New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, and Candace Camp, and USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran come together for a sizzling historical romance holiday anthology.
Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead. In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in Twelve Kisses when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle. In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss. In Sweet Ruin, will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?
In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.
Source: ARC from Pocket Books via NetGalley
If you’re looking for a little historical magic to mix in with your Christmas cheer at this time of year, then this collection of four novellas is certainly worth a look.
Sabrina Jeffries continues her new Sinful Suitors series with a charming novella featuring a strong-willed American heiress and an equally strong-minded English gentleman set on changing the rules of industry. The Heiress and the Hothead steps away from high society to explore the more taxing conditions of the factory poor. Amanda was a side character in Jeffries’ last book (The Art of Sinning) and remains as strong and opinionated as ever as she defends her stance as a factory owner, while Lord Stephen defies his aristocratic lineage to expose the terrible conditions of the industry. There’s a real clash of viewpoints between the pair of them, but they’re very much alike too so it’s easy to see that they’d make a good match. Certain aspects of the ending were a bit brisk, but overall this was a good read.
I haven’t read any of Karen Hawkins’ books for a while, so Twelve Kisses to Midnight introduced entirely new characters to me. Fans of the Oxenburg Princes series will probably get more out of it, but I still enjoyed this tale of second chances, foolish misunderstandings and general stubbornness. Overall this was a pleasant read, but I didn’t find it overly memorable.
By Any Other Name by Candace Camp was my least favourite of the anthology, and not just because of the Americanisms littered throughout. I’ve read the whole girl-dresses-as-boy-to-search-for-brother story before and done better, though the confusion over Rylla’s identity was quite fun. It’s an okay read, but it was all a little too far-fetched and neatly done for me.
Meredith Duran has the dubious honour of being one of my love/hate authors, in that some of her books I find glorious and others I cannot stand. Sweetest Regret, however, is thankfully in the former category. I really enjoyed this tale of second chances, diplomatic machinations and foolish stubbornness. I really felt for Georgie being lumbered with her father’s house guest while he galloped off on important duties, leaving her to not only take care of everyone, but to uncover a thief and deal with the only man she ever loved. I liked Lucas too, with his interesting upbringing, secret longings and well-honed charm. With glorious descriptions, interesting characters and an enjoyable plot this was my favourite of the four (even if the appearance of a blue jay made me grumble).
Mixing high society with factory concerns and diplomatic circles, this historical quartet might not have been all dukes and ballrooms, but if you like a bit of Scotland and second chances with your mistletoe and roasted goose, then there’s plenty to enjoy here – whether you’re a fan of these authors or not. Sprinkled with Christmas magic and historical delight, this is a perfect, easy escape for those long winter nights.