Christmas

#Review Letters From Home by Regina Jeffers (@reginajeffers) – Christmas Ever After; A Clean Regency Romance Christmas Anthology. #Christmas #Historical #Anthology #LettersFromHome #ChristmasEverAfter

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I have the great pleasure to share my review of ‘Letters From Home’ by Regina Jeffers, this novella is apart of the Christmas Ever After; A delightful anthology of Clean Regency Romance Christmas stories from best selling authors. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to review the entire anthology before Christmas as I wanted to. But I can guarantee that in the new year, I will post a review of each of the other stories within this anthology. I apologise to the other authors who I missed in this review, but please bear with me, my reviews for all in this anthology are coming.

Letters from Home by Regina Jeffers

She is the woman whose letters to another man kept his hopes alive during the war. He is the English Major who her late husband described as ‘incomparable’. Can Major Lord Simon Lanford finally step from his brother’s shadow to claim happiness with Mrs. Faith Lamont, or will his rise to the Earldom keep them apart?

I am a huge fan of Regina Jeffers work, I always know that whenever I pick up one of her books that I am going to be in for something very special. But even I must say that Ms Jeffers has out done herself with this beautiful story. I have made it no secret at how much I love a good romantic story that features a soldier, for me their journey to happily ever after are far more hard fought for and which makes their ultimate happiness all; the more special and Letters From Home has everything I look for in a historical romance.

Set at a house Christmas party hosted by Major Simon Lanford (or more accurately hosted by his aunt, who has been ruling the estate ever since his brother died) he would much rather just disappear into his rooms, away from the world and his aunt to finally take charge of his life without interference. Unfortunately he is stuck in the Christmas party from hell with various young women who are all wanting the title.

Simon never expected or wanted the title, that was always destined for his older brother, Simon is a career soldier a good officer who knows how to play the battlefield far better then how to manoeuvrer around a ballroom, but as we know life very rarely plays out how we would have expected. He isn’t interested in the gold diggers in attendance, but when he catches sight of Faith Lamont, he is instantly intrigued by her and once he finds out who she is he is taken with her all the more, especially knowing that it was this woman who kept him going through the war.

Faith is in attendance as her cousin; Claires companion, after the death of her husband she had to return to her awful family. She is bullied and manipulated by her cousin at every turn, Claire has her eyes well set on the scarred but devilishly handsome Simon and she has set her mind to do whatever she can to make sure that she becomes the next Mrs Lanford. Faith is certainly taken with Simon, not as though a man as high ranking and brilliant as Simon would ever look at her; a mere plain widow. She knows all about Simon, her late husband served with the might Major; which is where the story becomes so heart-warming, it is their unknown connection with each other that I found really beautiful.

Faith had been writing letters to her husband while he was at the front every week, unknown to her her husband George often shared her letters with his comrades and officers; which included Simon it was through her gentle and caring words or home and love that gave the men a reason to fight and reason to stay alive.

Ms Jeffers has created a very emotional, moving, heart-warming and sweet story of finding true love and moving forward, I can assure you it will pull at the heart strings. This is a wonderful and beautifully written seasonal romance, that will stay with you and one that you will re-read over and over.

A beautiful story and I am looking forward to diving into the rest of this anthology.

This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Regina!

Do check out the full Christmas Ever After Anthology which can be purchased from Amazon.

Letters from Home by Regina Jeffers – She is the woman whose letters to another man kept his hopes alive during the war. He is the English Major who her late husband described as ‘incomparable’. Can Major Lord Simon Lanford finally step from his brother’s shadow to claim happiness with Mrs. Faith Lamont, or will his rise to the Earldom keep them apart?

How the Duke Stole Christmas by Alanna Lucas – Can the magic of Christmas melt his frozen heart? Theodore Winslow, Duke of Greystone, has been betrayed too often, and has walled his heart away. Miss Patience Leybourne is spending Yuletide at Castle Greystone, with her own family gone. The Dowager Duchess is delighted. Then Patience discovers that the Duke is the mystery man she so passionately kissed at a masked ball. How will she manage to endure his company — when that fiery attraction is still burning between them?

Courting a Spinster for Christmas by Arietta Richmond – A Spinster who has lost purpose in her life, no longer a companion to the aristocracy, a Vicar who has discovered that loneliness makes everything hollow, a mystery that draws them together, a Christmas where everything changes, an unexpected love.

Kissing by the Mistletoe by Cora Lee – Everyone thinks Maddie Hayward is destined to wed Kit Mathison and expects a proposal… except neither of them wishes it. Thomas Mathison has loved Maddie for years, but hasn’t told her. When she suggests a sham courtship between them, to show she won’t marry Kit, he agrees, but she will be feigning affection and Thomas will not. Can he conceal his feelings from her? Will he have the strength to let her go when he returns to Edinburgh?

Miss Hadley’s Holly by Victoria Hinshaw – After two London seasons, Margaret Hadley has received offers only from fortune hunters, seeking her dowry. Lawrence Lannon means to devote himself to helping others as a physician, without regard to the charms of his patient’s pretty daughter. Their growing attraction seems doomed when she finds out that he is the younger son of an Earl, just the kind of match she must avoid. Can she see past her assumptions? Or is her love doomed?

The Duke’s Christmas Wish by Emma Kaye – Felicity Worthington wants justice – to find the traitor who caused her husband’s death. But the evidence is in the Duke of Marberry’s study — the man she almost married, and still loves. The Duke finds his former fiancée, who he’s never stopped loving, has snuck into his home under another’s name. Why has she returned? And why is she avoiding him? A shocking betrayal once tore them apart. Can they now find a future together? Or will new treachery keep them separated forever?

The Resurrection of Regina by Janis Susan May – When Regina eloped, she ruined her life. Her father disowned her, and her husband abused her. When he was killed, Regina’s father turned her away. Rescued by Lady Howard and her son Sir Nathaniel who want to re-introduce her to Society, Regina is afraid. In spite of herself, Regina finds herself falling love with Sir Nathaniel. Will blackmail destroy her chance of happiness? Can Sir Nathaniel’s love bring about the Christmas miracle Regina needs?

Lady Eleanor’s Christmas by Becca St. John – Will a mystery unravel Lady Eleanor’s chance at marriage? A lost toy leads her to hidden truths, unveiling hearts in need of a Christmas miracle. The charming, Lord Whittington pays court to her. Lady Eleanor likes him, enough to consider the marriage. Myths haunt his estate so she investigates. A child goes missing, broken dreams are uncovered, love is in the wrong places. Can it be untangled for Christmas? Or is everyone doomed to misery?

If you love regency Christmas romance you’ll love this anthology!

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My Top Twenty Favourite Christmas Books #Christmas #Romance

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I cannot believe that we have literally a week to go until Christmas! A week until we will be drowned in festive cheer, eat far more food then any human should consume in a lifetime, and basically thoroughly enjoy yourself. But we aren’t there, yet! We are we still have a week to enjoy the run up which means a full week to gather those last minute festive gifts – which I actually mean, get stuck into to some great Christmassy books. I have gathered together a collection of some of my favourite seasonal books, which I’m sure you will love too.

So in no particular order here are my top twenty favourite Christmas books.

The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

All Lydia’s ever wanted is a perfect Christmas…

So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like a dream come true. She’s been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies – all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card.

But her winter wonderland is ruined when she finds herself snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year…

 

 

 

Lady Joy and the Earl by Regina Jeffers

They have loved each other since childhood, but life has not been kind to either of them. James Highcliffe’s arranged marriage had been everything but loving, and Lady Joy’s late husband believed a woman’s spirit was meant to be broken.

Therefore, convincing Lady Jocelyn Lathrop to abandon her freedom and consider marriage to him after twenty plus years apart may be more than the Earl of Hough can manage.

Only the spirit of Christmas can bring these two together when secrets mean to keep them apart

 

 

 

The Secret Scottish Christmas by Regan Walker (Book 4 in the Agents of The Crown Series)

Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!

Scotland 1819 ~ Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?

Sent As The Vikings Bride by Michelle Styles

She’s the wife he doesn’t want…
…and the woman he needs!

Desperate to escape her murderous brother-in-law and protect her young sister, Ragnhild agrees to marry an unknown warrior, and arrives penniless at his remote island. Only Gunnar Olafson’s belief in love died with his family—he does not want a bride! But as yuletide approaches Ragnhild transforms his isolated existence. Can she melt her Viking warrior’s frozen heart?

 

 

 

I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk (Book 6 in the I Heart Series)

Angela’s planning her very own fairytale of New York…
• Enormous Christmas tree
• Eggnog
• Eccentric British traditions
• Gorgeous man
But Santa’s throwing her a few curveballs – new job (as if it’s not mental enough already), new baby-craze from her best friend Jenny, and Alex determined they should grow up and settle down. Once friends start turning up uninvited on her doorstep (and leading her astray), can Angela really have a merry little Christmas? So much for happy holidays – something’s got to give…

 

 

His Mistletoe Wager by Virginia Heath

“Five berries equal the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal.”

Notorious rake Henry Stuart, Earl of Redbridge, is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet–until he learns he’ll be stealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses. A woman who refuses to be charmed!
Once jilted, Lizzie must guard her heart, because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret–her son! Despite their increasing attraction, she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses. But when her former fiancé returns, Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust–with her heart and her son…

 

 

 

A Winters Tale by Trisha Ashley

A charming romantic comedy about a hard-up single mum inheriting a stately home – and a host of headaches. The perfect novel for curling up with during the long winter nights.

Sophy Winter is not your typical Lady of the Manor. When she unexpectedly inherits Winter’s End – a crumbling mansion in the beautiful Lancashire countryside – it seems like all Sophy’s prayers have been answered.

But the house is decrepit and its eccentric inhabitants are a nightmare. And once it is discovered that Winter’s End played host to a young Shakespeare, the entire village of Sticklepond becomes curious about Sophy’s plans, especially charming Jack Lewis. But is he really smitten by Sophy…or her newly-acquired cash?

Meanwhile, Sophy’s gorgeous head gardener Seth is the strong and silent type. But does his passion bloom for anything beyond the horticultural?

A charming romantic comedy for fans of Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell – guaranteed to thaw the coldest of hearts!

One Night Under The Mistletoe by Laurie Benson (Apart of the Convenient Christmas Brides Anthology)

A convenient arrangement

Three festive Regency romances…In The Captain’s Christmas Journey, by Carla Kelly, Captain Everard is escorting Verity to her governess job—and for propriety’s sake that means a convenient engagement!

In Louise Allen’s The Viscount’s Yuletide Betrothal Eleanor advertises for a ‘suitable’ gentleman to pose as her betrothed over Christmas.

And in Laurie Benson’s novella, Juliet Sommersby’s One Night Under the Mistletoe leads to a marriage of convenience with handsome former love Lord Montague…

 

Fairy Tale Of New York by Miranda Dickinson

Are happy-ever-afters made in Manhattan? Find out in this gorgeous debut, perfect for cold winter nights.Once upon a time an English girl went to New York to live out her very own fairytale…

Florist Rosie Duncan’s life couldn’t be better, she has a flourishing business on New York’s Upper West Side and fantastic friends. Moving to Manhattan feels like the best decision she ever made. Even though at the time, it was her escape route from heartbreak . . .

For the past six years Rosie has kept her heart under lock and key, despite the protests of her closest friends – charming, commitment-phobic Ed, unlucky in love Marnie and the one-woman tornado that is Celia.
Then a blossoming friendship with publishing hot-shot Nate begins to shake Rosie’s resolve at the same time as her brother arrives in the Big Apple, hiding a secret.

But a chance meeting brings Rosie face to face with her past, unravelling the mystery behind her arrival in New York. Rosie is forced to confront questions she has long been trying to ignore, including will she ever get her very own happy-ever-after?
A sparkling, romantic comedy about an English girl who finds herself in the city where dreams can come true – or so she thinks…

Lord Of Ice by Gaelen Foley (Book 3 The Knights Miscellany)

Damien Knight, the earl of Winterley, is proud, aloof, and tormented by memories of war. Though living in seclusion, he is named guardian to a fellow officer’s ward. Instead of the young homeless waif he was expecting, however, Miranda FitzHubert is a stunning, passionate beauty who invades his sanctuary and forces him back into society.

Struggling to maintain honour and self-control, Damien now faces an ever greater threat: desire. A bold, free spirit, Miranda has witnessed the darkest depths of Damien’s soul – and has seen his desperate need for love. But before she can thaw his unyielding heart, she must endure a terrifying nightmare of her own . . .

 

 

 

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye and Rebecca Mascull

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss MarleyA seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill…

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

 

A Daughters Christmas Wish by Victoria Cornwall

A captivating new story from Victoria Cornwall, perfect for fans of books by Tracy Rees, Fiona Valpy and Dilly Court.
A Cornish Christmas wish sent across the ocean …

Christmas, Cornwall 1919

A promise to a fellow soldier leads Nicholas to Cornwall for Christmas, and to the teashop managed by Rose; the youngest daughter of a family whose festive spirit has been blighted by their wartime experiences. But as Nicholas strives to give Rose the best Christmas she could wish for, he begins to question whether his efforts are to honour his friend, or whether there is another reason …

 

 

Her Christmas Knight by Nicole Locke

A knight to protect her – this Yuletide

By order of the English King, Alice of Swaffham searches London nobility for the traitor dealing information to the Scots. Little does she know that the mysterious spy she seeks is the man she once loved and thought she’d lost forever…

If Hugh of Shoebury felt unworthy of Alice before, as the Half-Thistle spy, he can never claim her heart. Now he must fight not only to keep his dark secrets – and Alice – safe from a vengeful king…but also his burning longing for her at bay!

Lovers and Legends
A clash of Celtic passions

 

Watch For Me At Christmas by Kirsty Ferry

When midwinter magic brings you home for Christmas …

When Emmy Berry arrives at Hartsford Hall to work at the Frost Fayre she immediately feels at home. Which is odd because she’s never set foot in the place in her life.

Then a freak blizzard leaves her stranded and things get even weirder when she bumps into Tom Howard. Tom and Emmy have never met before but neither can ignore the sense that they know each other.

With Christmas fast approaching and the weather showing no sign of improving it soon becomes apparent that Hartsford Hall has a little bit of midwinter magic in store for them both …

 

A Holiday By Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

Awakening His Sleeping Beauty by Janice Preston (Apart of the Regency Christmas Wishes Anthology)

Three Regency tales of festive wishes come true…

CAPTAIN GREY’S CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL by Carla Kelly
Captain Grey had been fighting malarial fever in Savannah when he met Theodora Winnings. He proposed by letter – but it’s taken ten years to receive her reply. The answer was ‘yes’! – but is she still free to become his Christmas bride?

HER CHRISTMAS TEMPTATION by Christine Merrill
Faith Strickland’s plan to marry to save her family backfires when notorious rake James Foley sets out to break her unhappy engagement. He’ll storm her twelfth night celebrations and scorch her into surrender!

AWAKENING HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY by Janice Preston
Lonely Diana Fleming knows handsome knights don’t really exist. But can a festive kiss from the man she loves reawaken her frozen heart?

A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson (Apart of the Four Season’s Series)

Tis the season to be jolly… But can Eve find happiness through the frost? A heartwarming and hilarious novel from the bestselling author of Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe and The Queen of Wishful Thinking.

Eve has never liked Christmas. So when her adored elderly aunt dies, the last thing she is expecting is to be left a theme park in her will. A theme park with a Christmas theme …

And that’s not the only catch. Her aunt’s will stipulates that Eve must run the park with a mysterious partner, the exotically named Jacques Glace. Who is this Jacques, and why did Aunt Evelyn name him in her will?

But Eve isn’t going to back down from a challenge. She’s determined to make a success of Winterworld, no matter what. Can she overcome her dislike of Christmas, and can Jacques melt her frozen heart at last?

A Wager For The Widow by Elisabeth Hobbes

‘I SUPPOSE A KISS OF GRATITUDE IS OUT OF THE QUESTION?’

Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men – until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!

As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile – but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter! Yet when the tide turns Will realises vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?

 

 

Scandal At the Christmas Ball by Marguerite Kaye and Bronwyn Scott

Twelve days of Christmas, two Regency love affairs, one scandalous house party!

A GOVERNESS FOR CHRISTMAS by Marguerite Kaye
At the glittering Brockmore house party, former army major Drummond MacIntosh meets governess in disgrace, Joanna Forsythe, who’s desperate to clear her name. Both are eager to put their pasts behind them, but their scandalous affair will make for a very different future…

DANCING WITH THE DUKE’S HEIR by Bronwyn Scott
Heir to the Dukedom, Vale Penrith, does not want a wife, and certainly not one like Lady Viola Hawthorne. So why does London’s Shocking Beauty tempt him beyond reason? Dare he try and tame her, or is a Christmas seduction the best way to bring her to surrender…?

 

Highland Fling by Katie Fford

A fine romance? A wonderfully romantic novel from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Recipe for Love, A French Affair and The Perfect Match.

When ‘Virtual Assistant’ Jenny Porter’s boyfriend accuses her of being impulsive, soft-hearted and unbusinesslike, dashing off to Scotland to sort out a failing mill for one of her clients may not be the best way of proving him wrong. And promising to help run a mobile burger bar before she’s even found her feet doesn’t help matters. When she finds herself determined to save the mill – whatever her client’s wishes – it seems that Henry’s accusations may have contained more than a grain of truth.

So when Jenny’s awkward encounters with the abrasive but disconcertingly attractive Ross Grant develop into something more complicated – just as Henry arrives in Scotland to reclaim her – it’s time for Jenny to make some decisions. Should she do the sensible thing and follow Henry back to London? Or is her Highland adventure more than just a fling…?

There is obviously hundreds more brilliant seasonal books out there, but I couldn’t write them all down so I stuck with my top twenty, but I would love to know your favourite’s. Do you have a favourite Christmas book? Or just a book that you love to re-read during the festive season? I would love to know!

#Review Miss Marley; A Christmas Ghost Story, A Prequel To A Christmas Carol by Vanessa Lafaye & Rebecca Mascull (@rebeccamascull) @HQDigitalUK #MissMarley #AChristmasCarol

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Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

My View

This is utterly breath-taking! There is no other words for this beautiful book, once I closed the very last page, I was left in stunned silence and with tears in my eyes, this is the brilliance of this book the emotions that Miss Marley evokes in the reader is incomparable. It is full of tragedy, sadness and it is heart-breaking, as well as portraying the most beautiful message of just being kind to others, that money isn’t everything in life, what is important is family, love and living life itself.

This is the first I have ever read by the late Vanessa Lafaye and it saddens me to know that I may have missed out on something special, so I am unbelievably honoured that I got the chance to review this book. Ms Lafaye and Ms Mascull (who lovingly finished the book on Vanessa Lafaye’s sad passing) have written an atmospheric, realistic and touching story, the sights, smells and life of Dickensian London is brilliant captured which makes this book even more special.

This is the prequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’ and it tells the story of Jacob Marley through the eyes of his little sister; Clara Belle Marley. The story opens when they are nothing but children who are staving on the streets, after their parent’s died and their cruel uncle foisted them off into the workhouse they have nothing but each other. With Jacob’s intellect and wiles they soon find themselves off the street and into the nefarious world of ‘Money lending’. The story doesn’t he hard facts of life on the streets of the money lending business, it is raw and unashamed-idly real.

As the years go by, the siblings raise themselves from the streets, in due course Jacob meets his soon-to-be business partner; Ebeneeza Scrooge and is from here we see just how Jacob Marley found himself destined to reside for all eternity in chains; as we see in A Christmas Carol. Jacob Marley isn’t entirely a selfish man as he does have his moments when he cares for Clara, but there really isn’t an ounce of kindness in him. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Ebeneeza in a different light to the heartless, lost creature we all know him to be. In this there is a glimmer of goodness in him, but being around merciless Jacob has it’s effects on him, it was interesting to seeing the two men when they were young to see how the famous story began.

But the backbone to this is Clara Belle and her absolute love and loyalty to her brother, she is the absolute opposite to Jacob. Where he is hard, cold and ruthless she is kind, warm, caring and always wanting to help if she can. She has a good heart who tries in vain to change her brother’s ways, she has her own story to tell one that can melt the coldest of hearts, and one that will have you weeping.

Magical, charming, festive, beautifully written, heartfelt, captivating, reminiscent of Dickens himself, this is the perfect Christmas gift and one that I can see becoming a classic in its own right and one that will be repeatedly read year after year.

The most heart-warming and beautiful book I have read, perfection!

This was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Joe at HQ Digital UK for my copy.

Miss Marley is available at Amazon and I urge everyone to buy it, highly recommended!

#Review – In Peppermint Peril (A Tea and a Read Mystery) by Joy Avon (@VivWrites) #Christmas #CosyMystery #ATeaAndAReadMystery @crookedlanebks

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Joy Avon’s festive series debut featuring a book-themed tea party organizer will be tons of fun this Christmas for Lorna Barrett and Jenn McKinlay fans.

In the run-up to Christmas Eve, organizer of book-themed tea parties Callie Aspen and her lovable Boston terrier will have to conquer threefold trouble—a mysterious will, a missing heirloom and a dead body—to restore the festive spirit to their small town.

This Christmas, Callie Aspen returns to her childhood hideout Heart’s Harbor, Maine where her great aunt runs Book Tea, a vintage tearoom where every sweet treat contains a bookish clue. Upon arrival in the fairy-tale snowy town, Callie is drawn into the preparations for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the rambling house of Heart’s Harbor’s oldest resident, rich but lonely widow Dorothea Finster, who invited her estranged relatives, old friends and the elite of the town to make a mysterious announcement about her will.

Believing they can touch a part of her fortune, everybody is determined to come, despite not liking each other or even their hostess. And Callie’s old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter’s engagement, even though her daughter isn’t sure she’s in love with the young lawyer her mother thinks so perfect for her.

Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn’t easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit?

My View

I loved the sound of this when I first heard of it and I definitely was not disappointed, In Peppermint Peril is the first book in the new debut series by Joy Avon and I am looking forward to reading more from this series and author.

Callie and her cute and a button dog return to her old childhood hideaway; Hearts Harbour for Christmas, she plans to visit her aunt Iphy who runs one of the best tea rooms I have ever come across, they it is a tea shop that hold and caters for bookish themed events and parties, which is such a brilliant idea. Iphy is a master at these events she tends to know exactly what her customers want and she goes above and beyond to cater for them. While staying with her aunt Callie and Iphy are preparing for an Agatha Christie themed event at Haywood Hall. The owner of the Hall; 93 year old Dorothea has decided to make adjustments to her will but as with the stories of the great Agatha Christie her self thing’s don’t exactly go to plan.

As the family and friends of the hugely wealthy Dorothea all flock to the Hall to see what if anything is in store for them, which is all very well the only thing is that none of them like each other, in fact dislike is a mild term what this family feels for one and other. To add to the not so happy get-together Callie’s child hood friends adds a bit more fuel to the fire in the form of her wanting to steal the lime light in announcing her daughters engagement, which isn’t the happy news that she would have hoped. Then right in the middle of so much hype and animosity somebody is murdered with Callie right in the middle of the investigation.

I love that this has got a real Poirot or Miss Marple feel to it, the murder mystery is brilliantly paced the reader follows Callie and the investigation right up to finally uncovering who the murderer was. Even though this is a contemporary story, for me it has a proper vintage feel to it, it’s cosy and fun and brilliantly engrossing. The writing is clearly stylish, it flows with a rare ease and keeps the readers turning the pages. Callie is a brilliant character she is a genuinely lovely lady who is a pretty damn good investigator – definitely a young Miss Marple in the making. On top of the whole murder mystery you have a jolly good Christmas read that will fill you with festive cheer and it is perfect for these cold and cosy long nights.

Marvellous!

This was an ARC via the publisher from Netgalley.

In Peppermint Peril is to be released on 13th November and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#Review – Lady Joy And the Earl : A Christmas Novella by Regina Jeffers (@reginajeffers) #Christmas #Regency #Romance

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They have loved each other since childhood, but life has not been kind to either of them. James Highcliffe’s arranged marriage had been everything but loving, and Lady Joy’s late husband believed a woman’s spirit was meant to be broken. Therefore, convincing Lady Jocelyn Lathrop to abandon her freedom and consider marriage to him after twenty plus years apart may be more than the Earl of Hough can manage. Only the spirit of Christmas can bring these two together when secrets mean to keep them apart.

My View

Well this is a wonderfully heart-warming and emotional seasonal story. I am a big fan of Regina Jeffers work, she has a real gift at story telling, she magically captures the readers attention with her charming stories which have some of the most wondrous characters who the reader can really get behind and cheer on. Lady Joy and The Earl is no different, I found this to be a magical story full of raw emotion and a delightful cast of character’s.

Jocelyn (or Joy) and James have been in love with each other since they were children, as their family’s estates are right next door to one and other, they often used to spend many hours and days together. They both new where they wanted their lives to go and that was to be together, unfortunately James’ father had already arranged a marriage for James ever since he was still in the cradle and it wouldn’t be with the neighbouring Marquess’ daughter. Joy was obviously devastated when hearing of James’ marriage, because she didn’t know the details of the arrangement she felt both cheated and disappointed that James would do such a thing to her after she had loved him all her life. Which into the an arranged marriage of her own, never to see each other for another twenty two years.

Both had very unhappy marriages, in different ways so twenty-two years later once widowed and past their moaning period they can both be and do what they want to be. For Joy that means she finally has her freedom, even if that freedom does come at a cost due to what happened when her husband died. She wants nothing more than to go about her life with her children and finally be able to live. For James there is only one thing that he wants, the one thing that was stolen from him; Joy! He is set on finally claiming his Joy for his own, just as he wanted in the first place. But first he must make it past her high defences, for she is far from the spirited woman he knew she has become a shell of her self and he knows that gentleness and a little Christmas magic is the only way forward for both of them to be happy.

Joy hasn’t had the best of luck, first the one man she loved with all her heart suddenly ups and marries someone else, true that it was all arranged when he was a baby, but she doesn’t know that. Her confusion and hurt is always there, even after twenty years apart her heart may do a jolt and speed up at the mere sight of this distinguished, handsome man but also present is her devastation. She was then married off to a horrible man and his treatment of her has left an imprint on her, she is such a wonderfully kind and loving woman but that sparkle tat James loved about er has been put out. But James, being the wonderfully self assure and slightly arrogant man – but in a very good way he can see that there is a flicker of the woman beneath the hurt, I love this man he really is wonderful and oh, so handsome he isn’t cruel or nasty he is utterly charming and he oozes sex appeal. Joy is an amazing woman, she is strong when it comes to her children and she is fierce yet she is vulnerable and fragile. I love the gentleness James shows her and how with his careful wooing she becomes her real self, I particular love the way he subtly flirts and cajoles her into bantering with him. So sweet and funny!

I love this book! The story is very well developed and refreshingly new for the genre, it moves from scene to scene flawlessly. But the thing that I do love about this sweet short story is the chemistry between the leads, James and Joy are a match made in heaven they have both been scarred – if emotionally scarred by the turn of the events when they were young. The feelings for each other is constant, you can feel the emotion on every page, from the rapidly beating hearts to the fact that they can’t stop gazing at one an other. It’s beautiful written, but I expected no less from talented Ms Jefffers .

Gorgeous story, just perfect!!

This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

Lady Joy and The Earl can be purchased from Amazon.

#Review : Watch For Me At Christmas (Hartsford Mysteries) by Kirsty Ferry (@kirsty_ferry)

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When midwinter magic brings you home for Christmas …

When Emmy Berry arrives at Hartsford Hall to work at the Frost Fayre she immediately feels at home. Which is odd because she’s never set foot in the place in her life.

Then a freak blizzard leaves her stranded and things get even weirder when she bumps into Tom Howard. Tom and Emmy have never met before but neither can ignore the sense that they know each other.

With Christmas fast approaching and the weather showing no sign of improving it soon becomes apparent that Hartsford Hall has a little bit of midwinter magic in store for them both

My View

This is the second book I have read by Kirsty Ferry and yet again I was utterly mesmerized by this seasonal story of finding true love. Again we return to the magical and beautiful Hartsford Hall for another heart-warming and poignant love story that again entwines history, two beautifully written and enchanting stories that so seamlessly merges into one touching tale of finding love after loss with the help of one magical house.

Emmy Berry has been asked at the last minute to Hartsford Hall to work at the annual Christmas Frost Fayre, Emmy has never been to the hall and yet the moment she steps foot through the door she has the immediate sense that she has been there before, she feels as though she has finally come home. When she meets handsome yet lonely Tom Howard she is shocked that she has this all consuming feeling that she knows this man, she is drawn to him like a moth to a flame just as he is her. Tom is reluctantly spending the Christmas season with his sister, who is the manager of the Hartsford Hall museum, he would rather be else where he has always felt uneasy around the Hall, as though he has lost something or is looking for something and unable to find it.

When suddenly the blizzard has blown in and the inhabitants of Hartsford Hall find themselves snowed in, Tom and Emmy must solve the mystery as to why they have this connection to each other, with the help from some ghosts they begin a journey of discovery that will change their lives.

I do have a soft spot for time-slip stories, I love how they bring together two completely different eras and I have come to find that Ms ferry is a master at this genre. Her writing styles is attractive and engrossing the reader becomes transported into the story, never wanting it to end but yet, you are urging the character’s on to find their happily ever after and to solve the mystery. This is a wonderful seasonal novella that I devoured in one go, it really is the most beautiful little story that I’ve read and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Highly enjoyable and recommended.

This was a ARC via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Watch For Me at Christmas can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#Review : A Holiday by Gaslight (A Victorian Christmas Novella) by Mimi Mathews (@MimiMatthewsEsq)

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A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.  

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her former beau isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time, there’ll be no false formality. This time, they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

My View

My goodness, yet again I am blown away with the excellence that is Ms Mimi Matthews. I am a huge fan of her work – In fact, I have said that very sentence so many times, I’m sure that Mimi and everyone reading my reviews must be sick of hearing it, but I don’t care I am still going to shout it from the rooftops just how much I admire this fine lady’s work.

A Holiday By Gaslight is a wonderfully seasonal novella that will definitly leave the reader feeling all warm and Christmassy, set during the Victorian era – which I do have to say, that Ms Matthews is the best there is when comes to this era – and it is full of seasonal joy and atmosphere, the historic detail is as always flawlessly described, it is literally like waking up in this era and joining Sophie and Ned at the Christmas house party.

With the her family facing financial ruin, mainly due to her selfish and inconsiderate father and her brattish sister, Sophie Appersett knows that with no dowry she will most likely have to marry below her station and quickly to bring in the much needed funds her family need especially if they are to carry on living in the land of luxury that they are accustomed to. Walk on stage Edward Sharpe, the handsome, brooding and monosyllabic working class, mill owner and merchant. A man who her class cannot abide because of his humble roots yet will go out of their way to grasp hold of his hard earned cash.

After two month courting, Sophie breaks it off with Ned. She thinks him gruff and silent, in their brief courtship she cannot bare he thought of marrying such a silent man, a man she doesn’t know and who refuses to talk to her. Ned is far from what Sophie thinks him to be, he is silent because he is following what a rather stupid book on society rules says, instead of being himself. They meet again during her parent’s annual Christmas house party, which is when she begins to see what we all see, that he is a wonderfully thoughtful and fascinating man and Ned too sees that she isn’t like the rest of society she doesn’t see him as just a walking bank balance, she is kind and generous and very loving and open.

I have to say that I do love the scene where Ned tell Sophie that he will get a kiss from her, it is such a fun scene and really shows Ned’s witty and fun loving side and shows that he is much more that the incredibly shy with women, brooding yet amazingly intelligent and hard-working man he is, especially when he says he will kiss anywhere either under the mistletoe or under the stairs, I love that!

This is magical, it beautifully entwines a gorgeous Victorian Christmas, social prejudices of the era and the most marvellously different cast of character’s that you would ever want I a historical romance. Each character brings their own personalities to the story, that gives it that realism that I love, Sophie’s sister Emily was a little irritating brat and Mr Murry, well he is a real rakish charmer. I love that the driving force of this is Ned and Sophie not just over coming their own misunderstanding towards one and other, but also attempting to bring their two completely different worlds together to have a harmonious and unforgeable Christmas.

Yet again, Ms Matthews has created another wonderfully charming and vividly rich romance, that will have the readers swooning with absolute delight.

Perfect!

This was an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Holiday by Gaslight is to be released on 13 November and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.