My Historical Christmas recommends [part 1]

ACW JG‘A Christmas Waltz’ by Jane Goodger

BOOK BLURB: To Lady Amelia Wellesley, it seems utterly romantic to surprise her dashing fiancé at his home in Texas so the two can marry by Christmas. But Amelia’s surprise goes awry when Carson Kitteridge calls off their wedding as soon as she arrives, leaving Amelia in disgrace. . .

With nowhere to turn, Amelia finds an unlikely savior in Carson’s brother, Dr. Boone Kitteridge. Boone offers to marry Amelia, sparing her the shame of returning to England unwed. But Boone isn’t just protecting Amelia’s honor; secretly, he finds her irresistible, and the thought of indulging his desire for her is too tempting to ignore. As Boone and Amelia forge a fragile bond, something goes terribly wrong–and it will take nothing less than a Christmas miracle for Amelia to discover who she is destined to love. . .

REVIEW: There are three books in this Christmas trilogy and last year I recommended ‘A Christmas Scandal’ which is book two, and today I’m recommending book three [tomorrow I’ll do book one, ‘Marry Christmas’].

For someone that’s always reading any series in order, I’ve no idea why I read this trilogy out-of-order. It really isn’t necessary for them to be read in order… however, maybe I should have. Because they would have flowed better time wise.

In any case, I’m here to let you know that this is a well written, plotted and executed sweet, sensual and very charming tale.

What I liked best about it is the dialogue and the fast pace of the story as well as strong characterization of hero and the heroine.

I adored Lady Amelia Wellesley who might seem flighty and naïve, but this woman was one strong female. For her to leave her native England and pursue the love of her life [an American Cowboy who proposed to her only because he wanted to bed her] all on her own takes guts.

Boone Kittredge is this small town’s doctor and her fiancé’s brother.  He’s also a total opposite of Carson, and Amelia is having a hard time coming to terms with the man she remembers from England, with the man that he is now, here in America.

Boone is a Beta hero all the way, and I just loved him to pieces. Once we get to know his background, we love him even more. This man has survived much abuse from his father, and it was something that made him into a somber and strong person. As well as someone who has always been there to pick up the pieces of his older brother leaves behind.

I also loved the secondary characters in this tale and was heartbroken at the life and hardships they lived through.

This is a story for every age and any time, not just Christmas.

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CR LBIW SK MJP PR‘Christmas Roses: Love Blooms in Winter’ by Mary Jo Putney,  Patricia RiceSusan King

BOOK BLURB: Love blooms in Winter…

Three rare, historical romance novellas by acclaimed writers Patricia Rice, Mary Jo Putney, and Susan King are collected together here for the first time in this exclusive eBook, Christmas Roses.

“The Snow Rose”, “The Black Beast of Belleterre”, and “The Kissing Bough” weave tales of the joy of unexpected Love, at a special time of year, Christmas – as only these talented writers can.

Discovery in the midst of a clash of clans, hidden desires from an unexpected suitor, and a love once lost and found combine for a truly romantic journey through history.

This tantalizing collection of historical romances also includes all-new introductions and recipes to add to the delight of the season.

REVIEW: This book was going to be a win-win for me because I’m new to only one of the authors in this anthology, Susan King and MJP and PR are my all time favorite authors and I’m in process of hunting down their back list for my Keeper shelf.

Plus, you can’t beat the free recipes that all of them are offering at the end of their stories: Oatmeal Brose, Potato Kale Soup, and Lamb’s Wool Punch may not grace my table this Christmas, but they sure were fun to read.

Here are my thoughts on their stories:

‘The Snow Rose’ by Susan King
Catriona MacDonald is determent to gain the rights from her uncle to her family’s estate and the only man that can help her is a Laird of an enemy clan, the Frasers.

The Laird isn’t much inclined to engage a MacDonald into a fight over a woman’s fancy, so he declines to aid her, but a warrior in his Hall feels that he might offer at least some help to a woman who’s left to fetch for herself in the middle of a winter storm.

My fellow reviewer Leah’s been the catalyst for me to start reading more Medieval romances, and this one’s very fast pacing and so heartwarming that will melt your heart, especially when you find out why Catriona chooses to live alone.

Kenneth was an Alpha male all the way, but still managed to be caring and smart; strong and loyal.

I’ve never been to Scotland but Ms. King did such a great job in describing the world of 16th Century in which Catriona lived in that I may as well have been there with her.

‘The Snow Rose’ will melt your heart!

‘The Black Beast of Belleterre’ by Mary Jo Putney
MJP does a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ so well in this short tale that you won’t even notice it’s a short story.

Lord Falconer is blessed with wealth and vast holdings, but not with good looks.

As a child he suffered an accident which left him disfigured, so he’s been hiding behind a hood. He long ago accepted his fate, and knew that he’d never feel the love of a woman or his child’s small hands around his neck.

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TCICAE EL‘The Cheer in Charming an Earl’ by Emma Locke

BOOK BLURB: For Love…

The second of five impoverished sisters, Miss Elinor Conley knows her dream of becoming a lady is farfetched. When an unmarried gentleman happens by her brother’s smithy, it is up to her to act quickly–and rashly–to secure his interest.

But Grantham Wendell, Earl Chelford, isn’t in the market for anything more than a new horseshoe. What’s a bachelor to do when an innocent miss turns up at his Christmas Eve bacchanalia? He ought to make her leave, but his Twelfth Night party just became more entertaining…

This is story 3.5 in The Naughty Girls Series. To start at the beginning, please see the full-length romance THE TROUBLE WITH BEING WICKED.

PLEASE NOTE! This short novella was first published in the romantic holiday anthology TIS THE SEASON.

REVIEW: I can’t believe that I have every book this author wrote, but never read any of them!

This is a short and quick read with an entertaining cast of characters, like our heroine, Miss Elinor Conley.

Our little miss is in a tizzy as she believes herself doomed to spinsterhood because her little village lacks the suitors, so she decides to convince Grantham, Earl Chelford, whom she just met at her brother’s smithy that they would suit. What could go wrong, right?

Both of these characters were very likable and extremely entertaining.

If you like your novellas with lots of humor, plenty of romance and witty dialogue, Ms. Locke is an author to deliver on all counts.

Now I really have to get to the other books as soon as possible.

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TID CM‘The Inconvenient Duchess’ by Christine Merrill

BOOK BLURB: “Dear Cici and Father,”

“I have come to Devon and married a duke. And I’m more tired and hungry than I have ever been in my life. Please let me come home.”

Compromised and wedded on the same day, Lady Miranda was fast finding married life not to her taste. A decaying manor and a secretive husband were hardly the stuff of girlish dreams. Yet every time she looked at dark, brooding Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, she felt inexplicably compelled–and determined–to make their marriage real

REVIEW: I got this book for two reasons, one it was and still is FREE! And the second reason is it has my December theme of Christmas.

Everything in this story worked and meshed well, from our heroine Miranda, who was very ordinary and relatable character, to our hero Marcus who’s an honorable man with a gruff exterior.

Miranda and Marcus felt very real, and their love story and the plot were well-developed. I also liked the dialogue which was entertaining and helped move the story at a nice and steady pace.

Secondary character of St. John, the hero’s brother almost stole the story, that’s how well-developed he was.

I highly recommend it if you like a traditional Regency. The story is highly entertaining, intriguing and its complex characters.

This is a new author to me this year, and I’m sure to read her again. Please feel FREE to download it today!

CLICK ON THE COVER for a FREE DOWNLOAD!!

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THATT RW‘The Holly and the Thistle’ by Regan Walker

BOOK BLURB: A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift she’s ever had: a marriage not of convenience, but one of love.

This follows to some extent the first in the Agents of the Crown trilogy, Racing With The Wind, but can be read alone.

REVIEW: Here’s another author that just keeps slipping by me. I have a couple of her books on my Kindle, and I really have to find the time to read her, especially after I read this novella.

From what I could glimpse from this short story, I can tell you that this author does know her craft well and her characters are well drawn, three-dimensional; her plots well-developed and pace fast-moving.

If you like a romance that starts with a mistaken identity, this one is it. The scene in which our hero meets the heroine is priceless, and very well written.

William’s pursuit of Emily is so much more than just entertaining. It’s downright awesome! It really is a must read.

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MAM KR‘Mistletoe and Magic’ by Katie Rose

BOOK BLURB: In Katie Rose’s delightful eBook original novella set in Victorian New York City, a remarkable woman with the gift of second sight must learn to trust her visions while following her heart.
 
Blond, angelic Penelope Appleton possesses breathtaking looks—and a troublesome secret. She and her two charming—and newly married—sisters have inspired quite a following posing as spiritualists. However, unlike her clever sisters, Penelope actually does glimpse the future. On the eve of her coming out at a Christmas ball, Penelope sees a vision of a rakishly handsome dark-haired man who she knows is her destiny. But her premonition comes with a terrible price: She also foretells his death.

Jared Marton takes one look at Penelope and his fate is sealed. He must possess her, heart and soul, even if his efforts to get close to this ethereal beauty are thwarted by her determination to deny the magic between them . . . until a perfect kiss dissolves all barriers to sweet surrender. But when Jared discovers the burden she carries, a perfect love is challenged by the cold winds of fate.

REVIEW: Well finally I leave Regency England and head to Victorian New York!

When I read this short novella, I wasn’t aware that it was a third book in the Appleton Sister’s series, but fear not, this  story is written to stand on its own.

Our heroine Penelope is the youngest of the Appleton sisters and she has a ‘second sight’ which allows her to see the future, even her own.

And here is where this story gets intriguing. In order to stop a tragedy that she foresaw, she’s determined to stay away from the man she loves because she believes that she saw him die

I liked the characters and the suspenseful plot of this little gem and hope you give it a go.

*Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley & bought by me.

‘The Marquess’ by Patricia Rice

STORY: Scarred in a duel over a feckless woman, Gavin Lawrence leaves America to take up his new duty as Marquess of Effingham, vowing never to care about others again. But lurking in the secret passages of his crumbling manor house is a courageous and exceedingly annoying young woman in terrible danger.

The self-sufficient daughter of a soldier, Dillian Whitnell guards her injured cousin in isolated Arinmede manor after an attempt on both their lives. Dillian hadn’t expected the new marquess to notice her, but his stubborn refusal to believe she’s a ghost turns into a hide-and-seek game that leads to increasingly close encounters. A game where irritation turns to intrigue, and intrigue to a forbidden passion as the real villain emerges from the past.

REVIEW: This story was such a pleasure to read. Patricia Rice gives us her version of the beauty and the beast, and I really liked her take on it.

Gavin Lawrence, recently titled Marquess of Effingham, a badly scarred man, has finally arrived in England to claim his title and properties, including an old and run down castle with hardly any servants. His brother Michael accompanies him for this adventure, and as younger brothers go, Michael is ever so obliging in throwing Gavin for a loop, and the latest one is particularly troubling to this impoverished newly minted aristocrat.

Dillian Whitnell has lived with her young cousin Lady Blanche Perceval for a while now, and to many in the society, she’s known as Miss Reynolds, Blanche’s companion. The pretence is deliberate even though the name is legitimate. The women have become very close confidants and mostly rely on each other, and not on Lady Blanches cousin, young Neville, Duke of Anglesey who neither of them trust and are suspecting of trying to kill Blanche.

The two main characters were very likable once you got to know them better and understand their backgrounds. Trust never came easy to them and trusting each other took some time. Once Gavin finds out who Dillian really is and learns of her childhood, he can’t help but admire the woman she’s become. The same goes for Dillian, although it was much harder for her to get to know the man behind the scars.

What I also appreciated in this story is the realness brought to the love scenes between the two. There was no coyness in them and the chemistry was purely sexual in the beginning. Both individuals knew what they wanted from each other, and frankly neither wanted nor could offer more, at the time. I liked that.

Even though the story starts off a bit slow, I understood the reasons behind it. The author chose that course in order for me to get familiar with the cast of characters as well as the setting of the plot, and I for one appreciate that she did. It helped me to understand the dynamic between the main and secondary characters, and the relationship between the hero and the heroine. As the story develops, so does the plot and the pace is picked up. Ms. Rice knows her craft and there were no loopholes left in this well written, very solid and highly entertaining mystery filled romance.

As beauty and the beast stories go, this one’s one of the best I’ve read so far. I also read the sequel to it, The English Heiress, which is Michael and Blanches story, and recommend it highly as well.