Author: Carla Kelly
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published Date: October 2013
Paperback/Kindle: 240 pages
Genre: Holiday Regency Romance
Reviewed by: Shanda
FTC FYI: received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review
Come explore Regency London with Carla Kelly! This collection features four stories that will warm your heart with Christmas cheer: “The Christmas Ornament,” “Make a Joyful Noise,” “An Object of Charity,” and “The Three Kings.” 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.
This past year I have been delighted to discover many enjoyable short-story romance collections. I really liked Carla Kelly’s Borrowed Light series, and am happy to be able to review this Christmas Collection.
The stories in this collection are conveniently arranged in order of my favorites, starting with “The Christmas Ornament.” I got a kick out of two fathers playing matchmaker with their children, as well as the two main characters, James and Olivia, who were both too intellectual to fit in with the ton. I related to their love of learning and education, and found James’s occasional bumbling to be kind of charming. Suffice it to say, apologizing is something he quickly became skilled at doing.
Peter Chard in “Make a Joyful Noise” is a character I really liked. He is a good father, a hard worker, and even takes over his mother’s duty to find singers for the annual choir competition when she is called away to help care for sick grandchildren. When the woman he has seen walking across his property from time to time sits in front of them at church one Sunday, he hears her voice and knows she must be a part of their choir. Rosie finds herself in unfortunate circumstances when her father, whom she travels with in the army, is killed. She has no protection and no choice but to marry a selfish cad of a man, the son of Peter’s neighbors who nobody cares for much at all. When he falls out of a window while drinking with friends and dies, she appears at his family’s home, a surprise to everyone. They consider Rosie a burden and treat her as such. Peter, however, is soon smitten by more than her lovely voice.
In “An Object of Charity,” Captain Michael Lynch finds himself on shore while his ship is in dry dock for repairs after a harrowing skirmish in the blockade. He is unhappy about the situation, much preferring to remain at sea. While staying in his favorite boarding house, he is approached by a young woman, Sally, and her little brother, Thomas, who are looking for their uncle, the man who had served as Captain Lynch’s first mate until his recent death in battle. He is the one to break this unfortunate news to them. When he discovers the two siblings later, shivering in the dark by the docks, he realizes their situation is much worse than he suspected. He takes them into his care, deciding to go home for Christmas for the first time since a falling out with his father and older brother 22 years earlier. Things at home are both better and worse than he expected, yet Sally brings a long-absent peace back into his life.
I learned something new about the Christmas traditions of Regency era Spain in “The Three Kings.” Sarah and her brother James are caught in a predicament while doing research in France and James is shot and killed. Sarah is determined to get their research back to England, but there are French troops everywhere and she is basically on her own to find refuge across the front lines of the English army. She is placed in the charge of a Spanish colonel who will escort her to Ciudad Rodrigo so she can continue on to England. Before they can depart, the encampment is attacked and she is swept to safety by Colonel Luis Sotomayor. They make their way across the countryside, managing to stay ahead of the French troops, until events escalate near a village where Sarah learns more about the colonel than she or her heart could have expected.
All in all I enjoyed all of the stories, though the first two were my favorites. If you are in the mood for a little romance as the Christmas holiday approaches, this collection from Carla Kelly may be just the thing for you.
Find Carla Kelly’s Christmas Collection: