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Experience a Dickens of a Christmas
Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love?
One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase
1855 Devonshire, England
Wounded soldier Tristram Nowell returns home to indulge his mother’s wish for a family Christmas—and encounters Marianna Granville. Can he forgive the former heiress who jilted him years before?
Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze
1875 County Durham, England
This Yuletide, Bennet Hett, Lord Harwood, offers Lady Celeste Sidwell matrimony and the Star of Wonder diamond necklace, as their fathers arranged. When the diamond disappears, will they find a greater treasure?
The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach
1900 near Washington, DC
A glass ornament. Love letters tied in red Christmas ribbon. Lily Morningstar and British antiquities expert Andrew Stapleton are drawn into a family secret that binds their hearts together.
Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher
1857 Elmira, New York
SarahAnn Winnifred overcomes orphanhood apprenticing with pioneering doctors. Rufus Sedgwick, relocating his English estate, seeks help for his ailing Mum. Christmas reveals the secret wish of both hearts—for love.
A Christmas Vow by Gabrielle Meyer
1899 Cambrigeshire, England
Lady Ashleigh Arrington is hosting a houseful of guests for Christmas when railroad executive Christopher Campbell unexpectedly arrives from America with a mysterious agreement signed by their fathers before their birth.
The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Detroit, Michigan
When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew for help.
Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley
1837 Framlingham, England
How can widow Ophelia Hanover give her son a perfect Christmas when his guardian, the Earl of Litton, arrives early to take permanent custody of the boy?
Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad
1880 Blackpool, England
Widowed harpist Beatrix Kent believes love can only come once in a lifetime, but this Christmas, carpenter Hugh Sherman hopes to pull on the musician’s heartstrings and prove her wrong.
The Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch
1887 London, England
Melisande Verity might be in over her head trying to create the perfect Christmas window display, but if she succeeds, will she finally attract the attention of her boss, Gray Garamond?
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.80(d)|
About the Author
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her online at www.susannedietze.com and subscribe to her newsletters at http://eepurl.com/bieza5.
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. Gabrielle can be found at www.gabriellemeyer.com where she writes about her passion for history, Minnesota, and her faith.
ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
Lorna Seilstad brings history back to life using a generous dash of humor. She is a Carol Award finalist and the author of the Lake Manawa Summers series and the Gregory Sisters series. When she isn’t eating chocolate, she’s teaches women’s Bible classes and is a 4-H leader in her home state of Iowa. She and her husband have three children. Learn more about Lorna at www.lornaseilstad.com.
Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves books and history, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, an avid museum patron, and wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul mate. Erica loves to hear from readers. You can sign up for her quarterly newsletter at www.ericavetsch.com
And you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her on her author Facebook page.
Read an Excerpt
Bristol and Exeter Railway, Devonshire, England Monday, December 17, 1855
You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.
Marianna Granville snapped shut her worn copy of Pride and Prejudice. It was all well and good for Elizabeth Bennet to espouse such twaddle in the midst of a marriage proposal from literature's most eligible gentleman. In real life, one's earlier behavior had a way of catching up with one eventually — whether thinking of it brought pleasure or not — and there would be no understanding Mr. Darcy waiting for Marianna when she came face-to-face with her past.
She stared out the window at the landscape she'd left behind five years ago when she'd fled with only a single gown on her back and a shattered heart in her breast. At least that organ should be safe from injury this time. No doubt her erstwhile suitor would spurn her, should he even deign to notice her at all.
"We'll arrive at St. David's Station soon."
Marianna turned toward her seatmate to find Miss Dorothea Nowell's dark gaze upon her. "I thought you were asleep."
"Too much excitement." The train whistle blasted through their first-class compartment, and the wheels screeched in protest as the brakes forced them to slow. "And too much noise."
The car lurched to a stop beside a sign that read Hele. Marianna set aside her novel and retrieved her fan. She flicked it open, but — though she waved it vigorously — her efforts were in vain. "I'd forgotten how awful a paper mill smells."
"To think, when you first arrived in Yorkshire, you pined so intensely for Devon."
"Those early days were ... difficult." Passengers bedecked with parcels exited onto the platform. Marianna watched them for several moments, thinking of her frightened, eighteen-year-old self traveling alone, so far from home.
"I can never adequately thank you for providing me —"
"Nonsense. I did everything for my own selfish reasons. I recognize a good investment when I see one." The sunlight streaming through the glass turned Miss Nowell's hair a frosty silver. "Are you terribly uncomfortable?"
"About returning? Some." Much. Accentuated by her impending loss, Marianna's emotions vacillated between tense and terrified, and no notions of Yuletide music, merriment, or magic could diminish her apprehension. And yet, as the once-familiar fields flew by, Marianna admitted — if only to herself — a thrill of pleasure to see her childhood homeland once more.
The earsplitting whistle blared again, and the locomotive began a slow chug-chug.
"Next stop, Exeter!" the conductor shouted in a volume only slightly below that of the whistle. "The end of the line."
End of the line. How apt.
"Miss Nowell ..." Marianna stopped to stifle the tremor that tinged her words. "Have you considered my request to provide me with a letter of reference?"
Her employer's lined face shuttered at the reminder of her approaching mortality. "In due time."
But time was an entity Miss Nowell no longer possessed.
* * *
Tristram Nowell gathered his silver-handled walking stick and pushed himself to his feet. Pain shot through his left leg like a blast from a cannon. The lengthy ride from London to Exeter had caused the damaged muscle to stiffen. He gritted his teeth and tried to ignore its protests with the same disregard his mother had displayed when she'd discounted Tristram's wishes and demanded his attendance at this year's Christmas party.
He paused for several moments to let his leg acclimate, then exited the compartment coach and scanned St. David's Station platform for the familiar livery. Ladies in wide skirts and men in tall hats hurried to their destinations below a bit of wilted greenery some intrepid soul had hung in a failed attempt to infuse the train shed with Christmas cheer.
He turned toward the tentative voice. "John?"
A broad smile split the visage of a man with thinning hair of gunmetal gray. "It is you, Cap — pardon me, Lord Lyddlebury now."
Unfortunately so. "A frightening thought, no?"
"It's wonderful to have you back at last." Despite John's warm words, he stifled further expressions of pleasure. Tristram's new station had that effect on old friends.
Tristram grabbed the man's hand and pumped it anyway. Perhaps he'd been wrong, staying away so long, waiting until his brother's death forced him to confront his past. "It's good to be back."
"Have you seen Miss Nowell and her companion? They were to travel on the same train."
"Aunt Dorothea?" His mother was pulling out all the stops if she'd convinced her reclusive sister-in-law to come for the holidays. Perhaps the Nowells needed a traditional Christmas with all the trimmings after so much tragedy. "No, I'm afraid I haven't encountered her."
John instructed a porter to transfer Tristram's luggage to the carriage then set off to find Aunt Dorothea. Trying to relieve the lingering stiffness in his leg, Tristram trudged to the end of the platform where a few local children sang "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen." Most of the passengers bustled past, paying them no heed. But Tristram lingered, his mind skipping back through the years to happier times when the Nowells invited one and all — rich or poor, young and old — to celebrate the holiday at Hollyford Hall. When the song finished, he dropped several shillings into the tin cup.
"Thank ye, gov'nor!" The largest of the children led his group in an enthusiastic, if not precisely melodic, chorus of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
"There you are, you rapscallion." Aunt Dorothea's semi-caustic greeting easily carried over the carolers' refrain.
"And a Merry Christmas to you too, Aunt."
Though a full foot shorter than Tristram, she seized him by the chin, tilted his head, and studied his face as if looking for traces of boyhood dirt. "I see you finally removed that caterpillar from your upper lip. You look better without it."
Her candor extracted a smile from him. Aunt Dorothea had never adjusted to the new fashions that dictated facial hair on men. "And you look as beautiful as I remember."
Her laughter cackled through the frosty air. "You have a faulty memory."
"I trust you had a pleasant journey from Yorkshire?"
"I survived, which makes it a successful one. And that's all I require these days." She leant heavily on her cane, more fragile than Tristram remembered. A woman — the companion, he presumed — hovered protectively nearby. Swathed in an appropriately servile dark cloak, her bonneted head cast down, she revealed nothing of her face or features.
Tristram positioned his walking stick in his left hand and offered Aunt Dorothea his right elbow. "May I see you to the carriage?"
"Isn't that the lame leading the lame?" She laughed at her joke, snapped peremptorily at the silent wraith in her shadow, and then rested a frail hand on his sleeve.
The three of them followed John to the awaiting carriage with its Nowell insignia on the side. His insignia now. Tristram had ridden in this very vehicle a hundred times or more, but never before as lord.
He assisted the elderly woman onto the plush upholstery. "Aunt Dorothea, you and your companion must take the forward facing seat. I'll sit opposite."
"Oh no," countered the woman behind him. "You should sit with your aunt."
Tristram froze, the blood draining from his face as fast as if another shell had smashed into his leg. That voice. The one that laughed in his memories, whispered in his dreams, soothed in his delirium. He forced his expression to careful blankness as he about-faced and peered under her bonnet's brim. Familiar blue eyes gazed back from a countenance that was thinner. Older. Sadder?
But certainly not wiser. Not if she'd come here, to Devon, on his first Christmas back in five years. He studied her unfashionable attire with renewed interest. Beneath his burgeoning anger, a frisson of satisfaction danced through his mind at this reversal in their fortunes.
"Do you know Miss Granville, my companion?" Aunt Dorothea's words penetrated the fog in his mind, the anger in his heart.
Tristram unclenched his teeth enough to answer. "We've met." Danced. Laughed. Loved? No, only he had been so foolish as to open his heart. Mechanically, he extended his hand to assist Marianna Granville into the carriage.
Her lips, once so vibrant and expressive of her joy, flattened into a thin, pale line above the taut line of her jaw. She hesitated before placing her palm in his, accepting his help with all the reluctance he himself felt.
Grimly, Tristram glanced at the road that led to Hollyford Hall and wondered if a man in his condition could walk the ten miles distance rather than endure a confined space with the woman who five years earlier had rejected his marriage proposal.CHAPTER 2
Awkward didn't begin to describe Marianna's current situation. Obviously, her employer had failed to inform the family as to the identity of her companion — a companion the Nowells all knew, and no doubt detested.
Miss Nowell amused her nephew with a lively recollection of past family gatherings, liberally sprinkled with her usual acerbic wit, leaving Marianna to her own roiling thoughts. Beyond the carriage window, sunlight glimmered on the surface of the Exe River as the water gently meandered toward the channel. Not for the first time, she wished for a boat to whisk her away to parts unknown.
Lacking such a craft, she settled for an escape into the pages of her book. The words neither held her attention nor calmed her anxiety, so she hid behind the cover and took the opportunity to pray for peace, reconciliation, and understanding.
A tap against her foot yanked her attention back to the man across from her. Tristram hastily jerked back his leg, and their gazes met for long, uncomfortable moments.
"I beg your pardon." The throaty accent of the West Country gilded his deep tones. Five years away had accustomed Marianna to the singsongy quality of Yorkshire speech, but this voice, once so familiar, brought memories sweet and bitter flooding through her mind.
"That's quite all right." She pushed the words from her dry mouth. And then, remembering his recently acquired title, she added, "My lord."
He tipped his head in acknowledgment and wind-tousled hair fell across his forehead.
Her breath caught at that endearingly familiar idiosyncrasy. Once upon a time, in the throes of first love, she'd been bold enough to brush those unruly locks back into place. The remembrance of their silky softness brought a rush of heat to her face, and she retreated to the sanctuary of her book. Still, from time to time, she stole a glance over its edge at the man who now possessed a countenance every bit as forbidding and disapproving as a beginning-of-the-book Mr. Darcy.
Tension radiated along the shoulders that liberally filled out Tristram's black civilian's coat. The snowy collar of his shirt provided a dramatic contrast to the sable hair that skimmed the linen. The conversation had lapsed into companionable silence, and his lids drifted down to mask the thoughts behind those too-keen eyes. Once in a while he would absently rub his left leg, though he was careful not to stretch it out and thereby bump her foot again.
Last winter, Marianna had read the letters that arrived from Hollyford Hall detailing Tristram's injuries at the Battle of Balaclava to her employer. She had prayed for his healing and offered thanksgiving for his recovery. And yet, his survival had come at a price. The extent of his present pain surprised her, as did the lines at the corners of his dark eyes and the frown that framed his formerly cheerful mouth.
"War is a horrible business." So, Miss Nowell had also noticed his unconscious movements. The elderly lady clasped her hands together, fingers tightly entwined, and Marianna knew she was thinking of another dashing young officer, one who had fallen on the fields of Waterloo so many decades past.
Tristram stilled, the frustration cutting deeper into his cheeks. How difficult it must be, for a man once so strong and self-reliant, to admit weakness. Nevertheless, his eyes gentled as he covered his aunt's frail hands with one of his own. "Yes. It is."
His compassion transported Marianna back to a cold February afternoon when their ride had taken them to a hilltop cemetery. He'd offered not only the same consideration, but even a spray of greenhouse violets for her mother's stone.
And in that moment, Marianna's efforts to move past the ravaged dreams of her youth wilted away like so many flowers in winter.
* * *
The carriage turned down the long drive to Hollyford Hall. A plethora of emotions assailed Tristram as the house of Devonshire limestone rose in the distance. Sadness. Joy. Guilt.
The oldest part of the building dated back centuries to a distant Nowell ancestor who'd chosen the winning side in a royal feud and been rewarded with this piece of ground. Later generations had expanded the holdings during times of prosperity.
Along the walkway, the servants lined up in rank order from the butler to the lowest scullery maid, in a show of respect for the new lord's arrival. More so than ever, the enormity of his responsibilities assailed him.
John drew the horses to a halt, and Tristram leapt from the carriage. The damaged muscle in his thigh protested and gave way. He dropped the walking stick and grabbed the side of the coach to keep from diving face-first into a puddle.
A gasp hissed from inside the coach. Marianna's face popped into the doorway, concern flooding the blue of her gaze. "Are you injured?"
Wonderful. As if losing his balance and stumbling in front of the entire staff wasn't embarrassing enough, he did it in her presence. He forced nonchalance into his words. "I'll be fine."
Fortunately, she accepted his words without dissenting and retreated to help his aunt. Tristram planted the walking stick firmly in the ground for support and, ignoring the pain still blazing though his leg, assisted both ladies from the vehicle. As he escorted Aunt Dorothea to the wreath-bedecked door, the maids on either side dipped into curtsies. He acknowledged the housekeeper — new since he'd last been at Hollyford Hall — and addressed the old butler by name. That worthy man let an uncharacteristic smile escape his normally imperturbable demeanor.
At the top of the steps, Tristram greeted his waiting mother with a kiss on the cheek. "As you requested, Mother, I'm home."
"None too soon. I'm getting too old to travel to London when I wish to see you."
Guilt pricked his conscience for using his injury to avoid coming here in the months since his return to England. "You'll never be old to me."
"I'm almost a grandmother twice over — just not by you."
"Don't scare him away when he's only arrived, Mama." Tristram's younger sister, Lucinda, put an arm around him and hauled him into the house while Mother greeted Aunt Dorothea and saw to her needs.
Tristram stepped inside the entrance hall. And stopped. The fragrance of fresh-cut evergreens assaulted his senses with memories of long-ago holidays. Below a chandelier festooned with red ribbons, the dark oak banister curved around to greet him. Swags of greenery draped its length, tied in place with big red bows — a good thing, perhaps, since it lessened the temptation to recapture lost childhood with a slide down it once more. The familiar portraits of his grandparents hung in their accustomed positions below the same decorative plaster frieze. But there had been changes too. White paper with gold leaf now covered the walls' blue paint, and a red Persian rug cushioned his feet. Longing swelled in his throat, restricting the airflow to his lungs.
Aware of Lucinda's quizzical gaze on him, he shook off the surge of sentimentality. He shrugged out of his coat and passed it to the butler before returning his focus to his sister. "I'm surprised to see you here. You looked ghastly when I saw you two months ago in London."
"You don't have to be quite so truthful. The nausea has mostly passed, and I have more energy than before. Helen tells me to enjoy this respite because once the baby comes, I'll be tired for the next several years." Lucinda threaded her arm through his and led him away from the bustle of relatives and servants, down a corridor to the study.
"Well, you look radiant now." Tristram waited for her to take a seat in a fireside chair before appropriating the one on the other side of the hearth. "Thank you for saving me from all the fuss."
"Mama is probably annoyed I sprinted you away, but I suspected this would be rather overwhelming for you all at once."
"Not only for me. I didn't see Helen in that formidable formation. My arrival must revive painful memories."
"She took Victoria to visit her parents for a few days."
An image of his three-year-old niece's bright eyes and shining curls filled Tristram's mind. "I hope Helen doesn't feel I've come to displace her. I told her that she and Victoria have a home here for as long as she wants. Forever, if she so wishes."
"She didn't want to intrude upon your homecoming. She'll be back before the party. What with the news of your injury and Benedick's passing, last Christmas was a somber affair. We'd like to make these holidays special for Victoria. And Mama."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection"
Copyright © 2018 C.J. Chase.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
One Golden Ring,
Star of Wonder,
The Holly and the Ivy,
Love Brick by Brick,
A Christmas Promise,
The Sugarplum Ladies,
Paper Snowflake Christmas,
A Perfect Christmas,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nine enjoyable stories from some gifted authors! Several of these authors I have never read before and this book was a great way to check them out. I enjoyed some stories more than others and would have liked them to be longer but this is a great book to read a single story when you are looking for a short, sweet story. Each novella takes place in a different place such as, England, Washington DC, and Windsor/Detroit but all of them are in the Victorian Era (1837 to 1900). Each has an obstacle to overcome to have the perfect Christmas. Can they do it? I received this book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own.
A wonderful collection of nine new stories set during the Christmas season! Many of these take place in England, as well as America and Canada, celebrating with traditions started in Queen Victoria's era. The descriptions were lovely, with decorations like mistletoe, kissing balls, garlands, candles, trees, and the special holiday foods, filling the air with spices. It was easy to imagine the scenes, and some that were set at large estates reminded me of favorite BBC shows with the upstairs, downstairs feel. Even though the tales took place in the 1830's to the early 1900's, the characters had some of the same struggles we do today, making these inspirational and relevant reads. Some of the themes that stood out to me were extending and receiving grace, forgiveness, finding security in Christ, learning to trust God in uncertain times, loving others less fortunate, receiving love when we feel unworthy, and the importance of prayer. Many had Scripture at the beginning and in the tale too. The stories were all good, but a few were outstanding. I loved Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad, and A Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch; Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze, and A Christmas Promise by Gabrielle Meyer were also very good. Carrie Fancett Pagels' was interesting with many characters from her other books popping in and out. The bit of mystery in a few added a nice touch too. Recommend to readers who enjoy Christian historical romances, especially set in the holiday season. 4.5 stars (An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)
The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection By various authors I think that this was a sweet collection of Christmas romances. As usual with a collection of multiple stories you will find some you liked more than others however this collection definitely held more that I enjoyed than not.
from the publisher... Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love? ...my thoughts... This collection of novellas just in time for the Christmas reading list is perfect for the reader who loves to read but feels they don't have time for a complete book. Each story is just enough to tempt the senses yet complete in the telling. Many dream of the simpler times in Queen Victoria's day yet enjoy the trappings of modern times with central heat and a handy grocer. Yet these stories beckon and like Dickens, will hook you in once you begin. I recommend you brew a pot of tea for your afternoon leisure or pour a glass of sherry to sip by the fire of an evening. Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley 1837 Framlingham, England An uncle comes to claim his new ward at Christmas but has to face Child's mother married his late brother years before, leaving him with a broken heart.... One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase 1855 Devonshire, England How can a man face the woman who jilted him with no explanation five year ago? Can she face him with her altered status without showing her true feelings? Love isn't always perfect yet it can remain true even under the most tying times. Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher 1857Elmira, New York A wealthy man is rebuilding his English estate in America where his mother is regaining her health in a special clinic. He is falling for a beautiful young woman pursuing a medical degree but whether he will still want to see her when he discovers she is an orphan is not so certain. The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels An engagement announced in the paper is as good as a formal arrangement. Set in Detroit and Ontario, this story opens when a young woman nearing the end of her prime is being tricked into an engagement to a man who is not what he appears to be. Reading about her "engagement" in the newspaper, she seeks counsel from her attorney to dissolve this scandal only to meet a handsome barrister from Ontario. In a series of comical events, they are drawn together for a purpose neither had planned for but with aplomb resolve to a mutual plan...but the results are nothing they could have planned. A fun story that will tickle your humor. Enjoy the possibilities a do-gooder woman can have with the help of her little Sugarplum ladies to help save the day! Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze 1875 County Durham, EnglandArranged marriages, diamond necklaces and conditions that this has to happen on this date at this time is enough for any couple to digest. While both want to please their parents, they would rather marry for love. When plans fall apart, can they truly find something better than their parents had? A Christmas Promise by Gabrielle Meyer 1899 Cambridgeshire,England. When Ashleigh Pendleton and Christopher Campbell met the first time, they were young. They also had a tremendous dislike for each other. Imagine their shock when they find out that their late mothers signed a contract for the pair to marry. The mothers had a long-lasting friendship and thought this marriage would be a blessing for all. They have until Christmas Eve to become engaged to someone else or the engagement stands! I enjoyed this match-up! The long guest list for the house party, complete with a handsome s
The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Women Dream of Perfect Christmases during the Victorian Era I love reading Christmas stories, especially those set in 1800’s Victorian era as this one is. Written by 9 well-known gifted authors, giving the reader a variety of not only enjoyable stories but their own unique writing styles. Each story takes us on a journey through various locations in England, Canada and America. On our “travels” we see how each characters’ desire is to have the perfect Christmas despite the circumstances they find themselves in. They may face turmoils, love letters from the past that seems to be surrounded by mystery and surprising clues to follow, missing jewels, an unexpected pre-arranged marriage, second chances at love, water-cure for patients, faith and so much more. I so enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the countrysides, clothing, and customs of the era depicted in each story and the inspirational elements. I especially enjoy reading the author’s historical note at the end of her story. A delightful collection to read anytime of the year. 1. One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase 1855 Devonshire, England. 2. Star of Wonder by Susanne Diet 1875 County Durham, England. 3. The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach 1900 near Washington DC. 4. Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher 1857 Elmira, New York. 5. A Christmas Promise by Gabrielle Meyer 1899 Cambridgeshire, England. 6. The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels 1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan. 7. Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley 1837 Framlingham, England. 8. Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad 1880 Blackpool, England. 9. A Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch 1880 London, England. ~I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher (no monetary gain were exchanged), this is my honest review~
The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Women Dream of Perfect Christmases during the Victorian Era Novella collections are a lot of fun because you get to read more than one author at a time. Most of the time these collections have an author that I’m not familiar with, which allows me to enjoy a sample of another author’s work and add to my preferred author list. Some of the authors are award winning, so you can enjoy 9 different stories about Christmas brides. One is about a widow whose son must live with his new permanent guardian who comes to take him before Christmas. She was hoping fort that perfect last Christmas together with her young son. A former heiress who jilted a soldier in the past returns. He is wounded and is struggling with forgiveness. An orphaned young lady overcomes the norm and apprentices with groundbreaking physicians. The handsome son of a patient and a new resident gains her attraction. A ragtag bunch forms a catering crew when a barrister unexpectedly has his entire family descend upon him for Christmas. Who could forget the Star of Wonder diamond and how it disappears when a proposal is near at hand on Christmas Eve? The perfect department store Christmas window display pits a poor hardworking young woman and the department store heir as they fight attraction to one another. A widowed harpist is controlled by her former in laws because if she remarried everything in her deceased husband’s home owned would be theirs, especially her deceased mother’s beloved harp. A handsome widowed architect with a precious little girl is keeping an eye on the matter and on the lovely young widow. A glass ornament and mysterious love letters lead to a family secret which opens the door to love. How would you like a missive delivered at Christmastime that contains a peculiar agreement that was written before you were born? Each Victorian era novella is very different and they are completely stand-alone.. I enjoyed each one, as the topic is a Christmas bride, but each had very different scenario which made for a lot of variety and pleasant reading. The stories do have a Dickens feel which I found intriguing as well as refreshing in this day and age. I would definitely recommend this novella collection. I received an advanced E-copy from Barbour Publishers on NetGalley. Please note that I am not required to give a positive review nor am I swayed by a complimentary e-copy of the book.
Perfect Gift! Christmas came early for me when I opened a brightly colored package to find this wonderful book with multiple author autographs! I LOVE it! *No review was required of me* I met a couple new to me authors on this journey back to a different time. Nothing is perfect and there are many twists, mysteries, and surprises along the way but each of the 9 novellas has a happy ending. I highly recommend this book for all historical Christian fiction fans especially those that love unique Christmas love stories.
Love reading these novella collections Which I seem to be happily collecting btw! There are 9 stories set in the 1800 time frame and nice Christmas stories. But great even for warm summer days! There were several new authors for me. And I enjoyed their style, their stories making for a wonderful reading collection. It would be nice to see some of these stories developed into a full length book. Great stories! These were happy stories that leave you happy that you were able to read them. Because of the time period involved, I am sure much research time was involved in the writings so that they would be true to the time. And they were. I received an ebook copy from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.
This era is a favorite read for me and these ladies have done a wonderful job of making Christmas dreams come true! Each story different but oh such interesting goings on.. If you like the Victorian Era.. You should enjoy this collection, I certainly did!
Wonderful stories set in the 1800's. Each author shares a story of Christmas wishes, turmoil, the desire of the characters to have the perfect Christmas and more. From missing jewels to love letters to a possibly pre-arranged marriage, I enjoyed reading each story and learning about the characters. This is a great compilation to read at any time of the year. I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and this is my personal honest opinion. No review was required.
Bring on the holidays! The worst part about reading Christmas stories in September is that once you've read them, you are so ready for Christmas! This collection is written by some wonderful authors who have put their hearts onto the pages of this book. I always mention how much I love these collections, because it introduces me to new-to-me authors without having to read entire novels. Nine stories by Nine authors. I highly recommend this book to those who love heartwarming stories which take place at Christmastime. Just seeing the cover, I wanted to light a fire and curl up in a cozy chair with a warm fuzzy blanket. But, alas, I live in California. Great job ladies!!!!
A lovely collection of Christmas themed romances that transport you back in time to the day to day lives of the Victorian Christmas Seasons. Each story held my interest, made me smile, and brought to life a little piece of that era for me. A wonderful holiday read or for any time you want to escape the 21st century!
I always enjoy these Barbour Collections, but sometimes they are exceptional and this is one of them. The cover and pages are beautiful and draw you right in. It consists of nine stories by nine stellar authors. I loved that during a busy time I could sit and read one story at a time, as they are each independent. Your imagination runs wild while reading as each story captures time and place and you can picture the clothing and Victorian Era at Christmas. See those candles burning on the Christmas tree. Carrie Fancett Pagels writes an unforgettable story in The Sugarplum Ladies. Eugenie Mott is kindhearted and loves to help others. She is helping Civil War widows find a way to support themselves, thus the birth of The Sugarplum Ladies. It will make you chuckle, tear up, and fall in love with identifiable characters and their circumstances. Makes you want to put those decorations up. Erica Vetsch pens A Perfect Christmas and you will fall in love with the sights and sounds of a busy department store in 1877 and the window displays being created. Takes you back in time and makes you nostalgic for the way things used to be. Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley had me bawling my eyes out. Such a touching story of hope in the darkest of days. Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad is a story of giving to those less fortunate when your circumstances are trying. When we bless others we are blessed. Each author brings something different to the table and I enjoyed each and every one of them. Grab a cup of tea and curl up for an enjoyable read. I plan to read this again closer to the holidays and will display this on my bookshelf for the Christmas season. I received a complimentary copy from the author. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS BRIDES A good collection of 9 stories to reflect of an era in the mid 1800’s. The glamor is what we usual think of at this time. In these, we see a wounded soldier, honoring his mother for a family Christmas. A widow mother afraid her son maybe taken by his guardian. The wishes in all is to make it a special Christmas. Delightful to read one or all, not just at Christmas. Given ARC Net Galley and Barbour Publishers.
The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection Stories by C J Chase, Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen Maher, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Vanessa Riley, Lorna Seilstad and Erica Vetsch I loved each and every one of these stories. I’d be hard pressed to find a favorite among them. All are well told and keep one’s attention. A wonderful read for the season and all heartwarming to not only put you in the mood for Christmas, but leave you feeling content and happy. A complimentary copy was provided by Barbour Publishing through Net Galley with no review required. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This collection has nine novellas set in Victorian times, when caring, understanding and love were just as important as they are today. The Golden Ring - C. J. Chase Friends that might have been lovers, had the war not intervened, meet again. Choices that should not have been made have led to financial ruin and the loss of something very precious. Can a misunderstanding explained lead to the return of a long lost love? Star of Wonder - Susanne Dietze Can an arranged marriage lead to love? Perhaps being snowbound, with a most precious item disappearing, can teach us that God holds the universe in His hand. We need only to trust! The Holly and the Ivy - Rita Gerlach As an aspiring writer, Lily is enthralled by a box of old letters written during the civil war. Perhaps it is possible that a Doctor of History can help her in her quest to find out more about the writer and the recipient. Could it be that old, fragile love letters might bring new love? Love Brick by Brick - Kathleen L. Maher Dr. Gleason's water cure was seen as something quite wonderful in 1857, bringing patients to Elmira, NY from far away places. A young lady, an orphan, is learning to become a doctor studying with the eminent Drs. Gleason. Was it possible, that even those patients from a much higher social status, had family difficulties and a checkered past? A Christmas Promise - Gabrielle Meyer Anglesey Abbey was getting ready for Christmas with family and guests in attendance, including several railroad magnates from America. Was it even possible, that a contract made years earlier, by mothers no longer alive, would change the lives of one in England and one in Minnesota? The Sugarplum Ladies - Carrie Fancett Pagels Wonderful smells come from the rooms where Eugenie is busy helping Civil War widows learn to cook, bake and take care of their families. Across the river from Detroit, in Windsor, a young lawyer finds himself in sudden need of Christmas help. Enter the Sugarplum Ladies and their teacher to save the holiday festivites and make them extra special. Paper Snowflakes -Vanessa Riley A young widow looking forward to creating a special Christmas for her young son, finds herself snowed in with the man charged to 'see to the education' of this son. Is it possible that what started as a dare could end as love? Father Christmas - Lorna Seilstad Fern is an accomplished harpist who has played in venues with very prestigious people in attendance. Now a widow, she teaches piano to many young musicians. Through experience she learns that grace means unmerited favor, can she now extend that grace to others, even those who have hurt her? A Perfect Christmas - Erica Vetsch A department store that has stood the test of time, an employee at a confection counter, a stroke and a contest for the best window display. How can these possibly teach a young businessman, who has profits on the brain, the true meaning of Christmas? I received an advance copy from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley and all the above opinions are my own. This collection was a true joy to read and I am happy to review it.
The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection Find a cozy place to dig in, step back in time to the 1800’s, and set your heart towards these nine beautiful Christmas stories! Nine well-known and talented authors will sweep you away to the Victorian Era. I do have to say I love the cover the book! One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase Marianna and Tristam have a history that led these two split five years ago. Now they face each other, her as a companion and him as the new Lord of the manor. How will this situation turn out? Will love find its way again? Star of Wonder by Suzanne Dietze A possible romance that will keep you guessing. A mystery. A Star of Wonder will leave you wondering what will happen next. A page turner, a "I cannot put it down “novella. Celeste and Burnette are on the hunt for a stolen jewel. They also are not keen on the arranged marriage their fathers have made for them. Both of them plan on not going through with it...but things don't work out the way you want them to. The Holly and the Tree by Rita Gerlach What can some old Civil War love letters do to unite a doctor and aspiring artist? When a third person enters the mix to solve the letters mysteries. Hmmm this was quite an interesting story. Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher A beautifully written Christmas story of love and forgiveness. Sarah Ann is a Resident Doctor at a private hospital and helps the orphans. She is assigned to Widow Sedgewick, and her son. Love and misunderstandings conflict between them. Will there be a happy ending? A Christmas Promise by Gabrielle Meyer Two mothers make a promise. Two children unaware. Until decades later. This was a marvelous Christmas story! I loved reading Chris and Ashleigh story. How two children despised each found love years later. Sigh. The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels Sugarplum Ladies will surprise you by the sweetness of the story. The story is based on Percy and Eugenie. I love how their relationship develops and blossoms. What Eugenie does for war widows is awesome. It is giving them a chance to overcome their situations. Which reminds me of the song "Overcomer." Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley A dare under a Jamaican moon. He has come take custody of her son. A Christmas miracle. In seven years since Ophelia left Jamaica, she was married, had a son, and now a widow. On orders from her deceased husband Geoffrey has come to claim custodial rights....at Christmastime. I love Christmas miracles and the story is perfect! Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstaid Love finds a way. Forgiveness. A delightful Christmas tale. I loved Clara! A Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch Melisande has a vow to make for her sister. She has always loved Grey in secret. When she gets the coveted job to design the windows at Garammonds, her and Gray work together. Grey's grandfather suffers a stroke, leaving him to run the store. Can he handle it? Will implement his plans? Grey understands the true meaning of Christmas through Melisande's eyes. And a love between them quickly develops - you can hear bells in the future. Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.