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A Very Scandalous Holiday

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  • Posted November 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A sweet, lovely historical romance holiday anthology. A Very Sca

    A sweet, lovely historical romance holiday anthology. A Very Scandalous Holiday was a lovely collection of holiday romances. I really enjoyed reading them all.

    "Erin's Gift" was a very sweet story. Erin was a likable heroine who was genuinely nice. Seth was a sweet hero who didn't want to fall in love, but fell anyway. The romance was sweet, with a touch of spice and the story was lovely.

    "An Eternity of You" was a reunion between two lovers. Or, kind of. Rebecca was a strong heroine who went through a lot of tough times that have made her bitter. But, despite her resentment for her circumstances, she knew when to forgive. I thought she was great. Andrew was a hero who thought he was doing the right thing by leaving Rebecca. He didn't think his family would allow them to marry, so he left before he could ruin her, or so he thought. He didn't realize that a dream he had while he was ill and Rebecca was tending to him was actually real. And, the consequences of that, though he didn't know about them, were real. He was a sweet hero. He might have made mistakes, but he always loved Rebecca and was determined to make things right. The romance was sweet and lovely. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was perfect.

    "Letters at Christmas" was a story about a second chance. Sidony was a lovely heroine who unsure if she should trust again. I really liked her. Hale was a hero who never stopped loving Sidony, but was uncertain if she would forgive him. The romance was both sweet and steamy. I really enjoyed the story and the happy ending was wonderful. This one was my favorite of the stories in this anthology.

     "Eight Tiny Flames" was a sweet love story about two people who fall in love under the most difficult of circumstances: in a WWII battlefield, trying to celebrate Hanukkah while the anti-Semitic Nazis marched ever closer. Ruth was a feisty heroine that was very likable. She was strong and proved herself a worthy heroine as she held her own in a battle front. Joseph was a dedicated soldier who slowly came out of his shell as he fell in love with Ruth. He was adorable. The romance was sweet and lovely. I enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely.

    A Very Scandalous Holiday was a fantastic historical romance holiday anthology. All of the stories were sweet and wonderful. If you want a lovely read that will get you ready for the holiday season, this is a book you'll want to check out.

    *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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  • Posted October 14, 2013

    A Very Scandalous Christmas was a well written anthology of Chri

    A Very Scandalous Christmas was a well written anthology of Christmas stories that span from the British regency period, to the roaring 1920s, and World War II. All the stories were well written, I especially enjoyed the story set during the Battle of the Bulge between a nurse and a surgeon. Its setting is unusual and I like how it made use of the 8 days of Hanukkah to tell its evolving romance. It was my favorite story from anthology, because I have never read any story like it before. the Both of the Regency romances were well written and involved strong women who longed for their loves. I enjoyed both stories and would happily recommend them to people who like this setting. My least favorite story set in the 1920s, was still well- written and enjoyable, just not very memorable.

    Overall this was a good anthology with some outstanding stories, I highly recommend it.

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  • Posted October 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Very Scandalous Holiday is a fun collection of holiday-themed

    A Very Scandalous Holiday is a fun collection of holiday-themed historical romances, with two British Regency-era-ish stories acting as bookends for a World War II and 1920s era romance in between. There isn't a bad story in the bunch, but I definitely have favorites!

    "Letters at Christmas" by Amber Lin is the first story in the collection. Sidony Harbeck has to deal with the return of her former lover, Captain Hale Prescott. Three years earlier, he left to make his fortune at sea and she hasn't heard from him since. Now he's back, and determined to win her back. She's just as determined not to let him, though....

    This late Regency period romance was a sweet reunited lovers/second chance story. I enjoyed the characters and found their situation to be mostly believable, but it was pretty standard fare. A nice way to spend an hour or so, and I wouldn't mind re-reading next year if the Christmas-historical mood strikes me, but it didn't stand out in any major way--though it did feature a cat as a secondary character, which is always fun. B+ rating.

    The second story blew me away, both for its unique twist on the traditional holiday story and its location and characters. Christa McHugh's "Eight Tiny Flames" is set during the Battle of the Bulge, right at the edge of the action. Lieutenant Ruth Mencher is a nurse in the 64th Medical Evacuation Unit, and she has long been attracted to the unit's all-business doctor, Captain Joseph Klein. Ruth decides to take a chance, and on the second night of Hanukkah she shows up at his desk with coffee, potato chips, and the inexpensive menorah her family sent in their latest care package.

    Ruth wears a Star of David necklace each and every day, and is proud of her heritage. Joseph, on the other hand, learned while growing up in Texas that it was sometimes better to hide his faith away. In Nazi-infested Europe, this seems doubly important. He's unsure what to make of Ruth's overtures at first, and fairly certain that getting involved with a nurse is a bad idea all around. As Hanukkah progresses, though, so does their relationship.

    I loved that this holiday story wasn't about Christmas, and I adored the WWII setting. Out of the four stories here, this one was definitely the most fleshed-out; it had a very strong story arc and felt complete despite its short length. I will absolutely be reading more from this author in the future, and re-reading this story again during the holidays. A solid A rating.

    I also really enjoyed the third story, "Erin's Gift" by Nancy Fraser, as well. It's set during the Prohibition era, which again was unusual for a historical holiday romance. Erin O'Mara is a shop girl struggling to make it on her own in Chicago--her parents had died several years earlier, ending her dream of becoming a concert violinist. She still hangs out with two friends she made during her single year at the music academy, though, Abby Harrison and Will Packard, even though their social status is now worlds above hers. 

    An ill-advised trip to a speakeasy with Abby and Will ends Erin in jail, where Abby's older brother, Seth, a lawyer, bails them out. Representing her in court, Seth is taken with Erin's quiet beauty, but he has no intention of falling in love again. A widower, he's decided that his young son Ben and his family are all he needs. But that was before Erin was fired from her job, and moves in to act as Ben's nanny....

    "Erin's Gift" was a sweet little story, and I loved the characters of Erin, Seth, and Ben. The relationships between those three characters were nicely done. However, two things kept me from rating this one higher: one, Erin was at times too sweet. She really didn't seem to have any flaws save extreme innocence and a tendency to undervalue herself. Secondly, there really wasn't a strong story arc here--a true climax (except for *that* kind of climax. We had several of those here) just never occurred. The biggest barrier between Erin and Seth was all in their heads, and quickly overcome. Absolutely everything comes fairly easily to these characters at the end. Still, it was a pleasant diversion--and I loved Ben and Seth. B+ rating.

    The final story, "An Enternity of You" by Sophia Garrett, was set just after the Regency era in 1833. The new Duke of Sharrington, Andrew Wingate, is returning to his family estate after spending six years away caring for his earldom in Sussex and trying to forget the girl he left behind in Wiltshire. Now a widower, he brings his young daughter Alice with him, determined to make a new life for them both...and perhaps rekindle an old flame at the same time--though he fears it may be too late.

    As far as Rebecca Rycroft is concerned, "too late" is just the tip of the iceberg where Andrew Wingate is concerned. She once believed his promises of love and forever, but that was before he left her without a word--and carrying his child. Her six years of letters have gone unanswered, and her circumstances--and those of the town that depends on Andrew's duchy--are becoming worse every day. Her son Thomas is all she has left. Can Andrew possibly convince her to give them another chance? Or will it take a Christmas miracle?

    This story had some pretty heavy issues going on--Rebecca's situation as the novella opens is really pretty dire, and the town is clearly declining fast. Andrew's dealing with major amounts of guilt--he left the girl he loved years ago and married one he clearly didn't, and he ignored the fact that his father wasn't fit to govern the duchy on his own during his absence, even though he should have known better. The motivations given for his actions really don't paint him in a favorable light, and for much of the story I wasn't sure if I liked him all that much. It especially bothered me that he never opened any of the correspondence from the estate manager in all that time. At least the reason why Andrew wouldn't have known he had a child--which admittedly was unfathomable to me at first--is explained in a fairly credible way eventually. 

    The two children in the story steal the show, but in the end I felt like Andrew should do even more grovelling--both to the town and to Rebecca. I just wasn't convinced *he* deserved the HEA yet, though I was definitely rooting for Rebecca, Thomas, and Alice all the way. B rating.

    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted October 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Four fabulous novellas to put you in the holiday spirit! Each s

    Four fabulous novellas to put you in the holiday spirit! Each story is a quick, easy, and entertaining read with a common holiday theme designed to give you a blast from the past! I loved reading each story and even though they were all fairly short, the writing was excellent, the plot and characters were well-developed and all the heroes and heroines were down right lovable! If you are looking for a great way to kick off your holiday season, I suggest give this anthology a try! It’s great for reading if you don’t have a lot of time since you can just read one story at a time, but it’s also great for a lazy afternoon of reading! Don’t miss this collection!

    Rating 4

    Heat Rating Mild

    Reviewed by April P

    Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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