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The Malory clan always spent hie Christmas holidays at Haverston, the ancestral estate in the country where the oldest among them had been born and raised. Jason Malory, Third Marquis of Haverston and the oldest of four brothers, was the only family member who was still a permanent resident. The head of the family since he was only sixteen, Jason had raised his brothers-two of whom had been utterly scandalous in their pursuits-and a young sister.
At present the various Malorys and offspring were quite numerous and difficult to place, sometimes even for Jason himself So it was a very large brood that gathered at Haverston these days for the Christmas season.
Jason's only son and heir, Derek, was the first to arrive, more than a week before Christmas. With him came his wife, Kelsey, and Jason's first two blond and green-eyed grandchildren.
Anthony, his youngest brother, was the next to arrive only a few days after Derek. Tony, as most of the family called him, admitted to Jason that he'd deserted London early after hearing that their brother James had a bone to pick with him. Annoying James was one thing, and something Anthony often strived to do, but when James was out for blood, well, Tony considered that a different matter entirely.
Anthony and James were his youngest brothers, yet only a year apart in age themselves. They were both skilled pugilists, and Anthony could hold his own with the best of them, yet James was heftier, and his fists were frequently likened to solid bricks.
With Anthony came his wife, Roslynn, and their two daughters. Judith, the oldest at six, had taken after both her parents,having her mother's glorious red-gold hair and her father's cobalt blue eyes, a seriously striking combination that Anthony feared was going to make her the reigning beauty of her day-which as her father and a reformed rake he was not looking forward to.
But his younger daughter, Jaime, was going to break some hearts as well.
But even with all his guests, Jason was the first one to notice the present that had appeared in the parlor while the family was breakfasting. It was hard to miss, actually, placed prominently up on a pedestal table next to the fireplace. Wrapped in gold cloth, banded with a red velvet ribbon and bow, it was oddly shaped, nearly like the size of a thick book, yet a round protrusion on top suggested it was nothing that simple.
Poking a finger at it showed that the protrusion could move, yet not very much, as he found out when he tilted the present sideways and it didn't change position. Strange, yet stranger still was that there was no indication of whom the present was from, nor whom it was for.
"A bit early to be passing out Christmas gifts, ain't it?" Anthony remarked as he sauntered into the room to find Jason holding the present. "The Christmas tree ain't even been brought in yet."
"That was my thought as well, since I didn't put it here," Jason replied.
"No? Then who?"
"I've no idea," Jason admitted.
"Who's it for, then?" Anthony asked.
"I'd like to know that myself."
Anthony raised a brow at that point. "No card?"
Jason shook his head. "None. I just found it here on this pedestal myself," he said, and put it back.
Anthony picked up the present as well to poke at it a bit. "Hmmm, someone sure dressed it up fancy. I'll wager it will fascinate the children—at least until we find out what it is."
As it happened, it fascinated the adults as well. In the following days, since none of the family owned up to having put it there, the present created a sensation. Just about all of the adults poked, shook, or otherwise examined it, yet no one could figure out what it might be, or whom it was for,
Those having arrived so far were gathered in the parlor the night when Amy walked in holding one of her twins. "Don't ask why we're late, you wouldn't believe it," she said, then in the next breath, "First the wheel on the coach fell off. Then not a mile down the road, one of the horses lost not one, but two of his shoes. After we finally get that all taken care of and we're almost here, the bloody axle broke. I thought surely Warren was going to kill that poor coach by then. He certainly kicked it enough. If I didn't think to wager with him that we would arrive here today, I really don't think we would have. But you know I never lose a wager, so ... By the by, Uncle Jason, what's an unmarked grave doing in that lovely clearing east of here? The one close to the road that runs through your property? We ended up walking through it to get here, since it was the shorter route by that point, to just head across that clearing."
No one said a word at first, still in bemusement after that long dissertation. But then Derek said, "Remember that grave m'self, now that you mention it, cousin. Reggie and I came across it when we were younguns gadding about the estate. Always meant to ask you about it, Father, just never got around to it, then forgot about it...
Posted May 30, 2002
Posted August 1, 2002
This book was wonderful bringing surprise and intrigue. It brought out personalities of some of the Malory clan that were only touched on before. I don't suggest reading this book if you haven't read the others. You want to read them all in order to get the whole picture of this outrageous family, besides you will really enjoy each of them. Everyone I know who has read the series, loves them and has a different favorite (depending on their ideal sexy male character). Everytime a new Malory novel comes out, I have to read all the others before the new one to really get into the magic of the Malorys.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 8, 2001
Posted March 14, 2000
I am ususally the first person to suggest a Johanna Lindsey book...but I must do the opposite this time. Johanna Lindsey manages to make the Malory family(one of my favorites) boring and logged down by inconsequential details and story lines. I am sorry, but I would not recommend this book to anyone who knows how well Johanna Lindsey can write...it would only disappoint you.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2013
Posted May 12, 2002
The Present is an uplifting story full of fun and laughter. James and Anthony butt heads throughout the entire story, and other things are going on. Jmaes and Georgina are having a fight, Jason Malory, family head, cannot get his mistress and mother of his son Derek to marry him. And in the midst of this, a mysterious gift arrives that will change the life of every Malory in one way or another. The Present is shaped like a box, or is it a book? A journal? Is it about the so-called Gypsy grandmother, Anastasia Stephanoff Malory and her meeting and love for the Second Marquis of Haverston, Christopher Malory? All these questions will be answered and the greatest gift any of the Malory's could have expected is showered on them in the spirit of love and giving. All the Malory's are back, and ready for more. The men are here to butt heads, their strong and sassy wives are here to show they can handle their men! Way to go on this story, and write one for Jeremy! All the Malory's are back, like Regina and Nicholas, Anthony and Roslynn, James and Georgina, Warren and Amy, Derek and Kelsey, and all the other Malory's and the Anderson family. Read this, it will make you laugh, cry and wonder at the love shown.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2014
Posted October 18, 2013
Posted August 7, 2013
Posted June 22, 2013
Posted February 22, 2013
I loved this, because it kind of strayed away from the Malory's a little and went back in time to their ancestors and it made it alot more interesting. I have loved this entire series, they seem so real,like they're my family too =)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 27, 2013
Posted January 18, 2013
This is pretty typical Johanna Lindsey--not great literature but a fun, well-paced story. I enjoyed it as I really like Christmas romances. The blend of past and "present" was also interesting. It is part of a series but I do not recall reading any of the other books and that did not detract from this story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2013
Posted January 7, 2013
Posted December 30, 2012
Part of a series about the very large Malory family. Tells the story of the grandparents of the 4 Malory brothers. Interesting family dynamic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2012
Good book to read to pass time. I enjoyed all of the malory books. But the one i really liked best is Anthony Malory.
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Posted April 2, 2012
Posted December 10, 2011
Posted December 11, 2006