There's one in every anthology and the stand-out story in this one belongs to Sabrina Jeffries. Her contribution, "When Sparks Fly," deserves 5 stars. I gave the book as a whole 4 stars (actually 3.5, but that's not an option here), because the other two entries lacked the same quality, in my opinion. Despite the fact that there are only three stories in this book, meaning the stories were longer than what we usually see in an anthology, the other two didn't have the character development necessary for me to really enjoy them, particularly in the case of "A Holiday Gamble" by Jane Feather.
Jeffries' contribution is an installment of her School for Heiresses series. It's about heiress Elinor Bancroft, whom fans of the series may remember from "Let Sleeping Rogues Lie." It's Jeffries' own take on "A Christmas Carol" and she actually writes a young Charles Dickens into the story, having him witness what happens between the hero and heroine, presumably inspiring him to write his classic tale.
Elinor is traveling home with her aunt and cousins, along with their classmate Charlie Dickens, when her aunt's carriage runs off the road in foul weather and her aunt is injured. In the nick of time, the surly Lord Thorncliffe arrives to save the day, offering them shelter at his estate until the storm clears. Thorncliffe, punishing himself for a tragedy that occurred years ago, just wants to be alone and forget about Christmas and the painful memories it dredges up. But he quickly finds himself enjoying the life his visitors bring to his gloomy manor. And as for Elinor, he finds he dreads losing her company and has trouble keeping his hands off her body.
"Snowy Night with a Highlander" is Julia London's contribution and it's a light, enjoyable story. Fiona Haines fled her Highland home for London years ago as a debutante after overhearing the man she longed to wed make a cruel joke about her. Now, a search for her rakehell brother brings her back and she finds herself drawn to her mysterious escort, who obscures is scarred face and speaks infrequently. What she doesn't know is that he is the same man who once broke her heart, Duncan, the Laird of Blackwood. Duncan was injured in a fire after Fiona left and, though it disfigured him, it made him a better, more considerate man. He now wants nothing more than to make amends and be forgiven by Fiona.
"A Holiday Gamble" by Jane Feather was the weakest of the stories in my opinion. I liked the heroine, a brave, strong-willed young woman being forced into an unwanted marriage by her guardian. She's making careful plans for her escape when a snow storm brings the hero, Ned Vasey, Viscount Allenton, into her path. He takes refuge at the home of her guardian during a house party. The two are immediately attracted to each other and he decides to aid her in her escape. His character seemed rather flat to me and I thought the story had a weak climax.