Howard, Mariah Stewart, Margaret Allison, and Stef Ann Holm

November 1997
ISBN: 0-671-01374-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback
Rating:



This lovely collection of magical Christmas stories starts off with a Jude Deveraux offering, The Teacher. Lovely Kathryn de Longe, the teacher of the title, has a secret reason for accepting a position out at the edge of nowhere in a town called Legend, Colorado. She is desperately hiding from the father of her nine-year-old son and guesses that she'll find a measure of security in the wilds of the American West. That is, until she meets Cole Jordan, the father of the irrepressible hellion she is to teach! And to add insult to injury, Cole mistakes her for a scheming saloon girl out to snare him! Could things get worse? Yes - they could fall in love! Jude Deveraux has lots of fun with these two, as do we, the readers!


Margaret Allison makes some Christmas Magic for lonely artist Kim Risson. Summoned from her Florida home on Thanksgiving to be with her estranged father while he recovers from a heart attack, Kim finds herself attracted to her father's surgeon, Tony Hoffman, and the feeling is mutual. Unfortunately, Kim's father is head of Cardio-Thoracic surgery and thinks Tony is angling for his job! It takes a few twists and turns and a couple of triple lutzes before these two can approach their happy ending!


Jolly Holly is a holiday tale with a slightly paranormal twist. Eccentric farmer Isobel Burche and quiet loner John Wolcott would seem, on the surface, to have nothing in common, except for their will to survive. But before too long, a strange man (with a long white beard, a well-padded wife, and a couple of small helpers, hint hint) challenges their small town with a contest to find the most holly berries. What Isobel and John find is of far greater value than any monetary prize, however. This story is worth reading for the truly, groaningly awful punch line on the last page!!! Stef Ann Holm is really way below "par" on this one!! Sorry.


Mariah Stewart puts two lovers back together in a snowbound cabin after many years of separation. The twist here is that he, Cale McKenzie, has twin sons and a divorce under his belt, while she, Quinn Hollister, is a successful children's author. If Only In My Dreams lets us peek into both Quinn's and Cale's dreams and watch as one after another come true. The kids are cute, too.


The publishers saved the best for last, with Linda Howard's White Out! What do you do when an almost frozen stranger collapses into your cabin and the power goes out? Well, you strip him, dry him off, put him in front of the fire, then strip your own clothes off and get real close to him so that you can share body warmth!! (Oh, it's always a good-looking stranger, by the way, I guess the not-so-good-looking ones freeze to death!) Of course, all this naked skin and friction can lead to only one thing, and nobody tells it better than Linda Howard. Just when you think you know where this story is going, it twists back on itself and presents another wonderful scene, showing how much respect Ms. Howard has for her characters, her heroines in particular. I found this story sensual, spellbinding and enormously satisfying, and certainly worth the price of the book. Do indulge in this anthology - it's not just for Christmas, but for whenever you need a little bit of romantic magic in your reading!


Reviewed in November 2001 by Celia.