Review – How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sophie Jordan, Sarah MacLean, and Joanna Shupe

About the Book:                                                               Christmas magic is in the air… From the ballrooms of London, to abandoned Scottish castles, to the snowy streets of Gilded Age New York, four bestselling authors whip up some unforgettable romance…with a little help from some enchanted shortbread.

“Meet Me in Mayfair” by Tessa Dare
Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless–and unexpectedly handsome–Thorndale himself. Now the duke’s holding her future in his hands…and he’s not letting go.

“The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean
Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm–the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can’t resist the woman he never stopped loving…or the future that had once been in reach. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay…but if ever there were a time for miracles, it’s Christmas…

“Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan
When Annis Bannister’s family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss … until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms.

“Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe
Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker’s weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column’s author, can’t even boil water. When the paper’s owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing–especially when Duke’s attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                               How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Holiday Romance Anthology

My Review:                    

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Four outstanding authors have teamed up for an amazing collection of Christmas novellas, three set in England, and one in America.  Each story includes a mention of some shortbread cookies, which are rumored to have special capabilities, though they taste like dirt.  There’s also a clever salute to various Christmas movies or novels, such as Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, etc.  This collection is top notch – entertaining, and sometimes emotional.  I greatly enjoyed reading HOW THE DUKES STOLE CHRISTMAS, and highly recommend it.  I just wonder, are those cookies really magical?

Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare

Louisa Ward must find a wealthy husband immediately, or her family will be ousted from their home.  She’s hoping to meet some eligible men at her friend, Fiona’s, party.  Unfortunately, Fiona has some secretive plans of her own and pleads with Louisa to fulfill all her dances.  One of those dances turns out to be with none other than the new Duke of Thorndale, the very man who called in her father’s debt, and may cause them to be evicted.  James never planned on inheriting a title, and is tired of the fawning and single ladies fighting for his attention.  Louisa’s plain speaking and lack of deference catch James’ attention, and circumstances find them spending the next several hours together.  MEET ME IN MAYFAIR is a warm and delightful story of two people falling in love one enchanted evening, and working through the ensuing difficulties.

The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean

       

Eben James and Jacqueline “Jack” Mosby were childhood best friends, then lovers who intended to marry.  Their homes were next door to each other, and there was a secret passage which was often used by Jack to sneak to Eben’s room.  When Eben inherits the title of Duke of Allryd, he discovers that he is all but penniless, and vows to repair all the damage done by his father.  His hard work consumes him, and he postpones his marriage until such time as he’s solvent again.  All Jack wanted was to be a partner with Eben, but instead he becomes more and more distant.  Finally, feeling that she has no place in his life, Jack leaves to be companion to her aunt and travel the world.  Twelve years pass, with Eben living only to work, until one Christmas Eve, Jack shows up.  Is there any chance this couple who never stopped loving each other can find a way to bridge the great chasm between them?  THE DUKE OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT is a painful, yet beautiful tale of second chances, which is guaranteed to bring a lump to your throat and a few tears to your eyes.

Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan

Annis Ballister cannot believe that her boisterous family packed up from their Scottish vacation, and hurriedly left, intending to outrun the impending snow, leaving her behind with only two servants.  Even worse, the weather is so bad, it appears that Annis may be here for months.  When a neighbor arrives, intent on removing the servants to his home for safety, he grudgingly orders Annis along, too.  Annis is mortified at having to face the Duke of Sinclair again, as they had a disastrous meeting a week ago, with her family mistaking him for a servant, and her sisters blatantly scheming how to lure the duke into marriage.  The rough-around-the-edges- duke made short work of sending the Ballister family away a week ago, but now he finds he’s growing quite fond of Annis, whose plans are about as far removed from marriage as it’s possible to get.  HEIRESS ALONE is a passionate story with a duke determined to win the lady he never knew he wanted or needed, and some sneaky servants determined to make sure the unwilling lady changes her mind.

CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK by Joanna Shupe

    

Rose Walker desperately wants to be a reporter, but has instead become a popular advice columnist, who is portrayed as an older, well-to-do, married woman.  When the owner of the newspaper she works for, Duke Havermeyer, insists that she host a holiday dinner party, Rose knows she can’t refuse, or her job will be in peril.  The problem is, Duke doesn’t know that her whole background is fictitious, so Rose has to find a husband, some servants, a borrowed home, and plan a fabulous dinner.  Rose’s sham dinner appears to be coming together, and her deception seems to have worked.  What could possibly go wrong?  Duke is a hard man, a workaholic who abhors lies above all else.  I did have one major issue with this story, and that’s Duke’s interaction with Rose, a woman he believes to be married.  That colored my opinion of him even though he subsequently showed a willingness to make some major changes in his life.  CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK is a passionate story of a couple who manages to navigate a rocky path to find love and forgiveness.

 

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