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Christmas Keepsakes: A Handful Of Gold, The Three Gifts, The Season For Suitors [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Balogh , Julia Justiss , Nicola Cornick

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Book Description

Oct 2005
Two brand new stories from Regency award winning authors Julia Justiss and Nicola Cornick, and a reissue of a novella by bestselling author Mary Balogh.

In A Season For Suitors, Sebastian Fleet finally meets his match!

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful Christmas read 24 Nov 2005
By Susan Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Yummy - another Christmas Regency anthology! Well, yes, but it wasn't perfect. However, because of the Balogh and Cornick contributions, it rates five stars.

Let's start with Julia Justiss. Her contribution "The Three Gifts" had great potential. It's the story of a deathbed marriage of convenience but the groom, a badly wounded officer in the Peninsular War campaign, does not die. Instead, he survives and he and his bride must decide whether or not to seek an annulment. Viscount Hampden and Edwina Denby (a widow) seem a somewhat mismatched pair but they fall in love despite their circumstances. What let this story down, I think, was that the author failed to give her characters any real spark of attraction to the reader. I just could not care one way or the other about them. Somehow the plot seemed too contrived and unfortunately, for me at any rate, the whole thing fizzled out. I found my interest waning well before the conclusion. Sadly, I am beginning to think that this author and I are never going to hit it off together.

I haven't read anything by Nicola Cornick before so I approached "The Season for Suitors" with an open mind. I was dazzled. I fell completely in love with Sebastian, Duke of Fleet - crash, bang, whallop!! Clara Davenport met Fleet some years ago and was spurned by him as too young. He is a rake and wastrel - well on the surface he is at any rate! She seeks him out to ask for advice on how to cope with the unwanted attention she is getting from the ton's fortune hunters. He is attracted to her; indeed, he has been all along. What sets this story off was that Fleet is a tortured hero. There was an incident in his youth that has caused him great and continuing grief and, to hide from the grief and hide it from others, he behaves against his true character. I defy anyone not to love this man. He is charming, intelligent, loving and kind and despite his flaws he is, as they say, to die for.

Mary Balogh is a personal long-time favourite writer. I read "A Handful of Gold" in a previous anthology but was delighted to read it again. It is a beautifully told story of a young woman, Verity Ewing, who must earn a living and who is mistaken by Julian, Viscount Folingsby as a lightskirt. He invites her (promising to pay her enough money to ensure the well-being of her family) to spend Christmas at a friend's hunting box along with the host and his mistress. However, gradually, both realise neither are what they seem. A stranded clergyman and his family arrive and almost instantly the planned holiday in bed turns into a true family Christmas and everyone involved sees that the meaning and values of Christmas directly concern them. This is a story of much emotion and introspection and the two lovers become man and wife in a marriage guaranteed to bring them both deep and abiding happiness. This is the sort of Christmas story I am always hoping to find in the Regency Christmas anthologies.

So, hooray for Cornick - I shall have to pursue her back list. Julia Justiss has disappointed me but Mary Balogh, together with Nicola Cornick, make this anthology rate five stars.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars three fun Regency romantic novellas 28 Sep 2005
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Handful of Gold" by Mary Balogh. The handsome and wealthy heir to an earldom, Lord Julian Dare, seems to have everything; so what do you get the man you love for Christmas who seems to need nothing Verity Ewing asks herself. You give your heart to him though the risk is that he will return it broken.

"The Three Gifts" by Julia Justiss. Near death from war related injuries, Viscount Miles Hampden needs a spouse to provide him an heir; that is if he recovers enough to perform. Edwina Denby agrees to a marriage of convenience because she holds Miles in high regard. Edwina tends to her new husband's near fatal injuries even as they fall in love.

"The Season for Suitors" by Nicola Cornick. Because she is a pretty heiress, rakes and wastrels try to compromise Clara Davenport into marriage. She has been fortunate so far, but knows her luck will not hold out so she decides she needs a teacher to train her, an innocent, on how to fend off rakes. She turns to the poster boy of rakes Sebastian Fleet for mentoring and advice. However, the lessons between the teacher and the student turn into one of love.

These three Regency romantic novellas are fun tales due the assertive females who know what they want and take charge of achieving their respective heart's desires. The men are solid partners but the strong women make this anthology worth reading.

Harriet Klausner
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT!!! At least an "8*** Star" Book 14 Jan 2006
By BOOK READER - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mary Balogh does it again. But then I shouldn't be surprised as she is one of my favorite authors.

Julia Justiss is also one of my favorites as I have all of her books and have read all of them, most of which are on my Keeper Shelf.

Now, last but not at all least is Nicola Cornick. I have all of her books and have read them too and they are all "EXCELLENT", but, I would advise you to read "THE EARL'S PRIZE", "THE CHAPERON BRIDE", and "WAYWARD WIDOW" before reading her story in this book, as Carla Davencourt and Sebastian Fleet have a history from the other three books. As Ms Cornick says in the beginning of the story....Can Carla Davencourt, who has loved Seb for years, open his heart to the comfort and joy of the Christmas season?

She says this story is especially for all the readers who wrote to her after Seb first appeared in her books and asked when he would have a story--and a LOVE--of his own. SHE DID AND HE HAS IN SPADES!!!!!
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