Sherri Lupton Hollister

Christmas Revels IV, another successful anthology

Christmas Revels IV : Four Regency Novellas

by: Anna D. Allen, Hannah Meredith, Kate Parker, and Louisa Cornell

I have been a fan of all the Christmas Revel Anthologies. Each year I am surprised by the excellence these authors exude.

Anna Allen captured my heart with her story, The Sergeant’s Christmas Bride. Ms. Allen managed to give her readers a heroine who was both strong and vulnerable. Elizabeth FitzWalter is a woman of courage and determination and Sergeant Jacob Burrows is the hero she doesn’t realize she needs.

After her brother dies she inherits the title and all the burdens and responsibilities that come with it. Jacob is surprised by her proposal but he is determined to live up to what his friend, Matthew FitzWalter would want him to be.

This couple should not be together and yet, they are a perfect fit. A truly beautiful love story.

I have enjoyed reading Ms. Allen’s stories but I feel this has been her best so far. I can hardly wait to see what she writes next year.

 

Home For Christmas by Hannah Meredith was a fun story of second chances and hope. Charity Fletcher was doomed to be a spinster dependent upon the largesse of her family until a surprise inheritance gave her the prospect of a different future.

When Colonel Lord Gilbert Narron rented a house in the wilds of Bristol he didn’t expect it to already be occupied. The new owner isn’t willing to give up her independence and he is unwilling to leave this temporary haven.

They manage to find a way to share the old house. While Gil devotes time and money into making the much-needed repairs, Charity searches for clues as to why she was named in a stranger’s will.

Adventure and attraction become too great a temptation. Ms. Meredith has us flipping pages to learn whether they allow themselves to be pulled apart or they give into the desires simmering in the fires of winter.

I’ve been a fan of Hannah Meredith’s for several years and she hasn’t let me down. I look forward to Christmas Revels V and whatever else these ladies write.

 

I was not surprised that Kate Parker’s novella, A Memorable Christmas Season started with a dead body. I was surprised that she had three romances intertwined in this wonderful holiday story.

Like an onion, we peel off another layer to learn the juicy details of this rich romantic mystery. Young love, first love and undying love are all represented. Susanna Dunley is the Dowager Countess but when her first love, Will Marsden the Earl of Keyminster sees her with a dead man in her parlor, she is once again the young girl who loved him.

Will Marsden has spent years as a spy and now he is a master of the art. He knows Susanna is hiding something but he is still willing to risk it all to save her. The story is revealed with seduction and banter as old friends rediscover each other and learn what has led to the murder of a traitor.

A mother’s love, friendship and the power of true love overcome all the evils to bring hope to a new year. Kate Parker is the master of layering plot and character to lead us through the maze to discover the truth of the story. I am a fan of her mysteries, especially her “Deadly Series”.

 

Louisa Cornell makes me laugh and makes me cry and keeps me turning pages well after my bedtime in her novella, A Perfectly Unforgettable Christmas. Ms. Cornell weaves mystery and romance with the added twist of a great supporting cast.

Viscount Debenwood, Lucien Rollinsby’s butler, Redford and his dog are only outshined by the little girl, Lily who steals his heart (and mine) and brings her mother, Lady Caroline McAlasdair into his seclusion.

Lily is precocious and unable to stay away from the grumpy viscount nor his little dog, Bonaparte. Like her mother, she is able to see the good man hiding in a haze of alcohol and guilt.

Love heals and Caroline McAlasdair has the Midas touch turning even the worst situation into a chance for happiness and beauty. Without even trying, she and her daughter give Lucien new hope but she too holds a secret and it might be the very one to send him over the edge.

This ensemble of rich characters makes the story come alive. I can hardly wait to see what Louisa Cornell does next. I am a fan, I hope I don’t have to wait a whole year to read another of her fabulous stories.

 

 

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