Once Upon a Regency Christmas is a lovely Christmassy book containing three novella-length, Christmas-themed, Regency romances by Louise Allen, Sophia James and Annie Burrows. I am a huge fan of both Louise Allen and Annie Burrows, and have read all their books, but Sophia James is new to me. The theme running through all three stories is that the heroes might not be quite who they seem to be.
On a Winter's Eve by Louise Allen
Lady Julia Charlcott is newly arrived in England from India. Her much older husband has died but her plans to re-enter English society is thwarted when she overhears her sister-in-law bargaining with a gentleman over what he would pay if Julia were to wed him. Furious, Julia walks out, intending to have a traditional Christmas at her late husband's home in the country. Unfortunately she heads straight into a snowstorm, where she meets Captain Giles Markham trudging through the snow with a live turkey...
Marriage Made at Christmas by Sophia James
Christine Howard's heart has been frozen since the death of her fiance but when her life is saved by a mysterious American, she can feel herself begin to thaw. Hired as her bodyguard, it is soon clear William Miller would risk everything to protect her - but what if Christine is not the target?
Cinderella's Perfect Christmas by Annie Burrows
When Alice Waverley catches a cold, she realises it is the perfect excuse to spend Christmas home alone, doing exactly as she pleases, while her horrible relatives head off to a country house party. Unfortunately they've only been gone a few hours when Captain Jack Grayling and his two young children arrive at the house seeking shelter from the snow.
I loved On a Winter's Eve and Cinderella's Perfect Christmas because they were both very traditional, Christmassy stories - just the thing to read to get into the Christmas spirit. The characters decorated the house, created presents from very little, were snowed in and built snowmen. I loved the tale of the escaped turkey from On a Winter's Eve and the wry, wicked humour of Cinderella's Christmas. Marriage Made at Christmas was not quite so festive as the other two stories, but I did enjoy the very different story of the scarred bodyguard searching for his own happy ever after.
(I received my copy of Once Upon a Regency Christmas directly from one of the authors)