Well, this was going to be a Christmas in July, but that didn't happen. I was going to do this for the Christmas season. Again didn't happen. Guess what it becomes A Tame the Shame book. YAY! Wait, shame, head down. Here we go with todays selection Christmas Brides anthology from the talented authors Suzanne Enoch, Alexandra Hawkins, Elizabeth Essex, and Valerie Bowman. Each of them brings a story that has a bride looking for love and marriage, or not really, but it just happens during the Christmas season. So, here we go. First up:
One Hot Scot
All right in this story we meet Julia Prentiss and she happens to stumble upon Duncan Lennox. Now Julia is trying to escape Lord Bellamy who wants to entrap her in marriage for her money. Man that just sucks. Anyway, Julia feels safe with Duncan. Seriously, this is a quick read. Basically, Duncan is trying to decide if it's worth saving her cause she brings all sorts of trouble. Who knew going to Scotland for Christmas could be such a bad idea, but work out.
Once Upon A Christmas Scandal
I adore the Lords of Vice series, and excited to see them again in Once Upon A Christmas Scandal. However, this particular story doesn't focus on the Lords per se, but on Vane's little sister Ellen. Now Ellen has been resisting marriage, but her father wants to make sure she's safe before he leaves this world. However he has technically
"You have placed a bounty on my head. Every fortune hunter in England will insist on an introduction."So, she has this problem. Then she meets Derek Martin Hunt, Earl of Swainsbury. Who is there to protect her from the ultimate fortune hunter. However, he doesn't know who it is. At the same time, he falls for Ellen. She's not an easy person to get along with, she's not a biddable woman. I liked the story and slight danger. We get see those wicked lords again, especially Frost and his ever charming self.
The Scandal Before Christmas
I LOVE THIS STORY! This one had me all over the place. We have Ian Worth who is trying to avoid his father's machinations. He talks to a friend who happens to have a daughter who is marrying age. Deciding to go with the bride unseen, than what his father might come up with. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. Poor girl Anne Lesley. When Ian meets her, he's disappointed, but still thinking she's a better option. He says some stinging words:
"All time in the world couldn't turn that girl into something more attractive. And I don't think there is anything on this earth that will convince her to like me. I saw the look on her face. She'll never have me. Not in a hundred years."..."And it's just as well. Save us both a world of hurt. I can't abide plain, Pinky, you that. I like to be entertained, and to all appearances. Miss Anne Lesley is as dull and unentertaining as a house wren, it's clear that she already hates me."Seriously, if I heard that I would run far away. However, she was stuck with little choice marry the Ian or go home. Her mother... no words could describe the woman.
Anyway, the The Scandal Before Christmas just had me choking back the tears, because I felt bad for Anne. Fortunately Ian was able to see the gem he received when he got to see the real her. Which she had been holding back for years. So, yes I loved this story.
It Happened Under the Mistletoe
It Happened Under the Mistletoe is probably the last story in Secret Brides series, and it's Kate's decease husband's cousin (talk about a mouthful). Well, Oliver Townsende inherits the dukedom after the murder of his cousin. Lucky him. Now he's the newly minted Duke of Markingham, and the most sought after eligible gentleman. Again, lucky him. Now he's trying to ward off the advances of Lady Selina who can't take no for an answer, when he stumbles upon Miss Cerian Blake. Now Cerian is at the house party cause her cousin Kate invited her, and Cerian's mother would love for her to make a most advantageous match. Now Cerian would love nothing else but marry for love instead of her dowery. So, we see these to work together warding off the unwanted suitors. Nothing like team work.
I adored this story. I mean this story could have been made into a longer story, but it just right with the way it was. It has the perfect balance you can find in a story. You have the I don't know if I'm going to find love at this house party, but something magical happens they do. There is hope, and laughter filled in this story. Plus, you do get a feeling oh my Oliver might do something stupid like let love get away moment. Good thing he has a good friend to help him out in the end. Overall, a very good story.
If you are still looking for that holiday read you might consider giving Christmas Brides a shot. Plus, it has a little bit of everything in the book.
Copy provided by St. Martin via NetGalley
4 1/2 Stars