A Historical Christmas Present by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4.3 of 5 stars
A Historical Christmas Present lives up to its name with three enjoyable, Christmastime historical romance stories.
"I Will" is actually a favorite reread of mine. I think is my third time reading this story. I loved it just as much. I think that Ms. Kleypas found just the right story to bring the Christmas mood to this reader. This is a story about redemption and second chances. How hope comes in very unexpected packages, just like the baby born in a manger over two thousand years ago. Kleypas gives us the unredeemable rake and matches him up with a spinster who has the key to his very hidden heart. I loved both characters, even at their worst. Andrew has a ways to go, but love changes him, and his transformation takes place so believably in this 100 or so pages story, a testament to Ms. Kleypas' formidable writing skills. Of course this one gets five stars.
"Three French Hens" by Lynsay Sands is my least favorite story, but it has some stiff competition. This one is a medieval-set story that brings to mind "The Prince and the Pauper", where a lowly kitchen maid is talked into masquerading as a lady when Lady Joan is forced to spend time with her betrothed during holiday celebrations. Sands is known for her slapstick-type humor and some of that is on offer. It's a good story, although it doesn't quite feel as period as I would have liked. I think that she ties up the story very well, and I was happily surprised at the reveal near the end. It's a good story, so I'd give it 3.5 stars.
Leigh Greenwood ends this collection with a pleasing note with "Father Christmas". I have an enormous weakness for western historical romances, and this story reminded me of why I love them so much. Joe is a rough, gruff prison escapee with a heart of pure gold. The lovely ladies he gets charge of via his rascally deceased partner have him like a pile of mush in no time flat. Although love happens fast, it was completely credible. Joe never had a home, and he finds one with Mary, her stepdaughter Sarah, the baby she's expecting, and on their small ranch property. I just adored Joe, and Mary is a sweet, and likable heroine. I loved little Sarah, and I enjoyed how Samson, Joe's dog, his horse General Burnside, and even an ornery cow that Joe names Queen Charlotte also have pivotal roles in this beautiful little tale. I guess you can tell this is a five star read for me.
I was so happy to be able to fit this collection into my Christmas reads. It was an enjoyable book that definitely added to my Christmas mood. Thumbs up.
Overall rating: 4.3 stars/5.0 stars.
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