Monday, December 2, 2013
Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?
You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?
1803 - "The Seduction of a Duchess" by Shana Galen
Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?
What I liked most about this story is that despite the fact that a) the footman is a good decade or so younger then Rowena, that's never a real issue and b) her children, all adults, stop their remarks once they realize how happy it would make their mother. Its made clear that Rowena had affection for Gabriel when he worked for her husband's family, but that she truly loved her husband. She wasn't unhappy nor was she abused when she was married. That part of her life was over however and now that she has very little to worry about, she sees no reason to turn down the possibility of a rewarding affair with a handsome man.
1818 - One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly
Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.
This was a sweet and amusing story. Nigel is the sort of gentleman that in most historical romances is the best friend to the male hero or the supportive younger brother/cousin. The "safe" choice. I enjoyed reading as he remained himself, but proved that he was the right choice. Amelia meanwhile is a rather mischievous little minx. Her flashes of clever wit and exasperation with Nigel are fun to read, especially when Nigel is kind of like 'Oh she must like this!'. Kelly plays with the Obnoxious Male trope here a little bit.
1825 - His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell
At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.
This is unusual in that our female lead, basically said 'screw my reputation, I'm in for a dull life so why not indulge?' and our male lead had apparently spent the better part of their out of wedlock affair bungling his attempts at convincing her to marry him. Campion, who has spent the last decade as her dreary, judgmental aunt's free labor/servant/companion and Lachlan, a Scottish Earl, were in love, but neither of them had the common sense to realize something had to change if they were to remain in love. In comes Lachlan's mother who is basically "You idiot son of mine, come Campion let's get you made up and away from your family yes?" Seriously, Lachlan's mother was pure awesome.
The story is a bit abrupt and dizzying, but since that's what Campion is experiencing it fits well.
1830 - The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble
Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson's Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up...
Ah one of my other favorite tropes--guy leaves, girl grows up, guy is like 'Why the heck did you grow up?!' and girl is like 'GET OVER IT'. Susannah is a spirited girl, hiding a lot of her acidic remarks for Sebastian's idiocy behind clever quips that only he really understands. Sebastian for his part seems to be so lost that when Susannah finally spells it all out for him he's still kind of dumbstruck.
As an added bonus a romance that bloomed in the first story finally takes root in this story, though it almost overshadows Susannah's and Sebastian's romance.
This is currently FREE on Kindle, so you really have nothing to lose by reading 4 warm and delightful holiday tales. They're amusing, romantic, sensual and offer a historical romance reader delightful tidbits of writing from each author.
eBook Review: A Grosvenor Square Christmas (Holidaze 2013)
4 Star Review|Anna Campbell|e-book review|Holidays 2013|Kate Noble|Shana Galen|Vanessa Kelly|