Christmas Miracles by Mary Balogh
Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: Regency England at Christmastime
Published by Class Ebooks Editions, Ltd., 2015
Synopsis: CHRISTMAS MIRACLES brings together three previously published and long out-of-print novellas, each of which demonstrates how the wonder of the season can bring together two would-be lovers or two estranged lovers and create a bond between them that will last a lifetime and beyond.
In “The Wassail Bowl” an aristocrat has summoned his young son to a family house party but is disconcerted when his estranged wife and her illegitimate daughter arrive with him. When he expresses his displeasure, she picks up a large bowl of wassail from the hall table and dumps its sticky contents over his head. The only way for the story to proceed after that is up!
In “The Bond Street Carolers” a gentleman who hates Christmas is appalled when his ears are assailed on fashionable Bond Street by a group of inferior carolers–until, that is, he is rooted to the spot by the pure soprano voice of a young boy soloist. As a connoisseur of music and the arts, he must have the boy to sing at one of his concerts–but the child’s widowed mother will have nothing to do with what she sees as exploitation.
In “Guarded by Angels” an estranged couple are separately marooned at the same cottage by a snow storm and must spend Christmas together without coming to blows. But they have a great deal of assistance from their very different guardian angels.
- I really like Ms. Balogh’s Christmas stories and books. The stories have a common theme: people losing faith in themselves, each other and Christmas. How they find their way back to faith is the essence of the stories.
“The Wassail Bowl” — Rating: B+
- This was my favorite story of the three. I love Mary Balogh Christmas stories which takes place in the country.
- John, the Earl of Wyndham and his wife Antonia have lived separate lives for several years. The Earl orders his wife to send his son to come to Wyndham Park for Christmas. His wife comes with both her children–a boy and a girl. And the first thing she does when she arrives is to pour the rest of the wassail bowl over her husband’s head! That was very funny. (The story has a recipe for wassail and I can see it would have been very sticky!)
- John and Antonia must talk and remember the love they had for each other and forgives themselves and each other for the hurts they caused. And because it is Christmas they will!
“The Bond Street Carolers” — Rating: B+
- A boy is singing with a church choir on Bond Street. A gentleman notices the boy’s beautiful voice and invites him along with his mother and sister to his Christmas concert.
- The mother, Fanny Berlinton–a widow who lives with her brother-in-law and his family–remembers Lord Heath when she made her coming out. He was considered a rake and she doesn’t want anything to do with him.
- However, Lord Heath is a true connoisseur of music and feels the boy should have the opportunity to sing to an appreciative audience. He invites the church choir to perform a song and promises a donation. So, of course, young Matthew does sing at the concert! And Fanny and Lord Heath discover they have more in common than they thought.
“Guarded by Angels” — Rating: B
- This was my least favorite story. There was a supernatural vibe to the story I didn’t like too well, but once I got further into the story I did enjoy it.
- Elliott Nichols, Viscount Garrett and June Nichols, Viscountess Garrett have lived apart since early in their marriage. Elliott had come home from war damaged by all the killing and though June loved him he frightened her. They married, but June was too young and Elliott had too many demons.
- This Christmas their relatives have conspired to get them to both come for Christmas. They are both on their way when they are caught in a sudden snowstorm and saved by a grandmother and grandson and invited to stay in their home.
- Each is surprised to see the other, but they discover they aren’t the same people they were when they married. They celebrate Christmas in this small cottage with the two who saved them and get to know each other and love each other again.
And a few thoughts . . .
- Three short stories from Mary Balogh Christmas anthologies published in the 1990’s.
- I do love the way she writes about Christmas and about young children. They are people in her stories–full of personality.
- I especially enjoy Katie–Matthew’s younger sister in “The Bond Street Carolers”. Katie has decided Lord Heath would be a good papa, but she’s not sure he will cooperate: “This morning for a few minutes she had even been afraid that they were never going to see him again. She had found herself doing something dreadfully babyish. She had sucked her thumb.”
- The stories make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Have you read this book? How did you like it?
- Mary Balogh‘s first book was published in 1985 and she’s been writing (over 70 novels and close to 30 novellas) ever since. The latest book is Only a Kiss, the 6th book in The Survivors’ Club series, published in September 2015.
- She grew up in post-war Wales. She wanted to teach and travel so she took a 2-year contract in Saskatchewan, Canada. After a blind date with Robert Balogh she ended up marrying him and staying in Canada! She and Robert have three grown children. Her dream was to write, but that had to wait until their children were older.
- 2015 Goodreads Challenge