Three Regency tales of festive wishes come true…
CAPTAIN GREY’S CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL by Carla Kelly
Captain Grey had been fighting malarial fever in Savannah when he met Theodora Winnings. He proposed by letter—but it’s taken ten years to receive her reply. The answer was “yes!”—but is she still free to become his Christmas bride?
HER CHRISTMAS TEMPTATION by Christine Merrill
Faith Strickland’s plan to marry to save her family backfires when notorious rake James Leggett sets out to break her unhappy engagement. He’ll storm her Twelfth Night celebrations and scorch her into surrender!
AWAKENING HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY by Janice Preston
Lonely Diana Fleming knows handsome knights don’t really exist. But can a festive kiss from the man she loves reawaken her frozen heart?
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Regency Christmas Wishes: Captain Grey’s Christmas Proposal\Her Christmas Temptation\Awakening His Sleeping Beauty
There are three novellas included in this collection. I have reviewed two for this post:
Captain Grey’s Christmas Proposal by Carla Kelly
Over ten years ago, Captain James “Jem” Grey was in a South Carolina hospital recovering from a serious case of malaria. A beautiful young woman named Theodora “Teddy” Winnings regularly visited the facility, and talked with, and read to the patients. Jem soon became quite fond of Teddy, and she began to spend most of her time visiting with him only. When Jem recovered enough to return to duty in the Royal Navy, he decided to write to Teddy and propose. When he never received a response, he did his best to put Teddy out of his mind.
The years have passed, and Jem is now about to become partner of a ship building business. His travels take him to a hotel in Plymouth, where the owner has cleared out an old box in storage, only to find a long forgotten letter underneath. The letter is for Jem, and it’s in sad shape, but it’s from Teddy. She responded to his letter, and the legible parts tell Jem that she accepted his proposal. There is more that has been obscured by water stains and time – all that Jem can make out is that there was something that Teddy felt she should have told him.
This letter hits Jem like a ton of bricks! What to do? Jem never married, but he never really forgot Teddy either. What did she possibly think when he never responded to her letter? No doubt she’s married by now, and he should just leave it alone – but he can’t. He travels to Charleston, and begins the process of tracking down his long lost love. The search is not easy or straight forward, but Jem finally finds her, and the shabby woman he finds is nothing like the well dressed young lady he remembers. When Jem learns what it is that Teddy referred to in her letter – the indecipherable thing that she should have told him, it turns out to be shocking, indeed.
Teddy has never married, but her secret means that there is a large impediment to their being together, if, indeed, Jem still wants to. It turns out that Jem is a very steadfast man who doesn’t give up easily. He still wants Teddy, and it seems that she still wants him, so Jem begins to plan and plot, trying to find a way.
Carla Kelly has written a sweet and very unique second chance at love Christmas story with a hero willing to risk everything, and a heroine who is strong and determined. Their well deserved happy ever after may not have been achieved if they weren’t helped along the way by a mysterious man – one who appears to possess Christmas magic, which he uses to aid their seemingly impossible cause. CAPTAIN GREY’S CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL is a warm and satisfying read which will brighten up your holiday season.
Awakening His Sleeping Beauty by Janice Preston
Diana Fleming’s life hasn’t been the same since her younger brother died eight years ago. Her father buries himself in his office, while her mother generally stays in her own room, demanding that Diana attend to her constantly. There’s no socializing, no joy, and certainly no Christmas celebration in this household. When Diana’s father, Viscount Lavenham, surprisingly announces that his cousin is coming to visit, along with her seven children, Diana’s mother is horrified, preferring to dwell in her grief and solitude. But for once, Lavenham won’t give in to his wife’s demands. He’s determined that his distant cousins will spend the Christmas holidays with them.
Aaron Fleming is Diana’s third or fourth cousin, and he’s now heir to her father, since her brother died. Initially, he has no more desire to spend Christmas with Diana and her family, than she and her mother have for his family. Their first impression upon meeting for the first time in years doesn’t change their opinions, as Aaron finds Diana stiff and quiet, while she finds him overbearing. Little do either of them know, but Aaron’s mother and Diana’s father arranged this holiday with the particular hope that they would make a match. Since Aaron is the heir, when Lavenham dies, Diana will be out of a home, and marriage between them sounds like an ideal solution.
After a rocky start, Diana finds that she is enjoying spending time with her numerous cousins. They revive Christmas traditions and the quiet and cold house starts to feel like a home again. Some shared mistletoe kisses with Aaron have Diana hoping that they may have a future together. Aaron is highly sensitive to being manipulated, as one of his best friends just tried to trick him into being compromised with his sister. Aside from that, Aaron is very stubborn, and when he learns of the plot between his mother and Diana’s father, he storms out, even though he was starting to have genuine feelings for Diana.
Aaron is a hotheaded young man, and it seems that he will not be coerced in any way. If he can’t make a choice of his own, he wants no part of it. Yet, as he thinks of Diana, and how she blossomed during the short time they spent together, and how sweet it was to kiss her, he wonders if he’s making the right decision. Diana’s mother literally sucked the life and vitality right out of her. It was wonderful to see her “awaken” again, and to see the sparkle and joy that was part of her personality before it was subdued. It was satisfying to watch Aaron start thinking about his own family, and what he really wants from life. He seemed to mature before my eyes and become the man who would take Diana to a happy future. Janice Preston neatly wrapped up the loose ends to show the two families bonding, and celebrating a Christmas that indicated a much brighter future for all of them. AWAKENING HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY is an enjoyable read, which I feel really captures the spirit of family and romantic love at Christmas time.