Release: Oct 2009
Source: I purchased this book to read and review
The Unmasking of Lady Loveless by Nicola Cornick
This holiday season Lord Alexander Beaumont is on a mission of seduction and revenge, and the target is his estranged wife, Lady Melicent. Once Alex learns that his supposedly inexperienced wife is “Lady Loveless”—the writer of erotic literature setting London alight—he’s determined to unmask her for the wanton she really is. But when his Christmas nights with Melicent take an unexpected turn, Alex finds his heart is in danger!
Christmas Reunion by Catherine George
Felicia Maynard hasn’t laid eyes on her first love, Gideon Ford, for years, but here he is on her doorstep, looking devastatingly attractive and insisting they spend Christmas together. As the magic of Christmas casts its spell, will Gideon claim Felicia, once and for all, as his bride?
A Mistletoe Masquerade by Louise Allen
Lady Rowan Chilcourt agrees to masquerade as a simple lady’s maid to help her friend avert an undesirable marriage. But while working among the servants she meets the handsome Lucas Dacre. As Christmas approaches, Rowan begins to fall for Lucas, until she discovers that she isn’t the only one masquerading under the mistletoe….
As you can see from the above blurb, this book is an anthology of three stories, all of a Christmas theme. I found this book and decided to read it to meet my Christmas Reading Challenge requirements. Although I’ve recently read and enjoyed a book by Nicola Cornick, I have not read anything previously by the other two authors.
The first story – The Unmasking of Lady Loveless by Nicola Cornick is about Lord and Lady Beaumont. They married early to satisfy the demands of Lord Alexander’s father and the marriage was not a success. Alexander was more interested in running his estate to pay much attention to his wife, and Melicent was aware that her husband only married her to satisfy the demands of his father. They are living separately, Alexander at his estate and in London, and Melicent is looking after her demanding mother and gambling drunkard of a brother in Yorkshire. When Alexander is confronted at his club with the suggestion that his estranged wife is “Lady Loveless” a well known writer of erotica, he decides to investigate.
I wasn’t all that taken by the storyline itself, I loved how Ms. Cornick progressed this story along. The characters of Alexander and Melicent mesh together well. Their maturation during the intervening years has allowed them to move beyond the unfortunate beginning to their marriage. Melicent’s mother is a wonderful character. Her demanding and controlling ways are well written, allowing the reader to sympathize with Melicent’s situation. This story is great start to this anthology.
Christmas Reunion by Catherine George is the one story in this trio that is set in modern times. It is the story of Felicia Maynard who has come home to attend a friend’s wedding and house sit for her parents while they are on vacation. While she is there she runs into Gideon Ford, and old boyfriend from high school. After an unfortunate misunderstanding in their teen years, Felicia and Gideon have not seen each other in years. Gideon has taken over his father’s drug store and developed it into a chain of stores and as a result is very wealthy.
Of the three stories, this was my least favorite one. I had troubles with the pacing of the story – it seem to drag. I felt that this story could be told in a much shorter novella. Although this story if shortened, could work as a nice little heart warming stand alone story, it didn’t belong with the two stories it was combined with. It was a contemporary romance combined with two historicals and to me the combination just didn’t work.
A Mistletoe Masquerade by Louise Allen tells the story of Lady Rowen Chilcourt attempting to protect her timid friend, Miss Penelope Maylin. Penny is essentially being forced to marry Lord Danescroft – a man who is rumored to have killed his first wife. Rowen goes under cover as “Daisy” Penny’s dresser at a house party to investigate Lord Danescroft – the servants always know everything about their employers! What she doesn’t know is that Lord Danescroft’s valet is Viscount Stoneley in disguise, also out to determine what he can about his best friend’s potential new wife.
This situation is ripe to produce a comedy of misunderstandings and hard feelings. Ms. Allen skillfully weaves an intriguing story of two caring friends working together for the benefit of their respective friends. The time period of this story comes close to matching the first one by Ms Cornick. They provide a good mix of gentle, heartwarming romance in a Christmas setting.