2014 Christmas Recommends/Historical, Part 2!

… and here come my 2014 Historical Christmas recommends part two.

‘What a Lady Needs for Christmas’ by Grace Burrowes

walnfc gbSTORY: The Best Gifts are the Unexpected Ones…

To escape a scandal, Lady Joan Flynn flees to her family’s estate in the Scottish Highlands. She needs a husband by Christmas, or the holidays will ring in nothing but ruin.

Practical, ambitious mill owner Dante Hartwell offers to marry Joan, because a wellborn wife is his best chance of gaining access to aristocratic investors.

As Christmas—and trouble—draw nearer, Dante and Joan’s marriage of convenience blossoms into unexpected intimacy, for true love often hides beneath the most unassuming holiday wrapping…

REVIEW: I loved this story so much!

This particular story had a hero to die for. I mean, this man was such a good man, an understanding, practical and logical sort. It’s not easy to find that kind in any period, let alone in Victorian England, but our heroine is one lucky woman and she knows it, so I’m not surprised that she fell for him.

When it comes to that familiar trope of marriage of convenience, we’ve probably read thousands of them, but Grace Burrowes turns this tale on its head by pairing two people from vastly different backgrounds and temperaments, yet both brutally honest and acceptable of each other within one train ride.

Dante with his children is catching a train to Ballater as he fails to find a wife among the beau monde society.

Lady Joan Flynn is desperate to flee to Balfour House because she feels that she had disgraced her family and is faced with a dilemma of how to fix this problem.

As Dante comes to her aid more than once during her trip to Scotland, they both come to realize that each is an answer to the other’s dilemma.

Grace Burrowes is my hero. No joke. She writes stories that are so relatable and could apply to any one of us, regardless of the time setting.

I loved everything about this story from the pace, plot and characterization. This was one sweet, tender and heartwarming Christmas read! Highly recommending it to all of you but especially to those that have never read this author. Time for you to start and may as well be this one.

‘A Holiday Gamble’ by Jane Feather

ahg jfSTORY: A viscount stranded on a stormy night. The beautiful heiress who takes him in.

Edward Vasey, otherwise known as Viscount Allenton, is journeying precariously through a snowstorm one night when his coach is overtaken by highwaymen. Robbed and stranded, Edward takes refuge at Selby Hall, where he meets a spirited beauty who may steal something more—his heart.

As passion flares between them, Edward uncovers a shocking secret that threatens to tear them apart…but will this be enough to chill their steamy love on a cold winter’s eve?

REVIEW: This is a short story that was originally published in ‘Snowy Night with a Stranger’ anthology which I never read before so I’m glad that these authors decided to publish their stories separately.

This is such a great short novella for all of you bookworms that have never read this author. I love all of her books and highly recommend you read her stories.

In this story we have an awesome hero that is back in England after a long absence while our heroine is in a predicament of sorts.

Ms. Feather manages to fill this short story with some mystery, quick pace and an entertaining plot, while still giving us a great characterization of our hero and heroine. If you like your hero and heroine sharp and witty, strong in their convictions and both very likable to boot, then this story’s for you.

‘When Sparks Fly’ by Sabrina Jeffries

wsf sjSTORY: Plain, bookish Elinor Bancroft is traveling with her aunt and young cousins to spend the holidays with her father, when a carriage mishap leaves the party stranded at the remote manor of Lord Martin Thorne. Also known as “the Black Baron,” he has no patience for invalids or spoiled heiresses, and children are usually terrified of him. But he gives them refuge during the snowstorm, and to keep the children out of his way Elinor helps them turn the sparse manor into a warm holiday haven for Christmas.

Lord Thorne is none too happy about playing host to four children and two women at his least favorite time of the year. But sparks fly whenever he and Elinor are together, and pretty soon they both realize that Christmas takes on a whole new glow when you share it with the one you love.

REVIEW: This is another short story that was originally published in ‘Snowy Night with a Stranger’ anthology which I never read before so I’m glad that these authors decided to publish their stories separately.

I actually liked the heroine because she was not the stereotypical, blonde, beautiful and skinny. Our heroine wears spectacles and is a bit chubby, while our hero sounded like young and attractive Mr. Scrooge. Spoiler Alert of sorts: Charles Dickens makes a cameo appearance and I loved it!

The story is very entertaining, the plot a bit mysterious and the romance sweet.  But what I enjoyed most about this story were all the secondary characters in it and the wonderful Christmas traditions that Ms. Jeffries describes so well.

If you’re in a mood to watch some sparks fly as these two assume who and what the other is, please pick this romance and have some fun reading it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher


‘The Truth About Lord Stoneville’ by Sabrina Jeffries

TTALS SJSTORY: They’re the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year’s end—or kiss their inheritance good-bye.

In the two decades since a tragic “accident” took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn’t settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style—by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead.

Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who’s gone missing, but her engagement won’t stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother’s bluff, but it’s soon made all too real—by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

REVIEW: Hester Plumtree is the owner of the family brewery and grandmother to her late daughter’s grown children.  None of these Hellions of Halstead Hall have any interest in marrying.  They are content with their lives just as it is.  However, Hester is determined to see them married and settled.  Therefore, she gives them an ultimatum to be married within a year or risk being cut off.

Oliver is the oldest and heir and the pressure is on him to marry soon.  Hoping to thwart his grandmother’s edict, he decides to find a woman from a brothel to bring home to wed.  But when he happens upon Maria Butterfield, an American who has journeyed to the England to find her betrothed, he finds she is perfect for his scheme.

She is the heiress to the New Bedford Shipping Lines in the U.S. and has not heard from her fiancé who was to go to England to look for business for her American company.   When she spots a satchel that belongs to her fiancé, she tries to grab it only to be caught by Oliver.  He assumes she is trying to steal it and instead of turning her over to the authorities she agrees to pose as his fiancé for just a day.  As with all great plans like this, her stay increases and the characters all interact into a terrific story.

I truly enjoyed this novel and especially the humorous banter between Oliver and Maria.  Once again, Sabrina Jeffries has displayed her writing talents beautifully.

*Connie for b2b

*Book provided by my local Library.

‘Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries

STORY: Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has been estranged from his mother for most of his life. When his mother’s new companion, Mrs. Camilla Stuart, writes to tell him that his mother is seriously ill, he goes home.

But when he learns that the lovely widow tricked him in order to effect a holiday reconciliation, he refuses to stay—unless she meets his “terms.”

Somewhere between trying to seduce the beautiful Camilla and struggling with the cruel memories of his childhood Christmases, Pierce discovers that not only does forgiveness go two ways, but that love can blossom even in the coldest of winters.

REVIEW: If you are a fan of Ms. Jeffries, then I know for sure you’ll get this book, however, if you’ve never ever heard of her name [OMG! Where have you been all this time?], this is a perfect book to start you on a journey of discovery.

Even though we’ve encountered this novel’s hero in Ms. Jeffries earlier books, this story stands on its own and you need not [but you really should, just because they’re awesomely good as well] read the earlier books.

Pierce Waverly was a mix of Alpha and Beta heroes. As a child he battled asthma and for the longest time he couldn’t understand the reasons behind his exile from the only home he knew. What hurt the most is the abandonment of his parents, though. For years he would spend his school vacations with his cousins until he became an adult.

Miss Camilla Stuart was an exemplary companion to the Dowager Countess of Devonmont, Pierce’s mother. Through her conversations and astute observation of the older woman, she notices her silent suffering and decides to interfere by sending Pierce a missive informing him that his mother is ill.

This was such a heartwarming Christmas tale that will keep you spellbound from the first to the last page. The story delves with past mistakes, regrets and many misunderstandings and assumptions, but the heart of it is the love of a mother for her son and the sacrifice she gives for his protection.

It made me  go through many emotions; making me cry and laugh and sigh, but it was never ever boring! I highly recommend you read this one.