Ruth's Reviews > A Regency Holiday

A Regency Holiday by Allison Lane
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's review
Nov 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-romance, net_galley, regency-victorian, tasty-little-morsels
Read in November, 2011

This was a lovely collection of four novellas with Christmas themes, provided by netgalley. As with all such collections, the quality was variable, but on-the-whole this was a really enjoyable read.

The best stories were the last two, and my least favorite the first one.

1st book - Coventry's Christmas by Rebecca Hagan Lee

The premise is actually solid, and both the hero and heroine rather likeable characters. Unfortunately, there were a few things which let it down for me. There were some minor historical details, which were small, but irritating, and could have been easily fixed by a read-through by someone from England. A good example was that the English don't add honey to tea (this is something which other countries do, but not England, and certainly not in the household of someone wealthy, who could easily afford sugar), and tea is not kept on the stove to keep warm, as coffee is (if tea gets cold, you start all over again with a new pot in England, those beautiful tea services with a small warming candle are Russian). There were also some other things, less small, which also irritated me, primarily that the hero fell for the heroine far too fast. I like to see the process of them falling in love with each other, not the "brick-wall" effect when one of them suddenly realizes it. The biggest problem I had was that this novella really felt like a full-length book, squashed into a novella by taking all the adjectives and adverbs out (you know, those words that actually make a book a joy to read?). It ruined it, really, which was a shame, because the heroine was realistically naive, but not stupid or clueless, and the hero's idea of ignoring the 12 days of Christmas was just excellent. Overall, it came across as rather Regency-ish and insipid. 2/5

2nd book - Star of Wonder by Lynn Kerstan

This was a very different and rather interesting story. The romance is really secondary to the plot and the character development, and I have to say this worked incredibly well in a collection format. The characters are not particularly sympathetic, and the plot is quite exotic, and it worked really well for me. The ending was perhaps too long though, when words are precious. 3/5

3rd book - A Christmas Homecoming by Allison Lane

For a very pleasant change, this one starts with the hero's POV. Apparently this is a novella, but the funny thing is, I honestly couldn't tell it was. It was a great, full story and was written at a pleasant, measured pace. This one had the requisite adjectives and adverbs that actually make an interesting read. I also loved the ending - there is great promise for the hero and heroine and their HEA, but the author doesn't waste time or words with detailing it. We get it, and we don't have our intelligence insulted by a pointless paragraph explaining what we already figured out. We understand the hero and heroine's individual backstories, and were even introduced to a nice array of secondary characters, but nothing detracted from the house party setting, itself an ideal self-contained novella setting. 4/5

4th book - Home for Christmas by Alicia Rasley

Again, this one starts with the hero's POV. It is a fascinating story. I was completely hooked from the first page. It's spare plot and slow unravelling is absolutely ideally suited to a novella. The story is told with complete descriptive paragraphs, and we get to know the characters very well, or, at least, we think we do. This little story keeps just enough of the characters hidden to intrigue, but shows us just enough of a hint for us to sympathize. It's handled with a wonderfully light touch that I love in romances. There was nothing I didn't completely enjoy about this book, and I'll be looking for more of this author's work, particularly her novellas. 5/5
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