This is an interweaving collection of 8 Christmas stories. Seven of them are individual stories relating to couples who attend the Duchess's Charity Ball at New Years Eve, and one follows these through the book with a chapter between each 'main' story.
As always with a compendium written by different authors, in this case seven of them, the quality is a bit uneven. But overall this is of a good quality. The two Jude Knight stories are, of course, five star, as is the very delicate way Jessica Cale handles hers. Susanah Ellis, Caroline Warfield and Amy Rose Bennett all manage creditable four stars. It is perhaps a little harsh to offer only three stars for Sherry Ewing's story, but the writing was very definitely pedestrian. And what can I say about Nicole Zolback's offering. This story was very loose and repetitive, and the writing was poor. I really didn't care about the protagonists and can only award it two stars.
However it was value for money and most of the book is very readable, so I would definitely recommend it as a good read.
some stories better than others...one is unreadable, just pure silliness...dressing people in masquerade costumes, calling them by titles, pressuring them to marry will not make the period "regency"...these folks act like college students on spring break...wrong, wrong, wrong...cheap, but not worth even 99 p....
This is only the 2nd review I have ever written, I couldn't put this down there wasn't one dud in the whole collection, I would love there to be a second one which includes Lord Aldridge, this is a keeper and will definitely be really re-reading
5つ星のうち4.0Lovely collection of connected stories, with more diversity than I'd have expected (yes, that's a good thing)
This is a lovely collection of short stories / novellas, based around a central event - a charity ball at the estate of a duchess at Christmas time. The various authors did a marvelous job of connecting their stories, with little tendrils here and there linking them, as the same characters wander in and out, making the set seem part of an intrinsic whole. I am not, in general, a fan of Christmas stories (cue the soppy music), but these were not overly dripping in sentimental boughs of holly, and focused more on the characters and people involved. The setting was good for the story, but a test - in my mind at least - is to ask whether the stories would have worked at another time of year, and the answer is a resounding YES!
One of the things I loved about this collection was the diversity of the characters, rather amazing, really, for something set in England in 1812, where the normal range of diversity extends from blondes to brunettes, all nicely WASPy and very, very English. One of the stories in here might set a few folks clutching at their pearls, but I loved seeing a rather different sort of story than what is normally found beneath the covers,and I applaud the author on her guts in writing it. (When you read the collection, you'll know which one it is!) All of the non-traditional characters and situations were handled remarkably deftly and elegantly, and as much as I'm not a Christmas story lover (see above), this was another aspect to the collection that made me want to stand up and cheer.
I'm waffling between giving this four and five stars. As with any collection, some stories were better than others, although the "poorest" could only be qualified as "very good," and there were a few historical or cultural details about which I am somewhat knowledgeable that had me saying, "but... but... but..." Also, I felt some of the stories were a little rushed, probably so they'd fit within the collection and not take up more space than could be allotted. I wanted more background, more details, which would probably make for more satisfying conclusions. So let's give it 4.5 stars, to settle my mind about those little details.
Most of the authors in this collection have a great feel for the regency period, a couple not so much. Worth a go if you skip the ones that are obviously modern romances in regency frocks. A bit annoying not to get some of the common characters’ stories wrapped up, but perhaps there’ll be a sequel set.
5つ星のうち5.0Who can resist half a dozen happily ever afters?
This linked anthology tells of the goings on at the Christmastide house party of the Duchess of Haverford. I am amazed at the number of details through all the stories that link up, from the masquerade ball, through to the kittens. I'm also impressed at the sheer volume of knowledge of the era that was displayed here, not just of London society, but also other cultures in existence at the time. Recommended for its charm, wittiness, and of course, enough happily ever afters to put a smile on any romance readers' face.
5つ星のうち5.0Love the Blue Stocking Belles have not Lost Their Touch
This compilation is based around Christmas and New Year Beginnings at house party culminating in a New Years Eve Ball at Hollystone Hall. Each of the Belles touched upon the others' stories which made the book a wonderful read as a whole. The adventures each of the characters faced were very different as they worked towards their HEA.
I like the compilations that are all interconnected rather than just in the same theme. I also like being able to find new authors to read from a 'sample' of their work. Found a few new ones in this collection :)
I really enjoyed this collection. The short stories were well constructed and there was good variety between the books. The continuous common thread added an extra interest. I found the story that had a chapter between each novella was delightful and a different way to hold the attention of the reader.
Delightful stories, all have a link with a Christmas house party and a group of women involved in charitable works. I enjoyed the way one of the stories was told a chapter at a time between the other stories. I can highly recommend these seasonal stories.
There is nothing more exciting than an invitation to the Duchess of Haverford’s? Top it off with seven talented authors writing eight stories and the event of the season reaches epic heights. A Suitable Husband by Jude Knight starts us off with the Duchess’s companion, Cedrica Grenford helping organize everyone as they arrive. All while dealing with the regular kitchen staff and the intriguing chef hired specifically for the party. Highly encouraged to mingle with the guests Cedrica finds herself repeatedly drawn to “her” chef. Each thinking they are beneath each other in rank will they come to their senses? This story is written in a unique way as it is told between the stories of each different author. Valuing Vanessa by Susana Ellis Never expected marry, to forever be destined to wait on her mother – that is the life Vanessa Sedgely faces. Until she can take it no more. The Duchess’s house party may just be the place to find someone who allow her to control her own life. George Durand had a marriage that was less than ideal. Looking to never marry again he must find some way to handle his wayward daughter. Will a chance meeting followed by another and another have George rethinking his views on marriage and will the lady in question agree to forgo some of her freedom? A well written tale by Ms. Ellis that will have any romantic rooting for the gel that everyone thinks is not of any value and the man soured on love. A Kiss for Charity by Sherry Ewing Having lost the love his life, Lord Nicholas Lacey will never marry again. A mistress on the other hand is not out of the question. At least until a masquerade ball cracks the wall around his heart. Married young, Grace, Lady de Courtenay, was not looking to marry again. Until a sisterly bet and a masquerade ball have her realizing that maybe she wants more. As always Ms. Ewing has written another beautiful story. Artemis by Jessica Cale Pregnant actress. Being an actress is a stigma – add pregnant to it one falls to the lowest of low ranks. A fact Charlotte Halfpenny knows all too well. Just as she’s making the ultimate decision to end the misery she is presented with an opportunity she considered out of her reach. The Earl of Somerton never socializes; well other than the opera and then only to watch a certain actress. Knowing he will never father a child of his own he reaches the decision that will benefit them both. Can these two make things work when things aren’t what they seem? Hang on because Ms. Cale writes an OMG moment that will have your jaw dropping and loving every word!! The Bluestocking and the Barbarian by Jude Knight Is he or isn’t he? That’s the question being debated about James Winderfield, Lord Elfingham. Is he the legitimate heir to the Earl of Sutton? James knows he is and is unconcerned; well, mostly unconcerned because when it comes to a certain lady with blue-gray eyes. Dreams of a golden horse and the magnificent prince riding to her rescue have haunted Lady Sophia Belvoir for months. Aggravating since she knows she would never stand a chance once he has met her beautiful sister. Will the question of James’ birth, an overly aggravating brother and a lack of confidence keep these two apart? Ms. Knight had me laughing at some of James’ antics and wanting to shake confidence into Sophia. Wonderful story!! Christmas Kisses by Nicole Zoltack Lady Anna Wycliff loves only one man and believes he loves only her despite all the tales in the scandal sheets. When forced to attend a house party away from her love, little doubts begin to seep in; especially when the rude, Lord Pershore is in attendance. Pain, suffering, and gossip follow Jasper Warwick, Lord Pershore, everywhere he goes. Which makes the last thing he wants is his mother playing matchmaker. Even if the lovely Lady Anna Wycliff is in attendance. Wonderful tale by Nicole Zoltack. An Open Heart by Caroline Warfield Esther Baumann respects her faith and fully intends to raise her children the traditions but to also to be open to new things. Now she must find a husband that feels the same way. So why does she have these strange feelings for a man who only wants a wife who will keep a traditional home? Adam Halvey fully intends to ask for Esther Baumann’s hand. When he finds out their differences of what a marriage should be can he change her way of thinking or is he the one who should change? A journey may just help him realize which it should be? Loved Esther’s determination to hold onto what she wants and Adam’s journey to discovery in this beautiful tale by Caroline Warfield. Dashing Through the Snow by Amy Rose Bennett Freddie Woodville may just be the thing that ruins his sister’s, Miss Kate Woodville, reputation. A fact brought to life at a Vauxhall Garden Masquerade Ball when he runs off with one of her former students who happens to be the sister of a viscount. Anthony Lockhart, Viscount Stanton, cannot believe his sister has run off with a man he considers beneath her. Determined to catch up to them before any rumors fly he is forced to endure the company of the man’s sister. Can they reach the runaways before any damage is done – both to the runaways and to their own hearts? Ms. Bennett had me wanting to smack the overbearing Anthony while cheering Kate’s determination. Love a heroine who can hold her own against an arse of a hero!
5つ星のうち5.0Heartwarming Collection of Holiday Romances
I have waited all year for this wonderful collection of romantic holiday stories by the Bluestocking Belles, a talented group of authors. It was worth the wait. The setting for each story is the Duchess of Haverford's Yuletide house party and a New Year's Eve ball at Hollystone Hall. Not only does the Duchess enjoy matchmaking, she has a special place in her heart for women's education, as do the Belles. While each story is mainly about the sweet and special romance between two of the characters, the stories do intertwine as all of the characters are staying at Hollystone Hall. I was so caught in the book and quickly flipped the pages so I could see who got their happily ever after next. Each story made me smile and sigh. It is amazing to me that each story was written by a different author. Collectively, their voices blended and produced what will surely be one of my all time favorite books. One really fun thing is that while this is a stand alone collection, some of the characters have appeared in other books by the Belles. If this is your first time reading a book by these fabulous authors, you will want to check out each author individually. I first met the authors with their 2015 holiday collection. In the past year, I have read each of the books written by them. I have enjoyed them all, but this one is extra special.