Title: A Regency Christmas lll
Genre: Historical Holiday Romance Anthology
Author: Sandra Heath, Mary Jo Putney, Mary Balogh,
Melinda McRae, Edith Layton
Publisher: Penguin, 1991
Source: purchase, secondary market
Rating: Solid 4
Sexy Rating: 3
Christmasy Feeling: 5
Story #1- Mistletoe and Folly by Sandra Heath — Rating= 4
Sir Richard Curzon is engaged to young flibbertigibbet Isabella. He thinks he loves her but Geoffrey Hawksworth is also enamoured of the fair Isabella. When Geoffrey sees an accidental encounter between Sir Richard and Richard’s lost love, Diana, he sets in motion a plan to break up Richard and Isabella so that the young Isabella will fall into his waiting arms.
**One has to admire the conniving intelligence of Geoffrey although he has obstacles thrown in his path. Can Richard and Diana renew what they thought was lost? Will Geoffrey win the heart of Isabella? This is an entertaining story and well written.
Story #2- The Christmas Cuckoo by Mary Jo Putney–Rating = 4.5
His name is Major John Howard but they were expecting Captain John Howard, friend of their brother Jeremy, for Christmas. The Major tries to set the record straight but is thwarted whenever he wishes to confess and truth be known he is enjoying the company of the Lambert family on his first Christmas back in England after the war. He is especially enjoying the company of the oldest Lambert sister and head of the household, Meg. Things get very interesting when Jeremy and the Captain show up.
**Mary Jo Putney does not disappoint me, at least not in those delightful books, and this story, that I have read to date. The characters are brought to life and the romantic attraction is delightfully portrayed. We are also treated to what a country gentry Christmas must have been like in a close knit family of siblings.
Story #3-The Best Christmas Ever by Mary Balogh—Rating=4.5
Anna, age 6, had only one wish this Christmas. She wants a new Mama. Her mother had died in front of her eyes 3 years before and she had not uttered a word since that fateful day that she screamed for hours. Her loving father, Lord Radbrook was seriously thinking of asking Miss Chadwick to be his wife, hoping her cheerful nature would bring some happiness to his daughter. But at the crowded family Christmas gathering Anna has her heart set on Emma as her new mama. But there is a past history between Lord Radbrook and Emma. Can it be overcome?
**Here is another favorite HR author. I am beginning to see a pattern in why I like some of these authors. It is their ability to absolutely transport me back to the Regency period of England. The settings and characters come to life and it is as if I am watching the action unfold as if in a movie. This story is a bit on the sentimental side but Christmas is just the right time for sentimentality.
Story #4- Home For Christmas by Melinda McRae- Rating= 4
Ashley Sutton is the 2nd son who has been away sailing the seas for 16 years. He decides to surprise his family and come home for Christmas but the surprise is on him. His family has gone off to visit his uncle for the holiday. At the estate is governess to his niece and nephew, Rose Harris, who welcomes him and shares a Christmas dinner with him before he departs for the uncle’s home. But Rose has fallen in love with Ash and now must face a life without him. Or will she?
**Again this is a sentimental story that tugs at your heart while creating a strong sexual tension and romantic feel. Ms McRae is a new-to-me author but she possesses a wonderful grasp of storytelling and a unique ability to make the characters come to life on the page.
Story #5-The Dark Man by Edyth Layton- Rating=3
Eve was engaged to an Earl and it was only her first season. She loved him and she thought he might love her but she wasn’t sure. Then she found out he had a mistress and she couldn’t deal with it. She broke off the engagement but would the Earl just fade away?
**This was my least favorite story. The writing and character development was good but the story descended into a silly bit toward the end that ruined it for me.