Regency Christmas Magic by Amanda McCabe, Allison Lane, Edith Layton, Barbara Metzger, Sandra Heath
As I do every Christmas, I just had to indulge in a good sappy Christmas read. I always make it a point to read at least one Regency Christmas romance during the Christmas season. Although I will admit I sometimes indulge in one of my Christmas books in the middle of summer!
This particular book was a mixed bag. I find this often happens with short story anthologies. Overall, I’d say the book was “ok”. I liked it, but speaking generally of the book, it didn’t exactly take my breath away. That said, certain stories within the anthology were great and I really enjoyed them.
My one complaint about this book was that it really took the whole “Christmas Magic” thing to heart. I wasn’t thinking in terms of “real” magic when I picked the book up. I thought the magic in the title referred more to an improbable match that worked out more than the whole concept of magic and fairies, etc. Not generally something that I would associate with the Christmas season.
The first short story in the book was “Upon a Midnight Clear” by Amanda McCabe. Now I truly enjoyed this story about two lonely souls, one far from home and the other suffering the after effects of a major trauma that left him scarred for life. I’m a sucker for sad characters like Captain Payne. And an even bigger sucker for happy endings where the downtrodden find happiness.
The second story was “The Ultimate Magic” by Allison Lane. This story really didn’t appeal to me. The whole story seemed a bit contrived and was rather forced. Throughout the story the leads really didn’t seem to see each other as a love interest. There was no spark. Then suddenly, in an effort to finish the story in the allotted space, they declared their love and found themselves in a passionate embrace. Huh? Where did that come from? It just sort of blindsided me. This story could have been left out of the anthology and it would have been fine.
The third story was “The Two Dancing Daughters” by Edith Layton. This story I liked. Again, we have a wounded male lead who ends up happy by the end of the story. The story itself was a little far fetched. I found the supporting character of the father to be a bit unbelievable and the ending of the story was a bit contrived, but I don’t want to give anything away by discussing that. Truthfully, the things I didn’t like about the story didn’t detract enough from the things I did like to make me give it a low rating.
The fourth story was “The Enchanted Earl” by Barbara Metzger. This story wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. I’m a sucker for any “remake” of the Beauty and the Beast story so I enjoyed this story simply because it was a different take on Beauty and the Beast.
And the last story was “Green Gauze Gown” by Sandra Heath. I really can’t say I liked this story. It was OK, but it really didn’t resonate with me. I found that surprising since there was another wounded male lead in this story as well. I think what detracted from this story was the whole fairy thing. Had that been left out, I think I would have enjoyed the story much more. I just found it much too far fetched. Especially the ending about the dress. That was really the deal breaker for me. Again, I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t go into more detail.
All in all, the book is fine for a quick read. However, there are better collections of Christmas short stories out there. I would skip this book and try something else if you’re interested in a truly satisfying holiday read.