How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe
This anthology is basically like someone put together an all-star team of historical romance novelists and said, “Hey, can you guys write Christmas hugs?” And they all said, “YEP!!!!” And thus, my streak of not being interested in Christmas THEMED books fell to pieces. Cause let me tell you, order this freakin’ anthology and order it NOW.
Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare
I’m not saying the basic premise of Meet Me in Mayfair sounds like Pride & Prejudice, if it was set at Christmas, and Mr. Darcy was set to receive Netherfield instead of Mr. Collins and no one had to die and — Okay. Louisa Ward’s family purchased a home on Mayfair from the Duke of Thorndale on credit. Louisa’s father being such good friends with the Duke meant that the Duke kind of…ignored some of the payments and amounts and…well. Then the Duke dies and his son inherits and his son is a big jerkface that demands payments or he will seize the property once again.
This leaves our heroine with one last ball to snag a husband and save the family, as unlikely as that seems. So when HAPPENSTANCE HAPPENS and she ends up in the arms of the dreaded new Duke of Thorndale — well, you can fill in the blanks. Or you can read this delightful, satisfying story. When you get to the last page if you don’t let out a dreamy sigh, then we clearly have very different tastes.
The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean
While you’re still riding the high of the perfect sweetness that is Meet Me in Mayfair, float into the bathroom or the office or just your side table and get some tissues because HOO BOY. Hoooooo boy. Is this a story.
Eben, Duke of Allryd is a grinch! A scrooge! A miserable bastard. Eben also lost the love of his life, Lady Jacqueline Mosby whens he took off to see the world and be her own person. I would be snarky about that, except that this tale, told partially through flashbacks (BECAUSE THIS ANTHOLOGY WANTS to ruin me?) completely destroyed me before piecing me back together.
It’s an extremely effective tale of lost love, found love, grief that consumes you, and letting go of the past. And it made me cry. Almost uncontrollably. BUT IN A GOOD WAY.
Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan
To Scotland! Where things get a little steamier to save you from the amount of crying you just did. Here we find our heroine stranded in a Scottish highlands snowstorm. But who should come to her rescue but the reclusive next-door neighbor, the Duke of Sinclair.
If you don’t love insta-lust, you may have some slight issues with this. But it’s also one where the reader is ALSO rather in insta-lust with the hero so it all works together. And be prepared to all in love with the busybody matchmaking staff helping our lovebirds get horizontal with one another. Fun, frothy, sexy, and a lovely respite from the first two in the anthology.
Christmas in Central Park by Joanna Shupe
Rose Walker is a lying liar who lies. Namely, she writes a column as Mrs. Walker, the advice columnist. The only problem is, she’s a bit of a fraud. She has no home-making capabilities, is woefully single, and gets all of her domestic advice from her servant mother and her friends.
This only truly becomes a problem when Duke Havermeyer III, president of the newspaper, needs Mrs. Walker, domestic goddess extraordinaire, to throw a dinner party to impress the board after a dirty scandal involving lying reporters — oops? Now Rose has to scramble to find a house, servants, and…oh right, a husband. And to make matters worse, now Duke is keeping a sharp eye on everyone and he’s beginning to suspect Mrs. Walker isn’t all that she appears.
Seriously, while I obviously have my favorites, this was an all around solid collection of novellas that will certainly put you in the Christmas spirit.