Eloisa James, Christi Caldwell, Janna MacGregor and Erica Ridley
September 28th, 2021
From four beloved writers—Eloisa James, Christi Caldwell, Janna MacGregor, and Erica Ridley—come four original stories that tell a hilarious tale of a Christmas house party that serves up love and scandal in equal measure! The Duke of Greystoke’s Christmas Revelry is famous throughout the British Isles for its plays, dancing, magical grotto… not to mention scandals leading to the marriage licenses he hands out like confetti.
But not everyone welcomes a visit from Cupid.
Lady Cressida, the duke’s daughter, is too busy managing the entertainments—and besides, her own father has called her dowdy. Her cousin, Lady Isabelle Wilkshire, is directing Cinderella and has no interest in marriage. Lady Caroline Whitmore is already (unhappily) married; the fact that she and her estranged husband have to pretend to be together just makes her dread the party all the more. But not as much as Miss Louisa Harcourt, whose mother bluntly tells her that this is her last chance to escape the horrors of being an old maid.
A house party so large that mothers lose track of their charges leads to a delightful, seductive quartet of stories that you will savor for the Season!
Eloisa James: A Mistletoe Kiss
The Duke of Greystoke's "Christmas Revelry" has begun and his youngest daughter Cressida, who does all the work but receives no credit for the annual event, is ready to be out from under the thumb of her dominating and unfeeling father to begin a life of her own. The duke, however, has other plans.
Elias, Lord Darcy de Royleston's best friend stands to inherit the dukedom when the old codger gives up the ghost and will finally obtain a treasured estate to boot, but only if he agrees to continue hosting the revelry for another decade. When his friend suggests that Elias marry Cressie to, one, save himself the trouble of searching for a bride and two, ensure that as Elias' wife she can continue to help with all the intricate planning for the Revelry, a tentative deal is struck.
Cressie has always been attracted to Elias, but he's never given her the time of day so when he's suddenly popping up everywhere and laying on the charm she knows that he's up to no good. But despite her suspicions, a handsome rogue is hard to resist.
It doesn't take long before Elias original motives for pursuing Cressie are forgotten and he's completely won over by her creativity, wit and understated beauty. Convincing her that the feelings he's suddenly feeling are real are another matter entirely.
This story was simply charming from beginning to end and my ONLY complaint is that because of the short story format their romantic journey goes from Point A to Point Z to quickly. I would have loved to see Cressie and Elias' story play out in a full size novel format, but if wishes were horses...
Christi Caldwell: Wishing Under the Mistletoe
This one was hand's down, my favorite of the four! If you've every wondered how Ebeneezer Scrooge's life might have changed had he been given a second chance to win back the love of his life, then you are in for a real treat.
When a very Scrooge-esque, Cryus Hill becomes more obsessed with making money than finally marrying the woman he loves, said woman takes matters in to her own hands, breaks the engagement and leaves to pursue her own dreams.
Ten years later, Lady Isabella Wilkshire arrives at her uncle's Christmas Revelry and finds herself paired with a ghost from her past that her heart has never been able to forget.
Forced to work together, old feelings that never died and new insights into the past bring hope for a possible future, but is it too late?
Ms. Caldwell did an awesome job at creating a heart warming, second-chance romance, that was perfectly contained inside the short-story format and the Scrooge inspired plot, pure genius!
Janna MacGregor: Compromise Under the Mistletoe
Easily my 2nd favorite in this quartet, Caroline and Stephen's story is another second-chance at love romance but in this case, the couple is already wed...albeit unhappily.
After a year of living apart, the couple must convince the Duke of Greystoke that their marriage is solid in order for Caroline to obtain the money she needs to fund a special project. When her husband, who previously forgot her existence outside the bedroom readily agrees to play the role of the doting husband during the duration of the Christmas Revelry, Caroline is too relieved to ask why.
Determined to win back the wife he loves, Stephen jumps feet first into the arrangement, confident that the passion they shared can be rekindled and their marriage saved. But it takes the two of them finally taking the time to get know each other that finally makes it possible for this couple to reconcile.
I enjoyed their story immensely and although it was also well contained in the shorter format, I still wasn't ready for it to end so quickly.
Erica Ridley: Mischief and Mistletoe
Shunned by society after the scandal sheets declare her dull and uninteresting, the Duke's Christmas Revelry is Louisa's Harcourt's last chance to make a match--at least according to her mother! With a duke's heir and a desolate Viscount sitting on the top of her mother's wish list, the last person that should be drawing her attention is a brooding poet without any prospects.
But the heart wants what the heart wants, and with secret dreams of sharing her own poetry with the world turning to ash, Louisa finds Ewan Reid very hard to resist.
Ewan, however has a secret! He's not exactly as he seems and despite his instant attraction to Louisa he knows a future beyond the two weeks of the Revelry simply isn't possible. Or is it?
Ewan and Louisa's story is about breaking free of everyone else's expectations and finding the courage to follow your own heart and dreams and provides a perfect closing chapter to this wonderfully fun and festive anthology.