WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE anthology by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp & Meredith Duran-a review
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 27, 2015
In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.
MY OVERVIEW: WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE is a collection of four holiday-themed historical romance novellas: two storylines focus on second chance romances, while the other two look at cases of mistaken beliefs and a case of mistaken identity. Because of the length of each novella, all of the romances are insta-lust or love; the $ex scenes are limited without the use of graphic sexual language. All of the leading characters befit the time period, while only one novella uses language of the time.
Anthologies are difficult to review due in part to a lack of previous knowledge when some of the novellas are part of an existing series. I am aware that Sabrina Jeffries and Karen Hawkins’s offerings are part of ongoing series but I was unable to confirm the connection for Candace Camp or Meredith Duran.
WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE is an entertaining anthology with Christmas/holiday themed novellas for your reading pleasure.
THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD by Sabrina Jeffries
Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead.
THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD is a novella from Sabrina Jeffries SINFUL SUITORS historical romance series ( a spin off from the Duke’s Men series). This is journalist/writer Lord Stephen Corry, and American heiress/mill owner Amanda Keane’s storyline. Amanda is the sister of artist Jeremy Keane (The Art of Sinning #1). THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.
The storyline focuses on the unsafe working conditions in the cotton mills of England, and Stephen’s attempts to bring the atrocities to the public’s attention by reporting and investigating the people and workers. Enter Amanda Keane, an American mill owner who views Stephen’s work as attacks against all mill owners including herself. But a mill fire finds our couple trapped following the rescue of a young boy, and a profession of love and a possible future are made in the heat of the moment.
THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD is a quick read with a little bit of romance, conflict and a happily ever after. The premise is interesting with a holiday theme; the characters are familiar, colorful and entertaining; the romance is quick to develop- the lone $ex scene is mostly implied with no graphic imagery or text.
TWELVE KISSES TO MIDNIGHT by Karen Hawkins
In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in Twelve Kisses when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle.
REVIEW: TWELVE KISSES TO MIDNIGHT is a Scottish, historical second chance romance between the Fourth Duke of Rothesay Marcus Sutherland, and Lady Kenna Montrose. The novella is part of Karen Hawkin’s Oxenburg Princes series as Crown Prince Nikolai Romanovin, and Grand Duchess Natasha Nikolaevna play a small supporting role throughout the story. TWELVE KISSES TO MIDNIGHT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.
The storyline focuses on the rekindling of a relationship between Kenna and Marcus that was destroyed ten years earlier through misunderstanding and male pride. A winter storm finds our couple trapped in a stranger’s bawdy love nest after Marcus is thrown from his horse on way to Kenna’s family cottage. What ensues are Kenna’s attempts at reconciliation, while Marcus continues to find fault with the way their previous relationship ended. TWELVE KISSES TO MIDNIGHT finds our couple stranded together in a cottage completely bedecked for romance and $ex, including some fanciful and graphic paintings upon the walls.
Karen Hawkins adds a little bit of fun and romance with the addition of TWELVE KISSES TO MIDNIGHT where the conflict between sparring lovers is easily resolved with a few well-chosen words leading to a happily ever after. Once again, the $ex scene is mostly implied with no graphic imagery or text. The characters are familiar and colorful; the storyline is entertaining- there is plenty of back and forth, accusations, and questions about love and loss.
BY AN OTHER NAME by Candace Camp
In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss.
BY ANY OTHER NAME by Candace Camp is a storyline of mistaken identity between Rylla Campbell and Gregory Rose. Dressed as a young man Rylla hunts for her runaway, missing eighteen year old in saloons and gaming halls wherein she will meet Gregory Rose-the man who will come to her aid, and steal her heart but a man who is lead to believe Rylla is someone else. With Gregory’s help, Rylla goes in search of her brother only to discover that her brother is already on his way home.
Candace Camp weaves a little bit of mystery and intrigue into an historical romance where our heroine fails to reveal her true identity allowing for a series of mishaps and perceived betrayal. The romance is played out while our couple are on the hunt; like the other storylines the $ex scene is mostly implied without the use of graphic language or imagery.
SWEET RUIN by Meredith Duran
In Sweet Ruin, will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?
SWEET RUIN by Meredith Duran is a storyline of second chances between Georgiana Trent, and Lucas Godwin. Two years earlier, Lucas walked out of Georgie’s life without saying good bye or an explanation as to why he ran. Fast forward to present day wherein Lucas has been hired by Georgie’s father to search for a ‘stolen’ letter that may or may not be have taken by one of the holiday guests. What ensues is a rekindling romance between Georgie and Lucas where the truth finds our heroine ready to move on from her family home.
Meredith Duran weaves a Christmas tale of lost love, intrigue and mystery where everyone is suspect in the case of a missing letter, but no one is aware that of the investigation or that anything is wrong. The collection of secondary and supporting characters reads like a game of CLUE but the guilty party has not returned home for the holidays. Again, the lone $ex scene is mostly implied.
Copy supplied by the publisher.
Reviewed by Sandy