Gifts of the Season (Harlequin Historical) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Nov 2002
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About the Author
Miranda Jarrett considers herself sublimely fortunate to have a career that combines history and happy endings, even if it's one that's also made her family far-too-regular patrons of the local pizzeria. With over three million copies in print, Miranda is the author of more than 25 historical romance novels, and her best-selling books are enjoyed by readers around the world. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached at P.O. Box 1102, Paoli, PA 19301-1145, or at MJarrett21@aol.com
Lyn Stone studied art and worked in Europe while she visited the places she now writes about in her historicals. It was when she was working as an illustrator that she had the idea of trying to freelance romance novel covers. But, while studying the market on covers, she became firmly hooked on the contents of the books and decided to try writing instead! Lyn loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website guestbook at: www.eclectics.com/lynstone
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Celebrate the holidays with these sensuous and heartwarming stories. Three different women will experience passion this holiday season:
1) A Gift Most Rare by Miranda Jarrett
Sara had never thought to see her precious Rev ever again. Yet here he was, come to stay for the holidays in the very home where she was a governess...and bringing up the painful memories of their shared past.
2) Christmas Charade by Lyn Stone
Beth didn't want a husband. But when she agreed to marry handsome Jack as part of a scheme, she didn't expect to be playing with her heart.
3) The Virtuous Widow by Anne Gracie
Ellie was afraid she had no future. Left to her own devices now that her husband had passed away, she worried for her daughter's welfare as well as her own. But her world changed when a stranger landed on her doorstep.
And my review:
Miranda Jarrett's story was just okay. Entertaining while you read it, but not worth a re-read. Unfortunately, the little girl Clarissa, that Sara is a governess to, was little more than a flat plot device. I like the children in stories to capture your heart as well as the lead characters, and this one didn't. Three stars.
I could not even force myself through the Lyn Stone's story. Everything felt stilted and could not capture my attention. The dialogue felt very stiff, and my mind kept wandering. One star.
Anne Gracie's story is what saved this book from my donation pile. It was very well written. In this one, the little girl was a much more well-developed character; you couldn't help but love her. Many might complain about the amnesia plot, but I happened to like it, if it's done well. Just because it's a plot that's been done before does not mean that it will be a cookie-cutter book. This one wasn't. I've re-read this story several times, and I would recommend the book for this one story. Five stars.
Not bad, but there are better Regency Christmas collections out there. If you enjoy Regency Christmas romance, I would recommend Mary Balogh's "Under the Mistletoe" and Mary Jo Putney's "Christmas Revels", both available used at Amazon.com
Unfortunately, by comparison the Lynne Stone story is so poor thatI wondered if she were a substitute for a different writer who'd cancelled at the last minute.Emotions ring false and the heroine in particular is very annoying. NO stars for this story.
But please check this collection out for the first two writers. They are worth the effort.
In Jarrett's story, Sara Blake, brought up in India, has been reduced to being the governess to an eight year old child (Clarissa) who is an incredulous character to say the least! She behaves neither like an eight year old nor like a child of the early 19th century. Yeech! Lord Revell Claremont, younger son of a Duke, had the Great Misunderstanding with Sara many years ago and, over a Christmas house party, everything is sorted out. Sorry - I could not bring myself to care about the characters or their dilemma; they did not attract me at all and the story line was tired and not especially interesting.
Lyn Stone's story of a marraige of convenience, mystery children, mistaken identities, etc (every trite and well used theme you can think of) was played out in a stiff and what appeared to me to be a hastily written format. The prose never seemed to lift or sparkle as one might reasonably expect in a Regency Christmas story. Again, Bethany and Jack are not people I could get interested in; too one-dimensional for me.
Anne Gracie's story was at least better written. Again, a case of mistaken identity through the means of amnesia, this is the story of a man set upon and near death rescued by a penurious widow and her small daughter. Although the story was simplistic and credulous at times, at least Gracie has the manifest talent of writing prose that holds one's attention. I didn't think this was her best effort but at least one could care about the characters and one can at least be cheered when poor Ellie snags her Lord Rothbury.
I think Harlequin failed with this anthology. I love Christmas Regency short stories but this volume was flat, sometimes turgid and sadly filled with uninteresting characters trapped in uninspiring stories. Don't bother.