A Regency Christmas II
Five Stories by Mary Jo Putney, Anita Mills, Mary Balogh, Carla Kelly, Sheila Walsh
Genre: Historical Romance (Christmas)
Published by Signet, 1990
Overall grade: B
Synopsis: This warm and delightful collection brings together five all-new stories of Christmas by some of the most beloved and highly acclaimed Regency authors. Written especially for the new edition, these delightful tales capture the spirit of Christmas ritual and tradition, its hopes and heartbreaks, its joys and passions. These are stories that reflect happy reunions and homecomings, the fun and festivities, the pleasures of giving, and, of course, the love and goodwill that make life so special and comprise the true message of the holiday season. Here is a beautiful gift that touches the heart — a gift to be cherished now and all year ’round.
“Sunshine for Christmas” by Mary Jo Putney
He had also admired the handsome Neapolitan women, had even been tempted by one or two of the sloe-eyed streetwalkers. But he did not succumb to temptation, for the price might be too high: it was said that the prostitutes of Naples often gave men souvenirs that could be neither forgotten nor forgiven.
- Two lonely people, Naples and Christmas create a sweet story.
- Lord Randolph Lennox travels to Naples, Italy in search of sunshine and respite from loneliness. He meets a fellow Brit–Miss Elizabeth Walker, a governess working in Italy.
“Playing House” by Mary Balogh
There were candles and evergreen branches and the Nativity scene before the altar. And the church bells before the service, and the organ and the singing during it, and the Christmas readings. And the sermon. And the church packed with neighbors and friends and family. There were love and joy and peace.
It was Christmas.
Christmas as it always was–and never would be again.
- I read this story a few years ago.
- I like the characters in the story.
- Lilias, a little too proud for her own good, and the Marquess of Bedford, cynical and angry.
- I do enjoy the three children in the story–Lilias’ sister and brother, Megan and Andrew–and Bedford’s daughter, Dora. Megan and Andrew are a little too perfect, but it’s Christmas so I don’t mind. Dora is often portrayed as petulant which gets a little old, but at least she isn’t perfect!
- Mary Balogh does a good job showing an English country Christmas–and that it’s not the same as the Christmases the Marquess of Bedford thinks he remembers!
“The Three Kings” by Carla Kelly
Dink passed a hand in front of his eyes. “Can’t believe how easy it is to forget the social graces in this scummy country. Luis Sotomayor, and there’s more, of course,” he whispered back. “how these garlic-eaters tack on name after name and then use the middle one baffles me.”
“Alargosa de Menem,” said the voice through the fire, not even raising his chin from his chest. “And it is not a scummy country, my lord. Devil take you Englishmen.”
- My favorite story in the collection.
- Takes place in Spain during the Napoleonic War. Illustrates the horror of war.
- The Spanish Colonel is an interesting character–practical, pragmatic and sympathetic.
- I like the details Ms. Kelly adds about the customs in Spain surrounding Christmas and the way she’s able to weave it into the story.
“The Last Wish” by Anita Mills
“What an uncommonly sensible female you are, my dear.”
“I hope so. Good night, sir,” she repeated firmly.
After she left, he finished his brandy. One hundred pounds per year. He spent more that for his gloves, for almost everything, in fact. One hundred pounds per year. It made him wonder if perhaps in his own way he were not as useless a fellow as George….
- A cute little girl and her impoverished aunt, a dying grandfather, three nephews gathered at the old man’s deathbed and it’s almost Christmas.
- Story lacks some content and has some improbable character changes, but all-in-all a nice story.
“The Christmas Star” by Sheila Walsh
“Oh, governesses don’t count,” Philip averred offhandedly, and did not notice how quiet Louise had become.
A companion is not so demeaning as a governess, she thought, swallowing a rather horrid lump in her throat. But there were times when she seemed to be in a kind of limbo–caught between upstairs and downstairs, not quite knowing her place.
- A Russian Prince, a young woman from an impoverished family, a frightened new mother with her baby all come together in this story.
- It’s a cute story, but very unrealistic. I didn’t really understand why the Prince fell in love with Louise. But it’s Christmas so I give it a break!
And a few thoughts . . .
- These are Christmas stories so I don’t read them very critically. I mostly just enjoy them–especially historical romances.
- I read this book as part of the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon, but also as part of the TBR Challenge. Each month we post a TBR review on the third Wednesday of the month. This month we were challenged to read a historical romance. I have had this book for a number of years. I found it at a used bookstore and the pages are quite brittle and the cover is starting to come apart.
- Anita Mills is a new author to me as is Sheila Walsh so I’ll be adding them to my New Author Challenge.
Have you read this book? How did you like it?