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Posted December 4, 2013
The Snow Rose by Susan King
Catriona MacDonald is in need of help and calls on a promise made to her family years ago by her now enemy clan, the Frasers. She needs to regain control of her family’s estate from her uncle and knows they are the only ones that can help her. After being turned away and her plea for help falling upon deaf ears, she heads back to her makeshift home to ring in the New Year. Alone and in need of luck, she tries to lift her spirits and is surprised when Kenneth Fraser shows up at her door. He comes bearing gifts and well wishes but still won’t offer to help her take back her rightful home. But fate indeed had a plan for Kenneth and Catriona and has brought these two soul mates together. Together, they will be able to conquer anything, especially getting her home back.
I loved this story. I was instantly transported to 16th century Scotland with rich descriptions and dialogue worthy of the Highlands. Despite the length of the story, the characters were well developed and there was plenty of emotion and even a few laughs. Kenneth is a loyal man with a huge heart and a soft side that had me swooning. Catriona is a strong and resilient woman caring for the ones she loves and puts her own needs second. Together they prove to be a perfect match. The Snow Rose was a fantastic start to this collection!
The Black Beast of Belleterre by Mary Jo Putney
Lord Falconer has the gifts of wealth and intelligence. He owns gorgeous properties and has traveled and visited many beautiful places. What he didn’t have the gift of were handsome looks. He was burned as a child and has kept himself hidden behind the hood of a cloak for too many years to count. It was easier to be thought a phantom than be known as a horrid looking monster. Resigned to the notion he would never take a wife, he was surprised when he had no other wish than to do just that after seeing the beautiful daughter of one of his debtors. As luck would have it, his debtor needed to marry his daughter, Ariel, off to a wealthy man so he could pay of his debts. Was it fate that Falconer happened to be wealthy and a creditor owed a substantial debt by this man? After hearing the name of the weasel she was going to be married off to, he stepped in and offered his hand. She was offered anything her heart desired and he promised it would remain a marriage in name alone. Never would such a beautiful woman love someone as hideous as he……or was it possible after all? They do say love is blind….
This was my absolute favorite story in the collection. A take on Beauty and the Beast, it was a beautiful story. Falconer broke my heart. He was warm and compassionate but never though himself worthy of love and affection. He had lived a life almost entirely alone and was so grateful to have this beautiful woman in his home. He was kind to his new bride and gave her everything she desired. The more time Ariel spent with Falconer, the more she started to fall in love with him and his reaction to it was fear and disbelief. Ultimately though, Ariel took a chance at showing him how she felt and it was simply perfect! This is a story that will stay with me for quite some time and deserves a re read very soon!
The Kissing Bough by Patricia Rice
Mourning over the recent death of her dear father, Diana Carrington certainly wasn’t in the mood to decorate her home for the holiday but she knew it had to be done. Her family needed a bit of happiness and on the chance that her brother would be returning home from war very soon, he would need that happiness as well. Of course, if her brother was set to return, it most likely means he would be coming home with his best friend, Jonathan. Jonathan, the young man she had been madly in love with before he went off to war four years earlier. She thought he had loved her too but when he didn’t send word about his departure, her heart had shattered. Clearly he hadn’t cared for her as much as she thought. She had no idea how wrong she was and luckily Jonathan would get a chance very soon to show her just how much he missed her and how much he truly did care for her.
The ending story to this anthology was a sweet finish. The Carrington family dynamic was fantastic with a mischievous set of twins that proved to be quite a handful. They had me laughing out loud a few times at their antics. Diana has a good head on her shoulders and wasn’t afraid to give Jonathan a piece of her mind more than once. I loved her spirit! Jonathan is a stand-up man not willing to let Diana go and his ability to bear his heart to her was so touching. The ending scene with Diana and Jonathan was so sweet and loving and just perfect.
Overall, this anthology was a win from start to finish and I recommend to anyone who loves love and the holiday season. Thank you, Susan, Mary Jo and Patricia, for three fabulous stories!
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Posted June 3, 2014
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