Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 Days of X-mas Review: A Christmas Ball

A Christmas Ball is an enjoyable Anthology of three separate stories that intersect with the biggest event for those remaining in London during the Holidays. All three of these stories have unique heroine's and interesting situation.

                                   MY LADY BELOW STAIRS

This story centers around Jane Tate a beautiful young maid living at Somerville house. Jane's situation is actually unique because she her self is a Somerville and is half sister to the Lady Sybil. Jane was born a bastard and since her mothers death has made a living working in the kitchens and lower parts of the household. Jane also has began a major flirtation with the head groom Ian Michael McGregor.  As Jane contemplates her growing feelings towards Ian she is recruited to stand in for her sister who has run off with a penniless artist. 
In order to save her father from financial straits and Ian's job Jane must pretend to be Sybil and accept a marriage proposal disguised as her. Thus begins a merry comedy and romance as Sybil also descends upon the party dressed as Jane!
I really liked this story. It was interesting to see the perspective of the story from the servants of a great house, Emily Bryan, combines humor and sizzling romance in this novella, I really was rooting for Jane and Ian. Like a wonderful masquerade fortunes are made and lost in this story and nothing is what it seems.
The longest night is also labeled the as a Nvengarian tale. I guess this is a country Jennifer Ashley has visited in a few of her other stories. This story is about Scottish widow Mary Cameron. Marry is in London at the behest of a friend, helping his daughter launch herself on society and more importantly on the Hartwell House party. There Mary is reunited with Valentin a man that she nursed to health and then left. Valentin is a shape shifter like most of his country man, into a wolf. Valentin is on a diplomatic mission for his country but once seeing Mary wooing her becomes his main objective. this story was enjoyable but I was a little lost not knowing anything else about the Nvengarian tales. Still and enjoyable read.
This was my favorite of the three novellas! Alissa Johnson has created a wonderful tale with another unique heroine. Patience Byerly is a companion to the lovely Miss Meldrin. William Renwick thinks his plan is to court Byerly's companion but soon he begins to see Patience in a whole new light. As their courtship unfolds Patience finds it hard to resist Williams attempts at courtship, as she discovers a passion she didn't know she was capable of. This story is full of wonderful British Holiday traditions. I really enjoyed watch Patience and William get together and then torn apart by a secret in Patience's family. A very sweet and romantic story.
Another mixed back anthology for me but the strong female characterizations really stood out for me in these stories.


1 comment:

....Petty Witter said...

Not usually a fan of the short story, I like the sound of this book and especially The Longest Night.