Summary (in italics) and review: (These stories were really short - 4 stories within 135 pages, so my reviews will be short because there is not a lot to tell.)
Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?
The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen
1803- Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?
I liked that the two MCs were older and shared a history that included the French Revolution. It is not a strict HEA, but the ending was a definite promising HFN. This story really helped to set up Lady Winterson's annual Christmas Ball (the thread that links the stories). 3.5 stars.
One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly
1818- Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.
I liked this book, but it took some getting used to the female MC until the author showed us her POV, then the story really clicked for me. 3.5 stars
His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell
1825- At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.
I didn't like this story at all. The female MC was very inconsistent - she was more than willingly to accept being the Lord's mistress, but when he proposed, she made him go through hoops to show/prove his love. Also, I am not a fan of Cinderella-types unless it is in a fantasy genre; in romance, the rich MC usually comes across as a savior, making the relationship seem off-balance. 0 stars.
The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble
1830- Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson's Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up...
This was an unexpected, but happily taken, surprise. I have heard interviews with Ms. Noble and really enjoyed her talking about writing (both literature and for the screen). This story was a nice ending to the anthology; I enjoyed Philbert and Lady Winterson's relationship development more than the two MCs. 3.5 stars.
You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?
Overall: 3 stars. Enjoyable while reading, but nothing that stays with you after you close the book.