Christmas Brides by Suzanne Essex, Alexandra Hawkins, Elizabeth Essex, Valerie Bowman

October 28, 2014
Novellas should come with a warning.

I need to start checking copyright dates better before buying books, except it's harder to do when one is using an electronic device. You just cannot pick the book up and look at the

copyright page anymore. Oh well, once again I purchased an anthology with four short stories, all of which have been published before (or at least 3 of them have): Christmas Brides with Suzanne Enoch, Alexandra Hawkins, Elizabeth Essex, and Valerie Bowman. Thank goodness I had read only one in this group - too bad it was the one by Suzanne Enoch, who is the reason why I bought the book in the first place.

It only took me 15 pages and a repeated, "boy does this sound familiar," before it dawned on me that I had read One Hot Scot by Enoch recently. So, even though I remember liking the story, I moved on to the next story in the book, Once Upon a a Christmas Scandal by Alexandra Hawkins. This short story is one in  Hawkin's Lord of Vice series. It has Lady Ellen, who has a big dowry and tons of suitors, and Lord Swainsbury, who is hanging around being a suitor. There is a silly villain who has one of those dramatic, over-the-top scenes at the end of the tale. I lost interest in this story pretty fast. It had the feel of being slapped together rather quickly. I was disappointed.

On I drudged. Next was A Scandal to Remember by Elizabeth Essex. This is a horrible parent story with Ian's (hero) father trying to force him to marry and Ann, a mousey woman who has parents who are eager to be rid of her. This short story turned into a "story that wouldn't end." I tried - oh, how I tried to continue. However, I couldn't connect with any of the people in this story and I just had to move on. I was unable to finish A Scandal to Remember.


Sigh. I moved on to It Happened Under the Mistletoe by Valerie Bowman, hoping for something that would justify my purchase. When the story began with the heroine and the hero both hiding from their suitors in a closet I thought - oh good, something funny. Alas and alack, it never traveled down the funny road for me. Neither Oliver or Cerian are well developed, and it was hard to understand why they fell in love with each other. So I struck out again. 

Bottom line, I didn't find any of the stories that I read very interesting and I was even unable to finish one of them. I know - I know - one takes chances with short stories. However, I've read some pretty outstanding little gems, so I know it's possible for them to be out there. Sad to say this didn't get me into the Christmas spirit,  nor can I recommend Christmas Brides.

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