Review – Christmas Revels VI by Anna Allen, Hannah Meredith, Kate Parker, and Louisa Cornell

About the Book:

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.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                 Christmas Revels VI: Four Regency Novellas

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Her Ladyship Orders a Christmas Tree by Anna Allen

Emily Haywood, the vicar’s daughter, becomes the recipient of the townspeople’s outrage when her father is away and unable to hear their complaints.  It seems that her ladyship has requested the unthinkable – a Christmas tree!  While that’s quite the norm for us today, back then it was a pagan custom, and not the thing for a Christian town.  Emily is quite used to being a “fixer” and tries to calm the citizens while coaxing them into fulfilling the request for a Christmas tree.  Emily ends up meeting her ladyship’s land steward, Lachlan Reed, known as “the new man.”  Their quest for a suitable tree leads to an affinity between the two, but causes some gossip from the ever entertaining townspeople.  A sweet romance and some silly villagers make HER LADYSHIP ORDERS A CHRISTMAS TREE a light and delightful read.

 

 

The Play’s the Thing by Hannah Meredith

Rachel Grant is a teacher at the Claridge Academy for Young Ladies.  The mother of one of her students, a duchess, was very impressed by a play Rachel wrote, and invites her to her Christmas houseparty in order to convert the play to an entertainment her guests can perform in.  Rachel is a vicar’s daughter, and also the granddaughter of a viscount she’s never met, due to her mother’s estrangement from him.  At the party, she becomes friendly with another guest, Mr. Kingston.  This gentleman is very amiable, but also very portly, and is avoided by the other guests.  Rachel doesn’t judge him by his appearance, and the two become close.  Mr. Kingston is harboring a secret.  He’s actually the son of a marquess, and is on assignment to attend the party to discover who is a possible traitor.  His portliness is part of his disguise and is the result of substantial padding under his clothes.  Can Rachel forgive Mr. Kingston for his deception, and can they have found a genuine love?  And what will happen when Rachel encounters her grandfather, who is also a guest at the party?  THE PLAY’S THE THING is my favorite novella of this collection – it’s well written and poignant and a joy to read.

 

Yuletide Treachery by Kate Parker

John Ogilvey, Earl Wolfbrook, was badly injured and left to die when he was exposed to the French as being an English spy.  He managed to survive, but wears a mask to cover his badly disfigured face, and generally avoids people.  His thirst to find out who his betrayer was has prompted him to allow his home to be used as the site for a houseparty, where the suspects will be attending.  He encounters a young lady in his library, his private domain, and questions her being there.  She shows none of the usual fright at his mask, and boldly challenges his rudeness.  Frances Smith-Pressley is a bluestocking, and often helps her father with ciphers, as he also works for the government.  This young lady is unlike anyone John has met, and he’s attracted by her direct speaking, and her matter of fact acceptance of his injuries.  She doesn’t even flinch upon seeing his ruined face when he removes his mask.  As she becomes part of the team to flush out the traitor, she also brings new life to the reclusive earl.  YULETIDE TREACHERY is a lovely romance between a young lady who doesn’t fit in, and a wounded warrior, who thought he had lost all chance at love.

 

A Perfectly Unexpected Christmas by Louisa Cornell

Portia, the daughter of a duke, is about to marry Viscount Thornley, though her brother begs her not to, as the viscount has a black reputation.  Portia plans to go ahead with this arranged marriage, even after overhearing her fiancé and his drunken friends disrespect and insult her the night before the wedding.  After the ceremony, which Thornley manages to consummate, albeit, badly, he returns to town to continue with his debauched ways.  Portia takes up residence in his country home and gives birth to a daughter.  Coming out of a drunken stupor long enough to realize that he ought to attend his daughter’s christening, Thornley heads to his home, only to meet with an accident, which causes an injury leaving him in a coma and in precarious health.  Portia nurses her injured wayward husband, and her care seeps into his confused mind.  Upon awakening, Thornley continues the charade of amnesia, as he comes to appreciate her tenderness despite his previous treatment of her, as well as her hard work in putting his home to rights.  As the alcohol leaves his body, he ponders whether he can change and be a better man, one deserving of the wonderful woman he married, yet never really saw.  A PERFECTLY UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS is not a light or easy read by any means, but it is poignant, emotional, and hopeful while dealing with the painful subject of alcoholism and its effects.    ~Rose

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