Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Sprinkling of Christmas Magic - Elizabeth Rolls, Bronwyn Scott, Margaret McPhee (HH #1159 - Nov 2013)

Christmas Cinderella - Elizabeth Rolls
Handsome country rector Alex Martindale dreams of kissing his spirited schoolmistress and never having to stop.... With some mistletoe, he may just get his wish.

Loved this sweet Cinderella story.  Polly is the poor relation in a local family.  When she hears that Alex is looking for a teacher for the new parish school, she goes to him and asks for the job.  Alex had been looking for a man for the job, but when he realizes the desperate straits Polly is in, he gives her the job.  He also discovers a passion in himself that he never expected and it's all directed toward Polly.  I loved seeing Alex watching out for Polly and compelled to visit her each day.  His gradual realization of his feelings toward her is so sweet.  I loved the way that he stands up for her against her nasty aunt.  Polly had a nice inheritance until an unscrupulous trustee stole it, leaving her penniless.  Her first job as a governess ended when a son of the house made advances to her and then blamed it on her.  She is miserable living with her aunt's family and determined to get out and stand on her own feet.  I loved her determination to prove herself to Alex.  She has a great rapport with the children and their families and quickly becomes loved by them all.  She grows to love Alex but worries that she is not a suitable woman for him to court.  I loved the ending with the visit by the bishop and his attitude toward everything that had happened.

Finding Forever at Christmas - Bronwyn Scott
At the yule ball, Catherine Emerson receives a proposal from the man she thought she wanted--but a kiss from his mysterious, darkly handsome brother unleashes a deeper desire....

Good story.  Catherine has come home after several years in Paris with her aunt.  She's been looking forward to seeing her friends again, especially Channing.  She finds herself spending more time with his older brother Finn and discovers that she has far more in common with him.  I loved seeing the way that Catherine and Finn naturally gravitated to each other.  There was a connection there that neither one could deny.  Catherine quickly realized that Channing was not a man that she could spend her life with when he did so many things that irritated her.  I loved seeing her growing interest in Finn and the way that she understood him. She was surprised by how much she liked being with him.  It didn't take too long for her to recognize her feelings but was sure nothing could come of them, especially with her mother telling her that Finn was too far above her. Finn was surprised by his quick attraction to Catherine.  He remembers her as the little girl who was friends with his siblings, but now sees her as a grown woman.  He'd much rather spend time with her than with yet another woman that his mother has deemed suitable for his bride.  He was a little confused by his feelings at first, but soon realized what he really wanted.  I loved the waltz scene and the way that they were so wrapped up in each other.

The Captain's Christmas Angel - Margaret McPhee
Returning to England for Christmas, Sarah Ellison discovers a man adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. Nothing could have prepared her for the gorgeous Captain Daniel Alexander, or the secrets he keeps!

Good story.  Sarah is returning to England for the holidays, taking her niece with her.  She has left behind the memories of her late husband, who had not been faithful, and a suitor who was trying to threaten her into marrying him.  While on deck one day she spies a man floating in the water.  After he is rescued she begins to get to know him.  He is always polite to her and kind to her niece and she starts to relax her guard around him.  I loved seeing the slow buildup of feelings  between them.  Daniel is watchful and cautious around her at first.  He has secrets that he must keep in order to protect her.  The scene of the storm was very intense and I could almost feel  the wind and waves as I read it.  I loved the way that he was able to make sure that they were safe.  He was also there when Sarah needed him during her niece's illness.  When they were rescued I could see how hard it was for Sarah to believe what she was told about him.  I loved the way that the rest of the story played out.

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