Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Historical Romance Review: Twelve Days of Christmas Past

Title: Twelve Days of Christmas Past
Authors: Susanna Fraser, Rebecca Thomas, Emily Larkin
Source: Entangled - Flirt
Genre: Historical Romance, Anthology
Length: Novellas
Release Date: December 30, 2013
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Rating - 4
Sexual - 3

The Countess’s Groom by Emily Larkin
Rose, the Countess Malmstoke, is trapped in a marriage from hell. Escape seems impossible—until her horse groom Will Fenmore offers to help her find a way out.

Will has loved Rose since she was brought to Creed Hall as a new bride, but their relationship has only ever been that of mistress and servant. Born worlds apart, Will knows he could never be her husband, but maybe he can be her salvation.

As they plan her escape to the American colonies, Rose learns to trust Will with her life and her heart, but trusting him with her body is another matter. Can she conquer her fear of the marriage bed? Is the future she dreams of—being Will’s wife—possible?

The Blacksmith's Son by Rebecca Thomas
Captain Quentin Drake returns home after his Naval commission ends to find a young groom being beaten in the village stables. Weary from his travels, Quentin only wants a good night's sleep, but refuses to turn a blind eye to the lad's mistreatment. He intervenes, taking the lad to his room, only to discover a woman masquerading as a boy.After Ally Lockwood's family dies, she supports herself by assisting the local blacksmith with his horses. She's not allowed to do the work as a woman, so she dresses as a boy, but her ruse is up when, due to injury, she's disrobed by a handsome stranger. What starts as a shared supper, leads to so much more...

The Earl's Christmas Colt by Rebecca Thomas
Lady Arabella Sutton is stunned to learn her brother has betrothed her to a stranger. Although she is the first to admit no man would suit, since she a marriage of convenience, the last thing she wants is to become a brood mare to a stuffy old earl. In her anger, she rides into the countryside but her mare is injured, forcing her to seek shelter at a nearby coaching inn.

Oliver Westwyck, the Earl of Marsdale, canother better. But she claims noblemen are egotistical, conceited, and arrogant and he wonders how hely hope a colt as her Christmas gift willearn him her forgiveness.

Christmas Past by Susanna Fraser
Time-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquists first mission sounded simple enoughspend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellingtons army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new lifeand embrace a new lovetwo centuries before her time.Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful Mrs. Sydney from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his presentby his side.
The Countess's Groom:
Rose and Will come from two different worlds.  Rose is a lady and Will is a lowly groom, but they unite in their love of animals and in their efforts to save Rose from her incredibly abusive husband.  Unfortunately, I didn't end up liking Rose as much as I should have.  She was overly formal, even after her and Will became close.  It had a very swet ending though.

The Blacksmith's Son:
This was a great one.  Ally has been hiding out as a boy in order to escape from the false accusations of theft from her former employer.  When Captain Quentin Drake finds out that she is actually a girl, he decides to find out why she is hiding.  Their dialog and interactions were great.  The only bad spot was a little of the beginning where things worked out a little too perfectly.

The Earl's Christmas Colt:
This was such a cute story.  I loved the emotion Rebecca Thomas was able to explore in such a small novella.  Lady Arabella isn't your typical noblewoman, she would rather be out riding her horse than try to find a husband.  It's a good thing that Oliver Westwyck, her betrothed, ends up being just as much a horse lover.  They meet for the first time and they don't know who the other is at first.  Arabella mistakes him for a horse breeder.

I'm not a big fan of intential mistaken identity storylines, but the way this one plays out is quite humorous.  It was a great Christmas story.

Christmas Past:
Christmas Past is a sweet time travel romance.  When Sydney finds herself stuck in 1810 after her time machine breaks, she must make a tough decision on what to do next.  Unfortunately (or maybe on the bright side) Miles has found her secret.  He takes her under his wing and talks her into waiting until after Christmas to make a final decision on her fate.

Of course the romance follows very quickly and it is a very sweet one.  A very feel good style of romance with one really good explosion (literally).  I also liked how the author handled the issues of multiple time lines and changing the future.  She had a lot figured out for such a short novella.

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