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Coming Home for Christmas (Harlequin Historical) Mass Market Paperback – 15 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (15 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373296681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373296682
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2 x 16.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,121,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This had to come from the USA, but it arrived with amazing speed. I've had books from UK sellers that took longer! Very pleased as this book is not available on Kindle. I am not used to having to wait to read a book now, Kindle has spoiled me!
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Amazon.com: 23 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Stayed up late reading it in one sitting! 15 Nov. 2011
By Cilla - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I pre-orded this book several months ago because I am a Carla Kelly fan, knowing it was an anthology, but somehow missed the fact that Carla Kelly had written all the stories. So, it was was a treat to find out that I had three Carla Kelly stories to read! "Coming Home for Christmas" is an anthology about three generations of soldiers, beginning in 1812 with British naval surgeon Thomas Wilkie, who makes a marriage of convenience with Laura Ortiz who is abandoned in California due to family problems. This is my favorite story, partly because it takes place in the regency era, even though it isn't a British lord and lady story. Thomas and Laura are my favorite characters in the book. Their romance is given time to develop and that may be because their story is the longest one in the anthology. Working together to help victims in an earthquake brings this seemingly mis-matched couple to find out exactly how well-matched they are.
The next story is about Thomas and Laura's widowed daughter Lilian, who is working as a nurse in the Crimea in 1855. There are interesting glimpses into the Florence Nightengale era. The story of Laura and Major Trey Wharton was touching, and I think the only thing that would have made it better was to have it be longer because some issues were mentioned briefly but didn't have time to be fully developed. For example,I wanted to know a little more about her previous marriage, because it seems like she had mixed feelings about her deceased husband.
The final story,taking place in 1877 features Laura's son from her first marriage, Captain Wilkie Wharton. He finds his true love in Mary Francis Coughlin, someone he had known for a year at Fort Laramie, but saw in a new light as they made a difficult journey, dealing with an orphaned baby and a white former captive of the Cheyenne who is torn between her former life and her life as part of the tribe.
I inhaled this anthology, finishing it in one sitting. I enjoyed the Christmas theme interwoven through the stories, as well as the fact that the trilogy started with one special couple, and continued through the lives of their children and grandchildren. My complaints about not feeling that the last two stories were developed enough stems from the fact that I am spoiled by reading Carla Kelly trilogies made up of three complete books! She always leaves me wanting more. Overall, this book was a treat for this Carla Kelly fan. It has the gritty details of medical life and the harsh conditions of previous eras, so it isn't sugar-coated. The heroes and heroines were the warm and "real" people I have come to expect from Carla Kelly. This is another one for my "keeper shelf."
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If You Don't Like Anthologies 17 Nov. 2011
By lovesbooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
you will like "Coming Home for Christmas." I hate anthologies. Either the novellas are too short to be fulfilling or if they are long enough, you want them to go on, not to end. Either way, anthologies are lousy, IMO.

Of course, Carla Kelly has to be the exception. Two of her three new, unpublished before entries in "Coming Home for Christmas" are like reading a full novel; the third is complete, but a little short. Fortunately, that was okay by me. Each entry is told from the point of view of either the hero or heroine. Although each novella has at least one Christmas detail, there really isn't much about Christmas, so although these entries give you things to think about Christmas, they will not leave you with the warm fuzzies of Christmas cheer. Instead, they will teach you and intrigue you about history.

The first, "A Christmas in Paradise" is from the POV of a Scottish doctor who is fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, but gets caught in California and its changing Spanish alliances. Somehow, I never think of the Napoleonic Wars affecting the US, although we bought the Louisiana Purchase thanks to those wars, and of course, they affected the War of 1812. Enough of the history lesson. Thomas Wilkie is a surgeon, stranded in Ca., having been traded away by his commanding officer for a ship to take the rest of the crew back to British forces. Wilkie is amused by Laura Ortiz, a young snob, the daughter of a Spanish official. Unfortunately, her father has a gambling problem and is disgraced, arrested and shipped down to Mexico for trial, leaving Laura literally destitute and hated by almost everyone. Out of sympathy, Wilkie marries her and the story is about her gradual acquiring resilience, competency, and love for her husband. I liked that she is realistic throughout the novel and immediately grateful to Wilkie for his intervention, yet does not fall immediately in love with him for his rescue. Wilkie is one of the many honorable (usually medical) heroes in Carla Kelly's books, so if you liked her past military heroes, you will like Wilkie. Nobody is as good as Carla Kelly in creating honorable and strong men.

The second "O Christmas Tree" is told by a nurse, the daughter of Wilkie and Laura, in the Crimean War who falls for an American observer. Lilian, a wealthy widow, escaped a meaningless life to nurse in the Crimea under Florence Nightingale, although she is not a character. Lilian is running a hospital in Turkey and wants a Christmas tree for the ward of recovering soldiers. Trey Wharton quietly intervenes to help her in a disaster and later steps in, when he thinks she may be in an awkward position with the local Turkish ruler. If you like a quiet, kind of reticent hero, you will like this novella.

The third, ans shortest entry, is about Lilian and Trey's son, who is coming home from the west to meet his fiancee, about whom he has reservations of marrying. He has promised to look after on the train a young woman he admires, who is the opposite of his fiancee in class and personality. On the way, he is put in charge of a tragic woman who was kidnapped by the Indians and lately torn away from her children and happy life and is now being sent "home" to be reunited with a family that may reject her. How the h&h cope with this grieving and angry woman reveals both their characters and push them into their decision.

So, if you like Carla Kelly's books, you will like this one too. I did.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
not my favorite carla kelly 8 Jan. 2012
By cbreader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm surprised I didn't like this more. Everyone sounded the same. It was three different stories, but you could have exchanged the characters into any one of them, they all sounded so similar. the first story was my least favorite. The second made me glad I kept reading, though. the third was fine, but not great.
A Great 3 in 1 Christmas Read 7 Dec. 2011
By EKD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this Christmas read by Carla Kelly.
It was like reading a mini saga since there were three stories and each played off the one before it,
yet you did not have to wait for the next release since they were all there in one book.
I could not say I liked one story more than the other. They were all touching and wonderful
and a great all round read. The icing on the cake is they were Christmas stories and I know
I'll read this one many times both during the Holidays or at other times of the year.

"Coming Home for Christmas" was the main book title and in it the first story.
"A Christmas in Paradise" Starts in Regency times (1812) with a British Naval Doctor(Thomas Wilkie) who finds himself stranded in
a Spanish settlement in California after his ship is captured by the French and taken in captivity there.
With several shifts in circumstances this first Christmas romance between Thomas and Laura finally has it's happy ending.

"O Christmas Tree" is the next story and takes place in 1855 during the Crimean War with the widowed daughter of Laura and Thomas
from the first story "A Christmas in Paradise". She is one of Florence Nightingale's nurses - and falls for the shy American hospital administrator Major Trey Wharton.
Their holiday romance take place at the very end of the war and just when you think they will go their separate ways...they come to their senses.
Once Lillian and Trey have their happy ending we get to see the story of Lillian's son from her first marriage have his Holiday romance.

"No Crib for a Bed" Captain Wilkie Warton (son of Lillian and adoptive son of Trey) is a post surgeon with the Third Cavalry at Fort Laramie in the Wyoming Territory.
For me this story had an most interesting twist. Will was headed back east to marry his fiance and was escorting Frannie - the daughter of his hospital
steward - back home as a favor. Their travel plans get changed a bit when they are called upon to escort "Nora" a woman who had been kidnapped and held by Indians for
several years back to her family. There are a variety of surprising bumps and twists along the way that finally turn into a lasting romance between Will and Frannie.

I just really enjoyed following along with these three generations of Christmas romances and I hope you get a chance to read them too.
Best of all each story was a quick read so that if you don't have a lot of time, these fit the bill.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Disappointingly uneven 7 Jan. 2012
By Ridley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This was a surprisingly underwhelming collection from the usually quite reliable Carla Kelly. I'm rounding up to three stars for the book, but it's a weak three. The one major plus is has going for it is that two of the three stories are told exclusively from the hero's POV, which is quite unusual for romance.

A Christmas in Paradise - 2*

A marriage of convenience story that's short on romance and long on details of early 19th century doctoring. It's told from the British Navy hero's POV as he spends another year away from his family in Scotland stuck at a Spanish garrison in California in 1812. As the story spends most of its time following him as he tends to a dying tuberculosis patient and scores of earthquake victims, the fact that he marries the daughter of a disgraced Spanish official to save her from homelessness is almost an afterthought. Little light is shown on her character or personality beyond "pretty," which is made an even more glaring oversight in the face of the rich personality Kelly gave to the tuberculosis patient. As a result, the romance is treated as a matter of fact, depriving the reader of the joy of watching a romance develop.

O Christmas Tree - 2*

I was pretty high when I read this one, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the weed making it a convoluted head-scratcher. It's told from the heroine's POV this time as she's serving as one of Florence Nightingale's nurses in the Crimean War. I found it pretty impossible to buy into the premise of this one. She's a widowed upper-class mother of a young son who leaves her child with her parents, the couple from the previous story, to set off for the Crimea. The exposition points out that she used her late husband's influential contacts to get Nightingale to accept her...then has the heroine lamenting that she's been stuck here three long years waiting for permission to go home. Permission other women were granted. Influential contacts only work one way?

While I liked the romance more in this story - he's a shy beta sort and this was a friends-to-lovers sort of story - their cute banter and warm sexual tension got lost in the plot noise. There's a fire, a friendly matchmaking sultan and a sultan's wife who gets a wig made of the heroine's hair. I still can't really make sense of it.

No Crib For a Bed - 3*

I thought this was the strongest of the three stories. It's told from the POV of the hero, the son of the last story's heroine, who's on his way home to Philadelphia from his position as Army surgeon at Fort Laramie. He's riding the train with his friend the heroine, who's father is the fort's hospital administrator, and a white woman who's been "rescued" from a Cheyenne reservation to be reunited with family in Iowa. The hero's also on his way to marry his longtime fiancee who he hasn't seen in a few years.

Along the eventful train trip home - he delivers an infant in a bloody delivery the mother doesn't survive, he reunites the white Indian woman with her family, the heroine and he take a shine to the orphaned infant - he takes stock of his life and realizes that not only is he in love with the heroine, but his privileged, Philadelphia life isn't for him anymore. He needs the intelligent, capable nurse heroine as a companion in a purposeful life rather than a pretty, ornamental wife in a comfortable life. Everything in the story ties into this realization and character growth, making it the most coherent of the three by far. A too-neat ending keeps it from being a great story.
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