Love blooms in Winter. Three rare, historical romance novellas by acclaimed writers Patricia Rice, Mary Jo Putney, and Susan King are collected together here for the first time in this exclusive eBook, the Christmas Roses. The Snow Roses, The Black Beast of Belleterre, and The Kissing Bough weave tales of the joy of unexpected Love, at a special time of year, Christmas – as only these talented writers can. Discovery in the midst of a clash of clans, hidden desires from an unexpected suitor, and a love once lost and found combine for a truly romantic journey through history. This tantalizing collection of historical romances also includes all-new introductions and recipes to add to the delight of the season.
Publisher and release date: Millington House Publishing, October 2013
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Lucy Bertoldi
Feeling like I needed to change pace from historical novels to something lighter and shorter to read, I welcomed Christmas Roses: Love Blooms in Winter, made up of three novellas set in the past. I was incredibly surprised by how engaging this book was! Brief stories, yes- but nothing amiss! I was completely immersed into the pure magic of Christmas love.
1- The Snow Rose, by Susan King: is a Highlander story of two feuding family clans (the MacDonalds and the Frasers), where Catriona MacDonald reaches out to the enemy side for help. She needs to keep the castle that is rightfully hers, but her uncle will grant her this only if she marries the man he has chosen for her. Catriona is against this betrothal but must keep the castle to house her young orphaned cousins for whom she feels responsible. Unable to bend to her uncle’s wishes, Catriona flees to an abandoned hut to live on her own. The help she needs will come from the last person a MacDonald would expect … the enemy; the dashing hero, Kenneth Fraser. But let’s be clear here, this is not a tale of a damsel in distress awaiting her rakish savior. Catriona is strong-minded with a clear purpose: She must regain her estate and save her little cousins. As for Kenneth, he is strong yet gentle-hearted and completely devoted. This story of love, mingled with care for family (those little cousins are adorable – especially the little girl who has the gift of second sight), sense of honor and responsibility, got me straight to the heart. What a tender story!
2- The Black Beast of Belleterre, by Mary Jo Putney: At first this may seem like a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but after devouring this splendid novella, I’ve decided that it’s even more romantic than that! James Falconer, the very rich (but freakishly ugly and lonesome) lord of Belleterre, falls in love from afar with Ariel, daughter of a gambling man who owes Falconer a good sum of money. In order to clear his debt, Ariel’s father concedes to giving his daughter up for marriage to Falconer, upon his request. This is a story of eventual love, but contrary to Beauty and the Beast, there is no captivity here; and Fraser does not reveal his looks for a very long time. Ariel, rather than being confined, is in fact forcibly sent to live with a friend. James wants to give her the freedom to live happily and away from himself. He does not want her to sacrifice her life to live in such horror with this hooded man who distances himself for fear of love. This is such a sweet story filling us with warmth for not only James’ kindness and compassion, but also for Ariel who does not want to be taken as a shallow beauty – she is impressively strong, in love and determined. Eventually there is a happily ever after and it is touchingly soothing to the soul.
3- The Kissing Bough, by Patricia Rice: Set in Napoleonic times, this story of a returning soldier (Jonathan) to his promised love (Diana) just in time for Christmas is a charming read. Of two different mind sets, Elisabeth and Jonathan’s reunion plays out quite differently due to a miscommunication four years prior. Elisabeth cannot forgive Jonathan for having chosen to go to war rather than staying behind to be with her. Jonathan, having left against his father’s will sent Elisabeth a letter – a letter containing a promise. But Elisabeth never received it. Based upon these two different perspectives and realities, this story starts off on a whirlwind of reactions with Elisabeth’s hoydenish side letting out the best of her for a very entertaining read. But there is also much humility throughout the book, particularly during Christmas day when father and son reconcile and the lovers finally find themselves on the same page. This one had me all teared up – delightful!
As the title implies, all three novellas have a rose in the story. I won’t spoil it for you, but just let me say that this love flower is more than a symbol and fits perfectly within each plot. Christmas Roses will steal your heart. And, to fill the Christmas spirit with more warmth and comfort, each author has included just the right recipe to match their story. Christmas Roses is the perfect holiday book.