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Review – Christmas Brides by Suzanne Enoch, Alexandra Hawkins, Elizabeth Essex, Valerie Bowman

Christmas BridesPublisher: St. Martin’s
Publish Date: September 30th
How I got this book: From Publisher

A collection of previously published Christmas e-novellas…

One Hot Scot by Suzanne Enoch

Duncan Lenox lives surrounded by enemies, a MacLawry in a land of Campbells. But when an English beauty has nowhere else to turn, he feels obligated to help. Now that they must spend a night together in an abandoned cottage while a storm rages on, will their mutual passion save—or doom—them both?

Once Upon a Christmas Scandal by Alexandra Hawkins

Lady Ellen is outraged when she learns her dowry’s been increased by her dad, eager to draw every bachelor in England to her front door. So when Lord Swainsbury comes knocking, Ellen assumes he’s another dreadful fortune hunter. Little does she know that Swainsbury has completely fallen for her—body, heart, and soul…

The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea. Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, so she accepts Ian’s hasty offer only for the security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm rolls in, things start to heat up between them…and they might just find true, honest-to-goodness love…

It Happened Under the Mistletoe by Valerie Bowman

Oliver Townsende intends to avoid the hordes of marriage-minded misses at a friend’s holiday party. When he meets Miss Cerian Blake, who’s dodging her own unwanted set of admirers, the two decide to join forces and fake an infatuation to keep their suitors at bay. But when mistletoe becomes involved, will their Christmastime prank turn into a love to last all seasons?
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I’ve been glomming historical romances lately, so when a copy of Christmas Brides arrived in my mailbox, I was anxious to read and see what these great authors would have in store for me.

ONE HOT SCOT by Suzanne Enoch

I thought this was a really cute little story, but not without some problems. Julia is running for a man who wants nothing more than to make her his, regardless of their feelings for each other. Julia runs before her reputation can be ruined and is saved by a rival clansman, Duncan. Duncan is instantly attracted to Julia and willing to help her, despite the fight she might bring to his doorstep.

This novella definitely felt like it had a really rushed HEA. Given the page count, I wasn’t exactly surprised by how quickly these two tumbled into bed and exchanged their “I love yous,” however, I did feel that they came too quickly for the story. I wanted a little more time for them to be a couple before they went devoting their everlasting love for one another.
I give ONE HOT SCOT a C+

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS SCANDAL by Alexandra Hawkins

Lady Ellen is furious at her father for increasing her dowry and trying to marry her off before he dies, especially since it brings out the most ridiculous suitors. But Swainsbury catches her eye amongst the men swarming her, and although his motives are less-than-stellar, Lady Ellen doesn’t seem to care each time they get a few moments alone together.

I really enjoyed this story. It had a great little mystery plot that tied in well with the overall romance, that detracted from the short and rushed nature of the novella. I liked that it took Hawkins time to reveal Swainsbury’s true intentions and took time to focus on the romance in a way that made the short timeline feel not as rushed as other novellas I’ve read.
I give ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS SCANDAL a B

THE SCANDAL BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Elizabeth Essex

Ian loves his position in the military, and having his father come and threaten him with a wife is the last thing he needs. Ian’s desperate to find his own wife, who can live with his being gone often, before his father demands he marry some socialite. Anne is shy and seems perfect for him. What starts as a proposal of convenience soon turns into so much more than either expected.

I thought this story was rather adorable. Again, the HEA was a bit rushed, but for some reason I had an easier time believing in the romance, possibly because Ian and Anne spent much of their relationship hashing out exactly what they wanted in a partner. I thought they were both super sweet main characters, and I was rooting for them to find common ground and their HEA together.
I give THE SCANDAL BEFORE CHRISTMAS B+

IT HAPPENED UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Valerie Bowman

Oliver and Cerian aren’t looking to be followed around by their never-ending suitors, and instead team up and fake an attraction to keep everyone else at bay. But the more they get caught together under the mistletoe and lock lips, the more the actual attraction builds until neither can deny their feelings for one another.

This story had a bit of a rushed HEA as well. That being said, I thought the setup for this novella was absolutely wonderful and so well executed. I loved the way Cerian and Oliver kept thwarting their suitors at every turn, and how they continued to come together and realize how much they enjoyed one another’s company. I thought their romance was sweet and darling.
I give IT HAPPENED UNDER THE MISTLETOE a B-

All in all, I enjoyed this collection of short historical novellas. They were a good mix, and overall the stories were quick and fun reads. For me, historical novellas seem so much shorter than contemporary or paranormal stories. But either way, they were enjoyable to read.
I give CHRISTMAS BRIDES B

By MinnChica

MinnChica can usually be found with her nose in a book (or nook), and can ALWAYS find a few minutes to read: stuck at a red light, sitting in the doctors office, on her lunch break. She's so addicted to reading that her family frequently threatens to host an intervention. Currently MinnChica is devouring every romance book she can get her hands on, especially ones that feature 'friends to lovers' stories. Some of her favorite authors currently are Ilona Andrews, Jill Myles, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh and Susan Mallery.

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