Author: Fern Michaels, Linda Lael Miller, Theresa Alan, & Jane Blackwood
Genre: Anthology, Holiday (Christmas), Romance, Contemporary, Short-Stories
Rating: 3 Stars
Feeling the chill of winter? Then grab a glass of egg nog, take a seat by the yule log, and warm yourself heart and soul with these four captivating tales of passion that make mistletoe seem so unnecessary…
A Bright Red Ribbon Fern Michaels
Being dumped by your boyfriend on Christmas Eve has got to be the worst. Still, Morgan Ames promised she’d wait two Christmases for his return — tonight — and she always keeps her promises. But a sudden snowstorm has other ideas, including a romantic turn Morgan never imagined…
The 24 Days of Christmas Linda Lael Miller
A matchbox advent calendar first brought Frank Rayner and Addie Hutton together. But that was years ago. There’s no way the miracles of Christmas — and the magic of true love — could possibly be hidden under one of its tiny flaps. Or could they?
Santa Unwrapped Theresa Alan
When Aimee Lachaussee offers to drive three volunteer Santas to a children’s hospital, she finds herself stranded in a bar with two really obnoxious playboys — and the quiet, hunky, wheelchair-bound Ryan, who’s about to show Aimee that the very best presents come in unexpected packages…
Maybe This Christmas Jane Blackwood
Laura Randall thinks life has passed her by, until a Christmas angel grants her wish to live one, important, destiny-shaping Christmas over. Now that she’s got her second chance, can she manage this time to hold on to the love that got away…?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
This Christmas-themed anthology was a bit of a mixed-bag. I think out of the four stories, Maybe This Christmas by Jane Blackwood and The 24 Days of Christmas by Linda Lael Miller were my favorite of the bunch, with A Bright Red Ribbon by Fern Michaels and Santa Unwrapped by Theresa Alan falling disappointedly behind. The latter two stories seemed rushed (particularly A Bright Red Ribbon) and I found it hard to sink into their narratives. The romances just felt a little too forced for me to enjoy. A Bright Red Ribbon in particular felt as if the dialogue had been force-fed a dose of holiday candy. The pace was so swift that the characters came across as hyper-active. It was a little weird—and although the plot was fantastic… I found myself cringing.
As for Maybe This Christmas and The 24 Days of Christmas, I found both stories to be heartwarming and enjoyable. They too had some issues with the romances being a bit quick (as is usual with short stories) but they didn’t feel nearly as forced as the other two stories, and in the end, I enjoyed them more. They were very well written.
I don’t want to delve too much into the stories individually (because we’ll both be here all day), but I think overall I really enjoyed the anthology—though the religious bits came across as a little preachy in parts. Still, I’m glad I gave this anthology a shot, and though it’s not my favorite Christmas-themed anthology so far this year, it was still a good read. There’s a gem or two in here for romance readers who are looking for quick, heartwarming holiday reads.