Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection

I need to apologize first thing because this review was supposed to go live on Oct. 14th, but because of a small snafu on my part, it is going up today. So I am sorry for that.

Today it's a little cold outside, the last of the leaves are falling off the trees in front of my house, and my mother in Canada just called to tell me that there was a big snowstorm in her city and she has to go dig out her car.  This means winter is on its way and what better way to celebrate that than reading a collection of Christmas stories?

Carla Kelly has put four Regency Christmas stories together in her Christmas Collection that are sure to touch your heart and put you in the mood for the coming season.  The thing I like about Carla's stories is that they are so filled with emotion and have such unlikely heroes and heroines.

For example, in the first story, The Christmas Ornament, we have two fathers talking about their unmarried children.  The daughter is bookish, a wannabe scholar, who seems to put off suitors with her intelligence. The son is a scholar who doesn't seem to have time for love, so the two fathers scheme to get them together. What follows is an emotional, funny and cute romance that had me smiling right up until the end. There's no dashingly handsome man and a achingly beautiful heroine, but two regular people with problems and rumpled looks who just might find love with one another.

Make A Joyful Noise has a really tender love story between a man who lost his wife and a woman who's lost her husband and is expecting a child.  Her situation is quite dire as she's a "foreigner" and staying with her horrible in-laws who treat her abominably.  I loved this story best I think, because of the tender feelings and the way the hero is so forgiving, loving, and accepting, even when he has to face some pretty big obstacles.

The Object of Charity was a little harder for me to get into because the heroine is first introduced as a possible teenager and the hero is a weather-beaten experienced captain of the sea.  They do eventually overcome some fairly large obstacles of their own and really test out the theory of forgiveness for family members by putting it into practice.  Very apropros for the season.

The Three Kings was another one of Carla's clever heroes who doesn't look much like a hero. I loved Luis' quiet way about him and how he did his duty and honor to keep Sarah safe, even at a great cost to himself. The adventures they go through, the suffering they see and try to alleviate from war-torn Spain is something think about when we come across small ways we can help suffering around us as well.  The traditional Spanish The Three Kings song and the pageant were also really interesting to me and I know Ms. Kelly has done her historical homework as always.

All of the stories were long enough to engage me, and yet short enough I could read each one is an hour or less.  Another great collection from romance writer Carla Kelly that I recommend for anyone wanting to get in the holiday spirit.

Here is the back copy: 

Come explore Regency London with Carla Kelly! This collection features four stories that will warm your heart with Christmas cheer:

The Christmas Ornament: When the father of his now-deceased best friend hints that he should consider his daughter as a potential wife, Lord James Crandall isn’t sure he can get past the fact that he used to tease her mercilessly when she was just a girl. But once he finds out how brilliant her mind is, he’s not sure he can get past the fact that she’s a woman. Add in the fact that her charms have garnered the attentions of other gentlemen, Lord Crandall is in for quite the roller coaster Christmas.

Make a Joyful Noise: Widower Marquis Peter Chard is grateful for his two children, but not so grateful when his mother gives him the chore of recruiting people for the parish Christmas choir competition. When recently widowed and pregnant Rosie Wheatherby turns up with the voice of an angel and the looks to match, Lord Chard isn’t about to let her get away from the choir . . . or his family.

An Object of Charity: Stuck on land while his ship is being repaired,Captain Michael Lynch is approached by his late first mate’s niece and nephew. Learning they are destitute, he decides to take them home with him for the holidays, returning for the first time in 22 years ago. As he spends more time with them and unburdens his heart to the young woman, she replaces his hurt with love in time for a very special Christmas.

The Three Kings: After her brother is shot by the French in Spain, Lady Sarah Comstock is forced to travel across the war-torn countryside with a Spanish Colonel. As Christmas quickly approaches, Sarah learns about the Three Kings giving gifts to the Christ child and finds a gift of her own that she can share—her heart.

Filled with romance and a touch of humor, these stories are sure to find a place in your heart and remind you that Christmas is a time for love.


Debra Erfert said...

Christmas stories so soon? Won't you run out of these stories before Christmas actually arrives if you start so soon? Thanks for the review. I'll put this on my "to read" list. :)

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

LOL Maybe I will. It just seems so appropriate yesterday when the weather was so cold! :)