An enjoyable mix of stories wound around a common thread. Some more than others. Overall they threaded together admirably, giving cohesion and expressing the hope of the Christmas season.
Jo Beverley sets the scene. It's post the French wars in regency England. Napoleon has been routed at Waterloo. For those returning, that coming home is a harrowing undertaking.
Fate has cast more than a few nettles across the path of true love but it's Christmas time and perhaps more than Yuletide longings and good cheer are at work. The Dowager Countess of Holbourne has decided to give her Last Chance Ball (for spinsters to seize the moment) at Holbourne House. The stories are centred around those would be guests.
My True Love Hath My Heart by Joanna Bourne.
A longtime love is rekindled, with a chance to strike at injustice, a future to determine and jewelry theft thrown in for good measure.
A Scottish Carol by Susan King.
A doctor fresh from the horrors of Waterloo is reacquainted with his mentor's daughter.
Christmas Larks by Patricia Rice.
Returning home from war, damaged and disoriented Ivor Whitney-Harris hears mice in the walls and rekindles his childhood acquaintance with Sara Jane Langsdale.
In the Bleak Midwinter by Mary Jo Putney.
A wounded soldier's final return to those who love him is ensnarled by his wounded anguish.
Old Flames dance by Cara Elliott.
A long lost love returns from a far flung place. Too late or can all be set right?
A Season for Marriage by Nicola Cornick.
What can you do when your husband spurns you? Why flee to the arms of your loving family and hope!
Miss Finch and the Angel by Jo Beverley
A lowly companion captures the gaze of a well intentioned rake.
Mistletoe Kisses by Annie Grace
French verbs and mistletoe kisses. Life for Allie Fenton was set upon a oath that seemed unlikely to waiver.
A NetGalley ARC