I usually avoid writing reviews for multi-author box set’s because it is rare that I encounter one in which every story captures and holds my interest, as was the case with the CHRISTMAS BRIDES box set, featuring two of my favorite authors—Suzanne Enoch and Alexandra Hawkins—and two authors I’m just beginning to read—Elizabeth Essex and Valerie Bowman.

Relax on a silent night and dive into Christmas Brides, a lush historical holiday anthology featuring a brand-new story from USA Today bestselling author Alexandra Hawkins. And back by popular demand from last Christmas, previously published One Hot Scot, The Scandal Before Christmas, and It Happened Under the Mistletoe are back to deck the halls in this sensual Christmas collection.

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?

Although I had already read and reviewed Suzanne Enoch’s, ONE HOT SCOT, a while back it was a real pleasure to re-visit Julia and Duncan’s story again. Here is a snippet from that review…

ONE HOT SCOT is the best kind of “quickie”.  It’s romantic, steamy, fast paced and completely satisfying.

Julia and Duncan’s romance may be hurried along—as is the case with most novellas—but it sustains a realistic quality in keeping with Christmas miracles and the meeting of  pre-destined soul mates where extended courtships need not apply.”

CHRISTMAS BRIDES is perfect, for just that!

I was super-excited to see that Alexandra Hawkins, ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS SCANDAL, was connected to her fabulous Lords of Vice series and re-visiting some its beloved characters was simply wonderful. The fact that Emily and Derrick’s whirlwind romance was very witty and entertaining all on its own, was the delicious icing on the cake.

THE SCANDAL BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Elizabeth Essex was a sweet interlude with a more laid back feel to it than the other stories in this set. Meaning…that the story had a beautiful quiet, emotional beauty to it that made it stand out—for me—as a gentle awakening of romance versus the more “love/lust at first sight” feeling in the others. I was really impressed and will definitely be adding more of Ms. Essex’s stories to my library.

IT HAPPENED UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Valerie Bowman, took me by surprise. Having never read any of Ms. Bowman’s previous works I did not expect to become so completely enchanted before finishing the first chapter. I laughed myself silly during the introductory paragraphs and fell under the spell of Oliver and Cerian’s story so completely that I never noticed the sun had risen and I had read the night away. Simply Fabulous! I can’t wait to go back and read the connecting stories and I’m sure I’ll be seeking Ms. Bowman’s work out again as new releases arrive on the shelves.

So, if you are looking for a great set of stories to get you in the holiday spirit and embrace your inner Christmas cupid, then look no further. CHRISTMAS BRIDES is perfect, for just that!

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About the Reviewer

Teresa Spreckelmeyer
Teresa St. Mary - Teresa, is a wearer of many hats (figuratively) including, mother, wife, graphic designer, event planner, web developer and a self-admitted, avid reader of historical romance novels. Although Teresa is a “small town girl” (again, figuratively) from Missouri, through her various workings with clients and events, in and out of the west coast entertainment industry, she laughingly refers to Los Angeles as her second home. Teresa has produced marketing design work for actors, directors, writers and film studios, among others and played a strong behind-the-scenes role in the creation of entertainment oriented, fundraising events in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas over the past nine years.