Title: Christmas Revels II: Four Regency Novellas
Author: Hannah Meredith, Anna D. Allen, Louisa Cornell, & Kate Parker
Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Romance
Let the Revels begin-again! Four new stories with four distinctive voices:
The Vicar’s Christmas – Margaret Trent never needs anything or anyone, but when two London solicitors show up on her doorstep, she needs a hero. Enter Henry Ogden, mild-mannered village vicar. Hardly the stuff of heroes… until adversity brings out unexpected talents.
A Christmas Equation – A chance meeting between a reluctant viscount and a self-effacing companion revives memories of their shared past-a time when they were very different people. With secrets to keep, Sarah Clendenin wishes Benjamin Radcliff gone… but he’s making calculations of his own.
Crimson Snow – A trail of blood drops leads Jane Merrywether to a wounded stranger-the only person standing in the way of her wicked guardian becoming an earl. John Rexford, long-thought dead, has returned to claim his inheritance and his promised bride… if he can survive a murderous Christmas.
A Perfectly Unregimented Christmas – After years at war, Viscount Pennyworth returns to his ancestral home to find some peace and quiet and to avoid the holiday he loathes. But four naughty boys, a bonnet-wearing goat, a one-eyed cat, a family secret, and one Annabelle Winters, governess, make this a Christmas he’ll never forget.
I love historical romance and this collection is a treat! Four Regency romances, each with its own set of heroes, heroines, conflicts and happy ending. Escape the heat of summer to Regency England at Christmastime.
The Vicar’s Christmas –
After the death of her father, Margaret gets an unexpected shock. Not knowing what to do, she calls on Vicar Henry. Henry likes nothing better than to sit in his study and read a good book. But when his friend needs assistance, he comes to her aid. Neither of them expect to fall in love but miracles have been known to happen, especially at Christmastime.
I loved this story. It’s beautifully written with colourful characters, snappy dialogue and a flowing plot. A few twists and turns kept me interested and the ending was superb. I instantly bonded with both Henry and Margaret and I’d love to read more of them. 5+ stars
A Christmas Equation –
The last time Benjamin saw Sarah, he was a lowly third son and studying science. Now a Viscount, he’s visiting a friend for a hunt and discovers his long-lost love, now a lowly companion and going by another name. She whisks him away and makes him promise to not reveal her true identity to the others.
Scandal made her an outcast; Sarah’s heart is closed off to any man but starts beating hope when Benjamin declares his love for her. Can Sarah equate that one plus one equals love or will she subtract love and happiness from her life forever?
I enjoyed this story immensely. It’s a second-chance love story, filled with societal confines that try to keep this couple apart. In order to start fresh, both must stop telling half-truths and lay their feelings bare. Emotionally-charged, smart, romance with undertones of scientific theory makes this a fun read. 4.5 stars
Crimson Snow –
John Rexford, long thought dead, has returned to claim his birthright but when Jane Merrywether follows a trail of blood and finds him near death, she doesn’t recognize him. She saves his life, brings him back to a place of safety. But her guardian and acting Earl will stop at nothing to make sure Rexford dies and Jane is under his thumb. He invites everyone, including John Rexford, to Christmas dinner with a wicked gleam in his eye. Jane fears the worst and warns Rexford of a possible poisonous plot but someone beat John to the punch. Murder, lies, not to mention deceit swarm around John and Jane. Can they manage to stay alive long enough to solve the murder and be together, like their parents wanted?
This was a pretty dark romance and one I didn’t really care for. Sure, the writing is impeccable and the suspense caught me by surprise but I like my Christmas happy, not dangerous and wicked. Sparks fly between Jane and John, which bumped up my rating. 4 stars
A Perfectly Unregimented Christmas –
After years away at war and escaping with his life, Viscount Pennyworth returns to his ancestral estate for answers. When he confronts his grand mama, she stone-walls him. Furious she won’t tell him why he was sent away at ten years old, he storms away. He’ll get the answers, even if it takes until he dies, he’ll make her reveal the secret his mother hinted at all those years ago. Then there’s Belle Winters, a supposed god-daughter and companion to his grand mama. She’s smart, beautiful and wicked tongue. All he wanted was to escape the dreaded Christmas in peace and little does he know, he’s walked into a minefield, riddled with haunted memories and family secrets. Does Belle hold the key to unlocking long-buried secrets and his heart?
Another dark romance but one I enjoyed thanks to the constant banter between the Viscount and Belle. She riles him and he riles her, so much so that they naturally fall in love. But his heart is closed off, especially to conniving women that remind him of his mother. Both deny each other the love they crave, thanks to past hurts. Marley the butler was a great secondary character, one which I liked best of all. There’s a steamy sex scene but it was tastefully done. The ending was satisfying. 4 stars
Favorite Story: The Vicar’s Christmas. This is my favorite story in this collection for the crux of the story: A single woman’s fight to keep her home from unscrupulous family members, namely her brother-in-law. Margaret’s strength dealing with this emotional blow is weakening and she leans on dependable Vicar Henry. Sparks fly and while Anna stays true to the time period, specifically Regency social graces, I found the ending delightful.
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy it now:
Amazon – http://a.co/4ogrKbC
Hannah Meredith is, above all, a storyteller. She’s long been fascinated by the dreams that haunt the human heart and has an abiding interest in English history. This combination led her to write historical romance. Hannah is a member of RWA and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.
Anna D. Allen lives deep in the woods with too many books and not enough dogs. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts in Language and Literature. Her future plans include growing tomatoes and cleaning out the freezer. When not writing or reading, she can be found in the kitchen.
Louisa Cornell is a retired opera singer living in LA (Lower Alabama) who cannot remember a time she wasn’t writing or telling stories. Anglophile, student of Regency England, historical romance writer— she escaped Walmart to write historical romance and hasn’t looked back. She is a member of RWA, Southern Magic RWA, and the Beau Monde Chapter of RWA.
Kate Parker grew up reading her mother’s collection of mystery books by Christie, Sayers, and others. Now she can’t write a story without someone being murdered, and everyday items are studied for their lethal potential. It’s taken her years to convince her husband that she hasn’t poisoned dinner; that funny taste is because she just can’t cook.
Social Media Links:
Hannah – http://www.hannahmeredith.com
Louisa – http://onelondonone.blogspot.com/
Reviewed by: Mrs. N