ARC Review: How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Joanna Shupe and Sophie Jordan

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ARC Review: How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Joanna Shupe and Sophie Jordan
Book Info

Released: October 15 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 477

Recommended Read!

“…if you are ready to get in the holiday spirit look no further.”
~ Under the Covers

It’s that time of year.  The weather is changing and I’m ready to get into the holiday spirit!  One of my favorite books to read this time are holiday books and historical romances are the understated choice.  The small town contemporaries and cowboys get all the glitz and glamour (I blame Hallmark) but there’s something endearing and sweet about a holiday historical romance.  Enter this anthology.  First of all, I had to read it because Tessa Dare writes some of the best holiday novellas you’ll find.  These three stories have a common factor revolving magical shortbread.

“Meet Me in Mayfair” by Tessa Dare – 4 Stars

“I tell you,” Kat said, “this marrying scheme is balderdash. If I were the eldest, I’d be carrying out a different plan tonight.”
Maggie sighed. “We’ve discussed this. Murdering the duke is not a plan.”
“Of course it isn’t,” Kat replied. “Murdering the duke is an objective. A plan requires specifics. A concealed pistol. A hidden dagger. Poison-tipped darts.”
“Shortbread,” Louisa suggested.

Kicking things off with the reason why I decided to read this.  A Duke is in London to settle some of his business, including evicting some tenants from his city properties before returning home.  Louisa Ward needs to find a husband in order to save her family from ending up without a home.  But as luck, or the holiday spirit turns out, she finds the very Duke evicting them.  This is everything charming and romantic I’ve come to expect from Ms. Dare.  I gobbled it up without stopping.

“The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean – 3.5 Stars

…he was struck with twin emotions — a desperate desire to hear what she had to say and abject terror that she was about to tell him that he was too late and she had chosen another.

I don’t remember having read Sarah MacLean before so this may be my first.  While I also enjoyed this story and it was sweet an charming as well, I found myself a little less connected.  The Duke of Allryd has loved Lady Jacqueline (aka Jack) since they were young.  But it’s been 12 years since she’s been gone.  Decisions that were made affected the course of both of their lives and now it’s time for that second chance.  I just wanted a little more and at times I found this fell into the miscommunication category.

“Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan – 4 Stars

Damnation…Perhaps he wasn’t decent. After all, he’d brought this lass here. He’d put a soon-to-be-nun in his bed and he’d done things to her no one should ever do to a virtuous woman with such holy aspirations. She was right. He was not a decent man because he wanted to continue right where they’d left off this morning and corrupt the hell out of her.

Ah but there’s nothing better than a sexy Laird.  Wait… being stranded, snowbound, alone in his castle for the holidays.  Annis family rushes to England for the holidays from their home in Scotland and they don’t realize they’ve left her behind.  It’s not safe for her to stay alone with thieves running around.  I really enjoyed these two! They had great chemistry and the story was cute and entertaining.  I’ve only read Ms. Jordan in other genres so this was my first attempt at her historical romances and it won’t be my last.

“Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe – 4 Stars

She was having a hard time remembering why kissing him was a terrible idea.
Inhaling, she tried to shake her head despite his gentle grip. “I am not one of those women.…”
He swept an errant strand of hair behind her ear. “I know—and that is not why I am here. This is not some sort of a game or passing fancy to me. Quite the opposite. You are remarkable, Rose. Unlike any woman I’ve ever met.” He gave a dry chuckle. “In fact, if this were a century or two ago, I might challenge your husband for you.”
Her chest tightened but she strove to keep the mood light. “Pistols at dawn?”

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this one.  It’s my first time reading Joanna Shupe, but also my first time reading this particular setting (both time and place).  Duke Havemeyer is the owner of the paper and single Miss Rose Walker is actually the real person behind the pen name Mrs. Walker, the married socialite advice columnist that seems to be the biggest hit his publication has.  Now, after a big scandal, he needs her help in charming the board to keep his position and wants her to host a dinner party for them.  Shouldn’t be a problem for a woman of her standing.  Except she now has to face all the lies she’s created around her persona.  And fight the supposedly wrong attraction they feel for each other.  This was probably one of my faves from this anthology.  It was so much fun!  And different.  Plus packed full of holiday spirit.  I’ll be reading more of this author as well.

So as you can see, if you are ready to get in the holiday spirit look no further.  HOW THE DUKES STOLE CHRISTMAS will warm your heart and leave you with a smile on your face.


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  1. Oh how I wish my favorite authors would include their novellas in other books of their own. Maybe at a later date.

  2. Awesome review Francesca!!! Beautiful cover and the stories sound good too!! Shared on all my socials!!??

  3. sounds fair. I love all of the authors. expected a little more. especially for the price tag–it’s a really expensive book for an anthology of novellas.

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