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A Christmas Ball (Includes: Nvengaria, #4)

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  50 reviews
It is the most anticipated event of the ton: the annual holiday ball at Hartwell House. The music is elegant, the food exquisite, and the guest list absolutely exclusive. Some come looking for love. Some will do almost anything to avoid it. But everyone wants to be there. No matter what their desires, amid the swirling gowns and soft glow of candlelight, magic tends to hap ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Dorchester/Leisure (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Christmas Ball was an enjoyable read, but not particularly amazing. I had trouble keeping my interest in the stories. I'm not sure if it was the time of year, being so busy, or that I just didn't find them overwhelmingly interesting.

The Emily Bryan story was unique in that the couple were of the working class. Jane is the illegitimate daughter of a noble, consigned to work as a maid in the very house of her father. She has grown up with her spoiled legitimate sister and an indifferent father who
Penny Watson
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A Christmas Ball by Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan, and Alissa Johnson

I did something with this book that I have not done in a long time. I read it totally fresh, without reading any blurbs, reviews, etc. I had no idea what the story was about. There is something wonderful about diving in with no preconceptions whatsoever.

I started out with Emily Bryan's My Lady Below Stairs. I got hooked on this story immediately and was extremely curious about how it would play out. I really did not know if Jan
My Lady Belowstairs(Emily Bryan)- 2 stars. This had decent relationship development for a short and I️ enjoyed this one a surprising bit. I️ also liked the twist at the end. However the blase way in which the aristocracy treated infidelity/liaisons in this story grossed me out. Overall a decent HR short.

The Longest Night (Jennifer Ashley)- I don't feel right rating this short since it's part of a series that I haven't read. I definitely would have enjoyed (or at least understood) it more had I r
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
The perfect read for the Holidays.

3 well written quick reads:
My Lady Below Stairs - Emily Bryan
The Longest Night - Jennifer Ashley
Traditions - Alissa Johnson
Fiction needs to have at least a kernel of truth that you can hold on to. A groom and scullery maid who both know how to waltz at a fashionable ball? And speak proper English? And how to properly conduct themselves in society? All without EVER having done so in the past? I DON’T THINK SO!

When I pick up a Regency Romance, I do not expect to read about a romance between a groom and a scullery maid. Damn it, there is a formula to these things, and authors should stick to it.

The first story in this
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it

4.25 of 5 Stars

You are cordially invited to Lord and Lady Hartwell’s festive “Christmas Ball” by Best selling author Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan, and Alissa Johnson. This ball is sure to be the toast of the Ton as all of the main characters (some of whom are not who they seem and didn’t have an invite) are sure to excite and titillate with their unique and sensuous escapades! And believe me when I tell you that you will be most glad that they did!

The book starts off with Emily Bryan’s “My Lady
Bobbie  Crawford
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical & Paranormal Romance Fans
A Christmas Ball
Written by: Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan & Alissa Johnson
Published by: Leisure Books
Date: September 29th, 2009
Pages: 336
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 978-0843962505

The first story in A Christmas Ball is My Lady Below Stairs by Emily Bryan. Emily’s characters are refreshing and unique and the witty dialog between them is just what I’ve come to expect and I have always loved about Emily’s writing.
Jane Tate, the illegitimate daughter of nobility, is coerced into impersonating h
Carolyn F.
Anthology. Better than average anthology.

My Lady Below Stairs by Emily Bryan. This story is about the below stairs staff which I loved. I'm kind of sick of the ton being about 20,000 people or so. Isn't ton 1000? Anyway, the bastard daughter of a her employer has been making kissy face with the groom. Her half sister (legitimate daughter) has run off with an artist and she's asked/blackmailed into showing up at a ball and accepting a proposal of marriage on her half-sister's behalf. The groom is
Tricia Schneider
There are 3 short stories in this Christmas anthology, but I must say that my favorite was the third, Alissa Johnson's "Traditions". It's a Regency-set romance where the heroine's father is considered mad. My grandmother suffered from dementia and the heroine's father displayed similar symptoms. I felt connected to the heroine since I knew the difficulty of living with a family member who would at times forget her name or who she was as well as other things. And the hero's compassion to the situ ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I give 4 stars to Traditions, by Alissa Johnson, but only 3 stars to Lady Below stairs by Emily Bryan. Jennifer Ashley’s short story wasn’t what I was expecting and I didn’t finish it. Maybe some day. Traditions is a really romantic novella, with intense moments and all the usual feelings a good romance brings upon you. I’ll look for more works from these authors. Jennifer Ashley will be forever redeemed if only for her Madness of Sir Ian Mackenzie and the rest of her Mackenzie’s world.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A trio of novellas, the one by Emily Bryan, My Lady Below Stairs, really stood out. Starring the servants, I read this one eagerly, caught up in the ambitions and interests of the servant class. After all the lords and ladies get dropped off at the ball, what DOES happen to the footmen, drivers, maids, etc. This look below stairs was the highlight of the book.
Dec 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the first and last stories. The middle was a bit off since it was #4 of a series.
Sharon Thurnell
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice read on a cool winters night. Three stories to curl up with. I enjoyed it.
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Three good romantic novellas that seem to culminate in a Christmas Ball hosted by the same Lord (Hartnell?)
Sandy M
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
If any of you read my reviews over the past holiday season, you’ll know I was on the search for a really feel-good Christmas story. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for at the time. When I was offered the chance to read A Christmas Ball by three terrific historical authors, I jumped at the chance, even though the holiday season was months ago. While these three novellas don’t quite embody the Christmas-y feeling I was after either, it truly doesn’t matter because they’re each so good. Th ...more
Customarily I find anthologies to be disappointing but I was charmed by all of these stories. In general they are no more lacking or engaging that most other novellas yet their plots and characters are a good degree different. It's hard to formulate a great story in 100ish pages but these three stories were entertaining, colorful, a little steamy and unconventional. I've also found two new authors to consume.

Solid 3.5/4 Stars

My Lady Below Stairs by Emily Bryan

This is my first Emily Bryan story a
Three stories, all told the night of the Hartwell Ball.
"My Lady Belowstairs" by Emily Bryan-For a short story, has a lot going on. Lady Sybil has disappeared on the night of her engagement, having run off with the man who just finished her portrait. Her lookalike, scullery maid half-sister has to step in and save the day. Oh, and her fiance has a lot of debts and must marry soon but his debts have been paid off by a woman who wants him in her bed. Ending is just a little too trite and sappy but
Jennifer Eckel
Nov 24, 2009 rated it liked it
I always like to read the romanatic Christmas anthologies. Three stories about one magic ball are presented here. I like these stories as they give me a chance to review new authors of romantic fiction. I can't say these three are going to be repeat reads. The first and third stories are passable. It is certainly an interesting take on the Regency/Romance to have a story about a scullery maid impersonating her sister for one special evening. Plot turns are interesting as all couples involved com ...more
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a cute book. None of the characters in the story are really related to each other, but somehow each couple ends up at the same Christmas ball at Hartwell House.

The first story was probably my least favorite, but was still pretty good. It was about a young woman who lives in the household of her father, but she is his bastard child, and is serving as a member of staff. She actually looks a great deal like his legitimate daughter, and is pressed into service to masquerade as her half sist
Linda C
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The common thread running through these three stories is Lord and Lady Hartwell's ball. The first deals with the disappearance of Lady Sybil Somerville the day before the ball at which she is to receive and accept Lord Eddleton's arranged proposal. Sybil's bastard half-sister who is a maid in the household is recruited to fill in. The main characters are Jane and her boyfriend Ian, the head groom. Different perspective from typical Regency romances. The second story is part of the Nvengaria seri ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Looks like I read this book in 2013. I am now on a cruise, and found it in the ships library, and because I love Jennifer Ashley, I decided to read it, and have no memory of it, although I usually remember books. I like anthologies where stories take place in the same place, but these had no overlap, as some of these anthologies do.
A weird thing about this edition is Ashley's story was listed first, though it actually came second. I read it first thinking there might be some overlap, but there
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This Regency Christmas anthology was, predictably, predictable on many levels, but did break some conventions. The first story is really a "below stairs" romance. The second story is the most conventional. The third is my favorite with an unconventional, endearing hero and a heroine who wears glasses, but, in fact, is not a "bluestocking."

I've noticed over the years that romances do keep pace with current societal issues. In the 70's there was a focus on "woman power," in the 90's a focus on tol
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
This is not a review of the entire book but solely on Jennifer Ashley’s story “The Longest Night” which is a sort-of epilogue to the Nvengarian series. I was interested in finding out what happens to Valentin and Mary, a relationship that started in “Highlander Ever After”. Unfortunately, this story didn't captivate me like some of Ms. Ashley's other stories. I felt that the plot was somewhat disjointed and lacked the descriptive power I’ve come to expect from her books. Mary often was annoyingl ...more
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Each approaches the Hartwells' Ball from different angles, for different reasons, and with mixed results, adding to the fun. Separately I think the stories have weak points that could handle more fleshing out, if that was possible, but as a whole overall, the three stories are a fun and diverting holiday read.

(for the full review please refer to Romance Reader at Heart)
Rebecca (everyday reader)
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
This is an easy, sweet Christmas read with three heartwarming stories. The first is a nice take on the Prince and the Pauper, where love is found and the poor relation finds her worth. The second is the fourth story of the Nvengarian series and Mary finally finds her love. The third is a good story of an Earl in the ton who's plans were changed and he bacame a better man for them, and the heroine realizes not every molehill turns into a mountain. Great read!!
Jul 21, 2011 rated it liked it
- "My Lady Below Stairs" by Emily Bryan - 1 star (though I liked the concept I didn't like the story or characters)

- "The Longest Night" by Jennifer Ashley - 3 stars

- "Traditions" by Alissa Johnson - 4 stars
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Book rating (average of three stories)= 2.5 stars

My Lady Below Stairs by Emily Bryan
2.5 stars

The Longest Night by Jennifer Ashley
2 stars

Traditions by Alissa Johnson
3 stars
Sooz Anzalone
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first two were the best of the lot, the third, was good, but the heroine was a bit wimpy, and given what she'd been through, I'd expected a bit more steel. However, it was a good read all in all. A perfect book to take to the beach or to spend a night in and read.
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Got this book for the Nvengaria story. I was really looking for to Mary and Valentin’s story. I was nice read but not amazing which I was kinda hoping for. Did have great HEA and finished series off well but I feel it kinda missed something.
Dec 02, 2009 rated it liked it
More Christmas fluff :)
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NY Times Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley writes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance, historical mysteries, and urban fantasy as Jennifer Ashley, Allyson James, and Ashley Gardner.

Jennifer's novels have been translated into many different languages, and earned starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher's Weekly. More about her books at and http://gard

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