"That is what Christmas is, after all-a celebration of life during that time of year when the world slumbers. The leaves have fallen. The landscape is barren. And yet in the midst of that darkness comes this moment when life returns. Life and light and hope."
The Holly and the Ivy
As nursemaid to the eight-year-old Duke of Kielder, Robbie will spend her holidays with her young charge as a guest of Lord and Lady Jonquil. While the couple makes the child's holiday magical, the handsome gardener works his own magic on Nurse Robbie's heart.
Celebrating Christmas in Scotland will only invite persecution. But that never stopped Kirstine's English grandmother. When they are almost caught, Kirstine is forced to beg for the help of the one man she cannot abide.
A Twist of Christmas
A Christmas house party offers two members of the ton an irresistible opportunity; a weekend of anonymity. But their charade comes with unexpected romantic consequences.
A Season to Love
Alice Hunt is searching for a Christmas miracle; a husband of her choosing. With the threat of an arranged marriage looming, she looks to an unlikely matchmaker for help.
thoughts & feelings
It's time for another Christmas anthology! I was so excited for this years anthology because I have read and loved book by each of the four authors. Anthologies are a great way to discover new authors but there is something comforting about knowing each of the authors as well.
Two of these stories had me dying to get my hands on a copy of The Holly and the Ivy. The first of which is Sarah M. Eden's novella The Holly and the Ivy, which tells the love story of Nurse Robbie. You guys know how much I love the Jonquil, Lancaster, Gents, and Huntresses world so getting another surprise book was so exciting! Adam, the Duke of Kielder is one of my all-time favorite characters and I loved getting to see him as a boy. The relationship between Nurse Robbie and Adam is amazingly written. I loved getting to see how Robbie has helped shape Adam and helps Lord and Lady Jonquil understand him a little better. I laughed, I cried (quite a bit), and I loved every single minute of this story.
The second novella in this anthology is Hiding Christmas by Esther Hatch. This story was so cute and I actually learned A TON. This novella is built around the Scottish law that banned celebrating Christmas for 400 years! Even after the ban was lifted "true Scotts" still frowned upon the celebrations and tattled to the church clergy in the area. I was so intrigued by the idea of having a law banning Christmas celebrations that I did quite a bit of digging. If you are looking for a fascinating rabbit hole to jump down look no further! If you're not wanting to jump down the rabbit hole don't worry, Esther weaves enough historical facts into the story that you won't be lost. I promise that no Googling is required to understand and love this story.
My favorite part of Esther's story is that our main man and leading lady are from two different countries and boy do they have quite an iffy relationship to begin with. It was interesting and entertaining to see a Scottish woman, with an English grandmother, constantly take jabs at the English "gentlemen." I loved seeing this spin and getting to see what other nationalities may have thought of the gentlemen that were so highly sought after. And let's be honest we are still swooning over them.
The third novella is A Twist of Christmas by Dana LeCheminant. I was super excited for this story because, as you know, I have been a bit obsessed with Dana's Wonder Boys series this year. If you haven't read it you need to! It's amazing, but let's get back to her newest Christmas novella. A Twist of Christmas is a fantastic story centered around the idea of hidden identities. I loved that there was a double romance packed into this story, even though we don't see much of one of them. It was still fun to know that two background characters were falling in love as well. I would LOVE to see this same story from their viewpoints...maybe next Christmas? One of my favorite parts of this story was Beth, our leading lady. I absolutely loved that she was a spitfire, a force to be reckoned with, and was not ashamed of it. She is a "diamond of the first water" and has all of the grace that she should, but she also has a very confident and dominant personality and it was so much fun to get to see that.
The last novel of this anthology is Anneka R. Walker's A Season to Love. This is the other novel that I was dying to read. I have absolutely loved Alice since reading her sister's stories (listed in the book information section) and was so excited to read her love story. Alice's story was everything I hoped for and more. I love that Alice stayed true to her energetic, sometimes stubborn, and slightly silly self. I love that she wasn't magically turned into a stuffy and proper young lady. She finds love in her own way and more importantly finds someone who loves her for who she is.
I loved every single one of these novellas and would highly recommend this anthology any time of the year.
Steam Level: clean, kissing
Content & Trigger Warnings: brief war conversations, death of an immediate family member
Title: The Holly & the Ivy
Series: this is part of the Jonquil/Lancaster/Gents series. Chronologically, it occurs between Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley.
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Title: Hiding Christmas
Author: Esther Hatch
Title: A Twist of Christmas
Author: Dana LeCheminant
Title: A Season to Love
Series: Alice is the youngest of three sisters. You find find Ivy and Julia's stories in previous Christmas anthologies: A Hopeful Christmas (Ivy) and Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (Julia).
Author: Anneka R. Walker
Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/login?query=the%2520holly%2520
Seagull Book: https://www.seagullbook.com/the-holly-and-the-ivy.html