When I first started reading romance books, holiday Regencies were some of the stories that I eagerly awaited each year. MISCHIEF AND MISTLETOE has several of the same talented authors whose historical tales I have thoroughly enjoyed through the years, and the newer writers are novelists who also expertly capture the time period. Each story perfectly sticks to the theme of misbehaving and then forming a relationship with a special someone during the Christmas season, where often a kiss under the sprig of mistletoe could lead to happy futures. The group of eight authors who participate in this anthology have their own blog called The Word Wenches, and lovers of historical books definitely need to check out their interesting posts. MISCHIEF AND MISTLETOE has strong-willed romantic couples discovering love during the holidays in the midst of deceptive schemes and enduring desire.
"She Stoops to Wenchdom" by Mary Jo Putney
When Lucinda Richards attends a holiday ball with her friend, she hopes to have an exciting time because her life is rather subdued since she is the daughter of a vicar. The event definitely starts off in an exciting way when she sees Gregory Kenmore is one of the guests, a man with whom she once believed herself in love. Though he does not seem to recognize her at first and has a very different personality from what she recalls, Lucy sets out to make certain he does notice her and that she might not be quite as angelic as he remembers.
Mary Jo Putney always mesmerizes with realistic characters and emotionally dramatic situations. The events in this story will cause a myriad of emotions, as their believably will intensely touch the reader. An engaging couple and heartfelt circumstances make "She Stoops to Wenchdom" totally engrossing.
"Miss Brockhurst's Christmas Campaign" by Jo Beverley
To celebrate the Christmas season with the family of her mother's friend is a suggestion Penelope Brockhurst wholeheartedly supports, as the man who was once her best friend when they were younger will most likely be in residence. The single time she talked with Ross Skerries more recently had her seeing him as a grown man, not the boy with whom she once played, and she plans to see if he has any romantic feelings for her. When Pen arrives, it looks as though her chances of getting Ross to notice her will be very doubtful, but she is up for the challenge.
There is realism in every story by Jo Beverley, and "Miss Brockhurst's Christmas Campaign" is a prime example. The characters are portrayed with such original dispositions, and their reactions are constantly conceivable. Every detail about this period in history is particularly well described, especially some of the traditions, thus taking me back in time to enjoy the holidays in a completely unique way.
"Intrigue and Mistletoe" by Joanna Bourne
On a very snowy and cold night, the coach in which Elinor Pennington is riding stops at an overfull inn where a variety of travelers have taken refuge. Jack Tyler comes in the middle of the night to speak with her, and while she previously loved him, she now does not believe there is anything between them except lies. When they talk about spies, Elinor realizes she never really knew Jack. Since she also has secrets, she cannot see them ever getting back together, but he has other ideas.
Joanna Bourne adds a touch of mystery to create a compelling historical romantic tale taking place during the holidays. The characters are animated, and the main couple continuously engages in lively discussions. "Intrigue and Mistletoe" is thrilling with unknowns and the enchanting romance charms.
"Wench in Wonderland" by Patricia Rice
If not for the deep love Damaris Bledsoe had for her cousin, she certainly would not be in a coach travelling to meet Jonathan Trevelyan who wanted to marry her favorite relative. Going in her place seemed like a workable idea when planned, yet she knows this scheme may drastically alter her own future and not for the better. What does occur when Damaris gets to the estate when Jonathan resides is not something she could ever have imagined, and how everything will play out could go in countless directions.
Humor along with real life occurrences make "Wench in Wonderland" fun yet also emotionally engaging. With an intellectual couple and three playfully mischievous children, there is never a moment when something entertaining is not happening. Patricia Rice takes an often used plot, puts her own innovative spin on the circumstances and creates a charmingly enjoyable seasonal story.
"On a Wicked Winter's Night" by Nicola Cornick
Since Lydia Cole and John Jerrold grew up together and were very close friends, she believed his marriage proposal was made because of compassion, not love, and she declined his offer. It has been four years since they saw each other and she has a new life, but his being the new Baron of Newport has the two meeting up again at an inn which she runs. This may mean Lydia is one of his tenants yet she is not willing to give Johnny anymore than what is owed to him, especially when it concerns her heart.
"On a Wicked Winter's Night" is intensely emotional as the feelings of the likable couple are profoundly affected time and again. Lydia and John have much to overcome if their second chance at having a relationship can ever work, as many thoughts have been left unspoken for far too long. Nicola Cornick has constructed a story filled with genuine passion and an extremely determined hero.
"Weathering the Storm" by Cara Elliott
The ship on which Sophie Thirkell and Lord Bentley Leete are sailing becomes disabled, and each has a reason for wanting to reach London by the time Christmas arrives. Neither is at all happy with the turn of events, but a solution can be achieved if Bentley agrees with the suggestion offered by Sophie. Though the two never seem to see eye to eye on anything, her proposal is the only way they can ever fulfill their duties and the daring endeavor is undertaken.
Cara Elliott creates an absolutely exhilarating story, where delight is located on every page in a myriad of ways. Adventures plus startling behavior can be found all throughout "Weathering the Storm", a tale about enterprising escapades and featuring two engaging characters. Surprisingly, Sophie and Bentley work exceptionally well together, and their conversations are packed with amusing banter and quick wit, making their scenes humorously pleasing.
"The Mistletoe Bride" by Anne Gracie
Though Ronan McAllister does not want to wed again, his lawyer suggests that he should find a woman whose probability of dying soon is high, and then the conditions for receiving his much needed inheritance could be met without having a long-term marriage. He finally comes to actually believe the unfortunate female can be helped if he brings her peace of mind concerning her wishes, and the search begins. The woman who arrives at his estate, Marguerite Blacket-Smith, has her own agenda, and perhaps they can both achieve their goals plus even possibly something more.
Two objectives where no emotions will be involved quickly take a huge turn when hearts do become concerned, especially when Christmas decorating brings out unforeseen feelings. "The Mistletoe Bride" is filled with misconceptions yet gives hope to unreachable dreams coming true. Anne Gracie has written a compelling story of unpredicted love and genuine passion.
"A Wilder Wench" by Susan King
There is a new Lord Dunallan who has inherited property in Scotland, and Edward Armstrong is now also the sheriff since he arrived in the area. One of his responsibilities is to see that a prisoner will be sent away and tried as a smuggler, once he receives the proper documents to transfer the man. However, Cristina Heron-Shaw is very determined to make certain his innocence is proven, and she will attempt a very risky undertaking, regardless of the danger involved.
Amusement is entwined with seriousness in "A Wilder Wench", and emotions are frequently conflicted. Cristina and Edward may have lived dissimilar lives when younger, yet one momentous connection was formed in an instant and greatly affects them when older. Susan King gives her dynamic couple plenty of emotional issues to prevail over, while adding a bit of humor from time to time.
Single Titles review - 4.5 Stars