2 Fridays til’ Christmas Review- The Heart of Christmas by Balogh, Cornick & Milan

Title:  The Heart of Christmas (anthology)

The Heart of Christmas

Genre: Regency Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, Courtney Milan

Publisher: Harlequin Books, 2009

Source:  Purchase

Rating: 5+

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 4.5

Descriptions in bold type from amazon.com:

A Handful of Gold(1998)
Mary Balogh

Not only is Julian Dare dashing and wealthy, but he’s the heir to an earldom. So what do you get a man who has everything? Innocent and comely Verity Ewing plans on giving Julian her heart—the most precious gift of all.


Verity Ewing is in desperate financial straits.  Her sister is seriously ill and requires doctors and medicine.  Her clergyman father has died leaving the two sisters and their mother penniless.  Verity takes on an alias as Blanche and gets a job as an Opera dancer.  The pay helps but it is not enough so she agrees to acting as mistress to Viscount Julian Dare for the week of Christmas for 500 pounds.

Mary Balogh has created a wonderful Christmas story of a desperate woman and a kind thoughtful man.  The writing is superb, the characterization is perfect and the romance is heart stopping.  This story brims with Christmasy feeling.

Deet’s Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

The Season for Suitors(2005)
Nicola Cornick

After some close encounters with rakes in which she was nearly compromised, heiress Clara Davenport realizes that she needs some expert advice. And who better for the job than Sebastian Fleet, the most notorious rake in town? But the tutelage doesn’t go quite as planned, as both Sebastian and Clara find it difficult to remain objective when it comes to lessons of the heart!


Eighteen months ago Clara proposed to Sebastian and was rejected.  Now that she has become not only more beautiful but an heiress, the rakes of the ton will not leave her alone.  Since she feels Sebastian is a safe bet she contacts him to give her lessons in deflecting rakes.  Sebastian refuses but finds he cannot get Clara out of his mind and heart.

Nicola Cornick is a new-to-me author and I have really been missing out on some good writing.  This story is well written, and very romantic.  The sexual tension and attraction is very well done.  It does not have a lot of that Christmas feeling.

Deet’s Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 3

This Wicked Gift(2009)
Courtney Milan

Lavinia Spencer has been saving her hard-earned pennies to provide her family with Christmas dinner. Days before the holiday, her brother is swindled, leaving them owing more than they can ever repay. Until a mysterious benefactor offers to settle the debt. Innocent Lavinia is stunned by what the dashing William White wants in return. Will she exchange a wicked gift for her family’s fortune?


William has loved Lavinia from afar and when he sees a chance to assist her and to seduce her he grabs for it.  After ruining her, he can’t live with himself and he is in no position to offer her marriage.  Lavinia loves him but can’t get past his disgust with himself.  Can there ever be any happiness at Christmas or ever for these two poor souls of the working class?

Courtney Milan is one of my favorite authors so it was no surprise to me that I was predisposed to liking this novella.  However, I was blown away by her perfectly nuanced characters and the feeling of reality she generates in regard to the working classes of the regency period.  Her characters are all multidimensional and exquisitely written.  The romance is sublimely sensual. (This novella is a first in the Carhart Series and gives a glimpse of Gareth Carhart whose story is in Proof by Seduction.)

Deet’s Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Deet’s Overview:  There are good anthologies and then there are great ones, this is a great one.  Each story is mesmerizing and although not all have a strong Christmasy feeling they are all simply superb.  I highly recommend this anthology and each of these authors.


Coming next Friday:  Twas’ The Night Before Mischief


Filed under Anthology, Book review, Books, Historical Romance, Holiday

2 responses to “2 Fridays til’ Christmas Review- The Heart of Christmas by Balogh, Cornick & Milan

  1. Edyta

    This one sounds good. I might get it as sometimes I want a quick read of a short story (though in Milan’s case I’m always left wanting a full book)


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