Cheesecake's Reviews > Christmas Brides

Christmas Brides by Cheryl Bolen
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A boxset of Christmas Novellas by Cheryl Bolen
Each is about a man who has taken a woman for granted for various reasons, only to realize their error.
Each story is less than 100 pages.
No sex (bummer), just kissing, but sweet and not too angsty.

His Christmas Wish 2.5 stars
Anna and William. Their father's were best friends, but Anna's father was more of a father to William than his own. And so William has grown up of thinking Anna (8 years his junior) as a sister, while she grew to view him as anything BUT a brother. She is constantly hurt over the years with his indifference to her as a woman. Then her father's dying wish is that they marry for Xmas. So they do...
I can't say as I found his change in heart/desire compelling. He was so resolutely sincere in his view of her as a little sister in the first half of the story, and his about face was so quick, that it seemed unfair. I would have enjoyed it more if he'd had to work to make her believe his new devotion to her.

Home For Christmas 2 stars
David and Cathy and her fluff-brained self-absorbed sister, Elizabeth.
David returns from the Napoleonic wars after 6 long years hoping to find Elizabeth, the love of his youth, still open to his suit. But first he happens upon her younger sister, Cathy, who was but a girl of 13 when he left.
Again, I find I am unconvinced that Cathy isn't second best. We are treated to his thoughts of lust for Elizabeth but for Cathy we only get thoughts about what a super nice charitable girl she is.
When asked twice about his feelings for Cathy, he says that he thinks of her like a sister. He stares at Elizabeth with desire through 90% of the story, even while admitting that she is a shallow uncharitable person. Granted, he has had an image of her as the perfect woman in his head for 6 years... but it was off-putting. Elizabeth plays with his affections at the same time she does a wealthy visiting lord's. She is completely unaware of her sister's desires.
I had to ponder why this story wasn't romantically convincing. I think it has to do with his realization that he loves Cathy and not Elizabeth happening apart from any of the other characters. People that he had lead to believe he cared for Elizabeth instead. So the reader never gets to see the Elizabeth's reaction to him NOT pandering to her every whim and mooning over her instead of Cathy.
There is a brief epilogue a year later with him and Cathy and Elizabeth and her husband (the wealthy lord) having Christmas dinner together. But it was perfunctory and unconvincing as well. A case of the author telling and not showing.

Christmas at Farley Manor 3 stars
This one was the most romantic of the 3 but still kinda dull.
He's an army captain and she's a preacher's daughter left penniless and homeless. He has a baby that his mistress died giving birth to that needs a home. He marries her thinking he is going to die anyways, and here's a ready-made mother for his bastard. Surprisingly this part of the story didn't bother me. I never felt that he cared deeply for the actress/mistress. A couple years later she finds out he is actually an aristocrat which makes her a lady. The story is her meeting his family for the first time and then meeting him again for the second time shortly thereafter. Awkward.
I did enjoy it but found it dragged a bit. The only real difficulty was her inability to see herself as the wife of an aristocrat. I was hoping for more of a 'getting acquainted' story.
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Reading Progress

May 2, 2018 – Shelved
May 2, 2018 – Shelved as: tolisten-wanted
May 2, 2018 – Shelved as: book-free-or-on-sale
May 2, 2018 – Shelved as: kindle-books
May 2, 2018 – Shelved as: anthologies-and-boxsets
May 2, 2018 – Shelved as: story-christmas
July 21, 2018 – Shelved as: tolisten-audio
October 27, 2018 – Started Reading
October 28, 2018 –
60.0% "70% into 2nd story and i dont see how the author could ever convince me that cathy isnt forever 2nd best to her sister in david's eyes. I mean who wants to be lauded as the smsrter more charitable sister?? Plus why does cathy care so much for a sister who is so completely insensitive to her feelings? Sheesh!"
November 8, 2018 – Shelved as: audio-reader-good
November 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

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