I have been a fan of the Christmas Revels anthologies since the first one. As a fan of Hannah Meredith’s historical romances, I greedily bought the first book. Shortly afterwards, I discovered Kate Parker’s Victorian Book Sellers’ series. I have become a fan of these writers and especially look forward to their Christmas stories.
Each year I have bought the Revels. This year I was given an ARC for an honest review. That is not difficult to do as I have truly enjoyed seeing what these awesome writers were going to put together. One or two stories would usually stand out as my favorites, but with each new anthology it has become increasingly more difficult to choose which ones gain that title.
In Anna D. Allen’s Mr. Hunt’s Christmas Caller, we have a very unlikely hero. I loved this story because the hero and heroine were not perfect. Mattias Hunt is not the most handsome, nor the strongest personality. He is somewhat blind to the great lady, Constance Blackwell, who has always been kind to him. When terrible weather brings them together it seems they cannot get a break. Fate continues to pull them apart if Mr. Hunt allows it. In order to find love and to be loved, one must be strong enough to fight for it.
The Christmas Gamble by Kate Parker has a bit of mystery to it, no surprise there, Kate loves a great mystery and writes them too. Lizzie Hancock is full of hope as she and her guardian travel to meet her betrothed, the Earl of Stonebrook during the Christmas season. Her future home is beautiful but something isn’t quite right and this time, it isn’t her guardian’s gambling debts. From the curious staff who can’t tell her exactly when her fiancé will be returning, to his leaving so close to her arrival, followed by the surprise return of her intended’s brother, Gabriel Waters. Unraveling this Christmas mystery and staying a few steps ahead of the drunkard, Lord Grambling, Lizzie and Gabriel must depend upon their friends to find their happy ending.
Hannah Meredith’s The Gnome and the Christmas Star is a joyful story of second chances. The Dowager Viscountess Lyndon, Sophia never expected to be caught up in her own machinations. The plan to give her youngest stepson something to do with his life after losing his arm in the war, wasn’t supposed to include her. Second chances are only offered for a limited time, and one must be brave if they are going to accept them. As Sophia learns to live and love, she teaches others that they too can have their happy ending, if only they believe.
The final story, A Perfectly Ridiculous Christmas by Louisa Cornell is a bit of a Christmas farce as three good friends seek to find a wealthy bride for their widowed friend. Life rarely happens according to one’s plans, especially if one adds in three precocious little girls and a menagerie of angry kitties, a lie that keeps growing and an attraction that won’t go away. Valerian, Viscount Keynsham has been managing his friends for years but he is about to meet his match in Lady Catherine Chastleton. This is a story of love and friendship that extends to all of the characters. It is love that begins the crazy farce and love that brings about their happy ending.
If you love regency romances and Christmas, check out Christmas Revels V, and if you haven’t read their other anthologies, I can recommend them as well.