Since the back cover description is already given on this page, I'll skip straight to my review:
The first story in this collection is THE ST. JAMES AFFAIR by Susan Wiggs. In this story, a career woman who has become cynical about Christmas ends up running into the man who broke her heart exactly seven years ago, on Christmas Eve. But with the help of a little Christmas magic, she learns to forgive and rediscover love and happiness.
I expected to like this one, as Wiggs is a talented writer. But I was left rather disapointed by this story, mostly because I had a really hard time liking the heroine. Her cynical attitude came on just a bit too strong, turning me off of her character. And the career she was obsessed with seemed so meaningless and trivial to me. PR person? That's what's consumed your entire life, to the exclusion of the things that matter? Clothes, manicures and parties? It just made the heroine seem very shallow. I just couldn't make myself care about her. And I never felt like I really knew the hero well enough to form an opinion of him. I just didn't care if these two ended up together, which makes for a very unsatisfying read. Two stars.
The second story was Nancy Warren's A CATERED AFFAIR. In this story, a woman who has been jilted by her lover and ex-business partner is attempting to get her revenge by making a sucess of her catering business and beating out his. During a crucial night, she meets a man who is intrigued by her and pursues her. Holiday romance ensues.
This story was just okay. I had a hard time liking the hero, as he came across as a bit of an arrogant jerk. He was practically strutting around, thinking that he's so great and gorgeous that any woman should be happy to fall at his feet. Ugh. Self-confidence is attractive. Being self-absorbed is not. And his immediate comment that he wanted to see the heroine in nothing but her stiletto heels and her catering apron was sleazy, not sexy. It didn't progress from there. There was nothing drawing the characters together but sex. I need more than just out-of-control hormones for a satisfying romance. Two stars.
The last story in this anthology was Jule McBride's A PHILADELPHIA AFFAIR. This was a story of lovers reunited at Christmas time. The hero and heroine shared a brief but torrid affair, and the hero doesn't want it to be over. His relentless pursuit of the hero combine with the machinations of the heroine's daughter to win the heroine back into his arms.
I didn't get very far into this story. This was another story that was only about sex, and had no real love in it. When the hero has made a dozen sexual references (and memories) of the heroine in two pages (seriously, there were that many!) you know that the story is going to be nothing but a lust-fest. Sadly, I've yet to read a Jule McBride story that I was even able to finish, and this one was no exception.
Anthologies are always a hit-or-miss situation. This one was a complete and total miss. There are far better Christmas romance anthologies out there. See my list "Christmas romance books worth buying" for a list of my keepers and re-reads. As for IT HAPPENED ONE CHRISTMAS, I recommend that you skip it.