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The Heart of Christmas (Carhart #0.5; Tallants #3.5)
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The Heart of Christmas (Carhart 0.5)

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3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,564 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh
Not only is Julian Dare dashing and wealthy, but he's the heir to an earldom. So what do you get a man who has everything? Innocent and comely Verity Ewing plans on giving Julian her heart—the most precious gift of all.

The Season for Suitors by Nicola Cornick
After some close encounters with rakes in which she was nearly compromised, heiress

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Paperback, 378 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by HQN Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,782)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I don't have much to say about the first two stories, except that they were good. Both the Balogh story and the Cornick stories are reformed rake stories (it's fairly clear if you read my reviews that rakes are not my favorite types of heroes by far). I felt that the metamorphosis of Ms. Balogh's rake was a little more convincing. When I read a story about a rake, I really have to be convinced that he has depth, or he's just another one of far too many in historical romance. He's really got to s ...more
Katie(babs)
Nov 06, 2009 Katie(babs) rated it liked it
A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh was my least favorite story in this anthology. We have the same old rehash of a plot with a gentleman rake who is bored in London surrounded by all his wealth. Julian Dare, Viscount Folingsby is out of sorts because his father is forcing him to marry. He’s twenty nine after all and it’s about time he settled down and has an heir. Julian has not finished sowing his oats but decided some relaxation is in order when his friend, Bertrand (what is up with that name?) ...more
Erika
Dec 12, 2012 Erika rated it liked it
A Handful of Gold introduces Julian Dare, Viscount Follingsby, a young and outrageously handsome rogue who is more than ready to be redeemed. Currently, Julian is drunk and thinking the best way to bed Blanche Heyward, the extraordinarily beautiful opera singer... Alas, I can’t go on with the storyline. Just remembering it makes me sleepy. This was undoubtedly a very wrong story to introduce the big name of Mary Balogh. The weakest point was not the cliché storyline, though it was overly so. W ...more
LuvGirl
Very Christmasy. MB writes the best Christmas reads. I love that her Christmas reads always touches on the true meaning of Christmas. This was a sugary sweet Cinderella story. I would only read this at Christmas time though.
Mely
Dec 28, 2015 Mely rated it did not like it
Rating for the Milan; haven't read the other two.

Lydia's family runs a bookshop. She has a crush on a customer to whom she's never spoken. When the family is in desperate straits, William offers to pay Lydia enough for sex to rescue the family's livelihood. He thinks repeatedly to himself that he doesn't care if she doesn't want to have sex with him. He wants to have sex with her. He knows she'll hate it. He doesn't care. So he rapes her -- but, wait, it's not rape! It's not rape even though he
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.þµŋψà. [Punya Reviews...]
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ridley
A Handful of Gold - 2 stars

Boring, generic story of the jaded rake transformed by the surprisingly virtuous opera dancer. Balogh skimped on characterization and emotion, instead playing tropes and archetypes like playing cards.

The Season for Suitors - 3 stars

Entirely forgettable story, but told well. Sebastian and Clara are adorable with their easy regard for each other - at times engaging in friendly bickering and at others barely keeping their mutual desire hidden. Lovely as the characters wer
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Jacqueline
The first story was lovely. A sweet story of a girl who becomes an actress to support her family and the man who wants to set her up as his mistress only to fall in love with her.

I didn't really like the second story.

The third again was lovely and I really enjoyed that the hero was not a lord but rather a man of affairs.
Pam
Dec 22, 2010 Pam rated it really liked it
I only read the Mary Balogh story...A HANDFUL OF GOLD. I really enjoyed the story. She accepts an invitation to stay with Lord F (the H) at his friends "hunting box" for Christmas instead of at home with her mother and sister. He pays her money to go with him ....he thinks she is a fallen woman because she is an actress. She is a virgin and she has accepted his offer because she needs money for her very sick sister at home. That's the set up but it is so much better than what the reader thinks. ...more
kris
Aug 01, 2014 kris rated it liked it
I recognized 2 of the 3 authors and thought I'd take a peek...

A Handful of Gold, Mary Balogh
Julian Dare invites what he believes to be an opera dancer to spend a sinful week with him over Christmas. Turns out she's not an opera dancer at all!! They fall in love and stuff.

I didn't mind the premise of this, but the execution left something to be desired. There's something extremely off-putting about these mistaken identity stories, because while Julian ultimately does admit that he'll marry her r
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FlibBityFLooB
I seldom find that I enjoy every storyin a multi-author anthology, so I was happily surprised to find that I enjoyed all three of these short stories :)
The Bookwyrm's Hoard
The Heart of Christmas is a collection of three novellas or long stories, all taking place during the Christmas season.

I enjoyed “A Handful of Gold” (Mary Balogh) well enough but it isn’t one of her strongest stories; it’s a little too cliched, and I found it difficult to suspend belief in several spots. Verity Ewing is secretly working as an opera dancer. When Julian Dare, Viscount Folingsby, suggests a week at a friend’s hunting lodge over Christmas, she agrees only because of her sister’s des
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Amanda Skinner
May 21, 2010 Amanda Skinner rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from a giveaway from Courtney Milan (one of the authors of the collection). I must say that it was a treat! I hadn't had the pleasure of reading any of the authors before, and thoroughly enjoyed all three.

I loved the visuals Mary Balogh painted in "A Handful of Gold." I could almost see the snowflakes clinging to me, smell the christmas dinner, and feel the warmth that new love can give. Nicola Cornick's characters in "The Season for Suitors" are addictive. I couldn't wait to fi
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Kym
Nov 04, 2009 Kym rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, omnibus
This book has three stories in it. The first one is "A Handful Of Gold" by Mary Balogh. I found this story the least enjoyable of the stories. It seemed to take forever for the story to draw me in, and I just found I did not connect with the characters. This story would have rated 3 stars at best for me. The second story is " The Season For Suitors" by Nicola Cornick. I found this to be my favorite hands down. I really enjoyed this story and would have given it a five star rating had it been a s ...more
Laura
Dec 20, 2012 Laura rated it did not like it
This book is three Christmas novellas by three different authors, so I'll review them separately.

A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh

Eh. Not awful, but nothing memorable either. I did find the part with the vicar and his family showing up rather amusing, but nothing about the plot or characters was really all that engaging or believable. I'm all for corny, sappy Christmas stories, but this one just didn't work for me. It didn't seem plausible that the hero and heroine would fall in love so quickly o
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Cindy
Dec 18, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
3 Regency Christmas stories. One of my favorite books!

Mary Balogh - 4 stars. Mary Balough always seems to be able to tell a great story. The heir to an Earldom, Julian is part of a happy, affectionate family. He's also the only boy in a crowd of sisters, so his father wants him to settle down, marry, & get some buns (male ones) in the oven. He's already got a steady (boring), rich girl picked out for him. Julian decides instead to go with his friend to a remote manor his friend owns to spe
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Bill
Jan 29, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it
This is another book of short stories that includes a story by my favorite author, Mary Balogh. This one is named A Handful of Gold. Verity Ewing is desperate. Her sister is ill and her family is impoverished. Unbeknown to her mother, she has been making money as an opera dancer, but not enough. The real money is in becoming a mistress and she has plenty of offers. She accepts the offer to go away for Christmas week from Julian Dare. Julian is avoiding his family because they are becoming quite ...more
Christy
Dec 09, 2012 Christy rated it liked it
Shelves: gave-away
2.5 stars
None of these stories really grabbed me, and I'm a huge Mary Balogh fan and generally like Courtney Milan. The Nicola Cornick story was just pretty stupid (he, the duke, visits her at her brother's house at midnight and ends up performing oral sex on her on the hearth rug, as an example of the excesses of the plot.)
The Mary Balogh was probably my least favorite of her Christmas stories. Posing as a courtesan just didn't seem a very good choice and if it was her only choice, it was just
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Fernanda

:) uma historia tipo conto mas algo ternurenta e que se passa na quadra natalicia.
talvez resuma demais a historia que nos conta Mary Balogh, que tem muito cuidado em transmitir os valores proprios da quadra assim como os que eram os valores morais e sociais da epoca.

uma historia com final feliz, em que os personagens se entendem rapidamente e tudo parece facil.
apesar de tudo nao deixa de ser uma leitura agradável e desprendida sem pensar em mais nada do que a fantasia de um amor descoberto e ace
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Sarah Jane
Sep 14, 2015 Sarah Jane rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for Christmas stories, free library books, historical romance, and Courtney Milan - so naturally I was going to read and like this well enough. I love short stories though my main complaint about the three of these was that the sex scenes were rushed, alas actual plot had to happen! :P

I'd heard of Mary Balogh but never read one of her books. I will say it was my least favorite though it didn't have anything to do with her writing style and world building - which I did really like.
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Laurla2
a handful of gold by mary balogh. Julian Dare is handsome and wealthy, the heir to an earldom, yet it takes a Christmas tryst in the country with the innocent Verity Ewing to teach him the true meaning of life.

the season for suitors by nicola cornick. After some close encounters with rakes in which she was nearly compromised into marriage, heiress Clara Davenport realizes that she needs some expert advice. And who better for the job than Sebastian Fleet, the most notorious rake in town? Inevitab
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Virginia
Although the nature of novellas is that we have to have a believable HEA romance in such a short amount of time, that is really the only detriment to this genre. The short stories, were for the most part, enjoyable, and I now I have two new authors I can check out. (Which is the main reason, I suspect, they put these out.)

I think I enjoyed the middle one by Nicole Cornick the most. The last one, I thought was rather yick at the start but it got redeemed.
Hortencia
Sep 28, 2010 Hortencia rated it liked it
Shelves: favourite-author
Mary Balogh is one of my favourite authors. While I enjoyed 'A Handful of Gold' and Nicola Cornick's 'The Season for Suitors', my favourite piece was Courtney Milan's 'This Wicked Gift'. Milan succeeded in painting interesting, sympathetic working-class characters -- a refreshing change from the usual historical romances! The story was well paced and written with feeling and intelligence. Am looking forward to reading more of her work!
Carrie
This Wicked Gift by Courtney Milan

I didn't read the other two stories so this rating is for the Milan story alone. It's well written and has a different feel than most run-of-the-mill historical romances. I liked that it didn't involved a titled gentleman, but instead both main characters are involved in trade. Very entertaining.
Amelia
Oct 28, 2015 Amelia rated it really liked it
I just skimmed a couple of the reviews for this collection and it's really interesting to see that opinions are all over the place. I really enjoyed both the first story, by Mary Balogh, and the last one, by Courtney Milan, though they were very different from each other. Of the two, the Courtney Milan story was more original, featuring a couple who are both struggling to survive -- no gilded ballrooms there, just strained ledger books. I couldn't get into the Nicola Cornick story at all -- ther ...more
SW
Jan 17, 2012 SW rated it liked it
I liked how all the stories were short and to the point. No long whole book about their courtship. All of them well written. Although I didn't really care for the last novella.
Christy Stewart
I only read "This Wicked Gift" because I wanted to read about poor people. I really liked it; it was like a Regency version of The Jeffersons.
Maura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Morris
Feb 08, 2015 Diane Morris rated it really liked it
A Handful of Gold - Mary Balogh - Usually a dependable name for excellent romance; here - well, the romance is ok although she still delights with the perfect turn of phrase or observation such as when Julian notes that Blanche doesn't lapse into regionalism when not concentrating. I'd count this possibly a two-star effort. Also in the anthology 'Christmas Keepsakes'.

The Season for Suitors - Nicola Cornick - I'd never read Nicola Cornick until this story. It was reasonably good though it seems a
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Mcfree
Apr 06, 2014 Mcfree rated it liked it
Shelves: looked-at
Balogh is a favorite if mine. Cornick is a little over the top for me. I've never heard of Milan.

The Balogh story was just too far fetched. The money she was paid for a weekend was absurd. A country gentry girl outwitted the cream of society and pulled off pretending to be a courtesan. And, and, and.

Balogh's strengths for me are her nice heroes. Good guys. This guy was(?) a good guy, maybe? But, a little lost? I don't know.

The heroine just didn't fly at all. Not enough background was given to s
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  • Gift-Wrapped Governess: Christmas at Blackhaven Castle\Governess to Christmas Bride\Duchess by Christmas
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Mary Jenkins was born on 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high-school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curl ...more
More about Mary Balogh...

Other Books in the Series

Carhart (5 books)
  • Dark Horizon (Carhart #0.25)
  • In Which Madame Esmerelda Makes a Prediction (Carhart #0.3)
  • This Wicked Gift (Carhart, #0.5)
  • Proof by Seduction (Carhart, #1)
  • Trial by Desire (Carhart, #2)

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“Sebastian stretched. Clara stared. She could not help it. He was still in his breeches and shirt and she was riveted by the deliciously tight fit of the buckskins over his thighs.

"You could avert your eyes," Sebastian said mildly.

"I could," Clara agreed, "but I am not going to."

He smiled. "Hussy."

"I know. But I have waited a long time--”
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“...Miss Blanche Heyward, opera dancer, would have made a superlative drill sergeant if she had just been a man.” 2 likes
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