Release Date: Sep 28, 2021
Heat Level: Sensual/Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
Mistletoe Christmas is a compilation of four stories, each revolving around the Duke of Greystoke’s annual holiday house party, the Revelry. It is known for bringing together the most influential people of England and is the most important event outside of the Season.
The first story, A Mistletoe Kiss by Eloisa James, involves the Duke of Greystoke’s daughter, Cressida (Cressie), and Lord Darcy de Royleston (Elias). On his deathbed, the Duke secures a promise from his nephew, his heir, to continue with the Revelry for 10 more years. Cressie, who is the actual brains behind the Revelry, does not want to continue. Cressie would rather find a husband, even though she has not been afforded a season and has not had much male attention. The nephew’s best friend, Elias, is looking for a wife and decides to consider Cressie.
I found this story to be quite charming. The characters are likeable, and I found myself rooting for them. Even though this is a short story, the author does a good job allowing the characters feelings to develop. It doesn’t feel rushed or forced. There is one sex scene. It’s not particularly graphic, much more focused on emotions than the physical act, so it scores a Sensual on the heat scale. I highly recommend this story and I rate it as a 4.5.
The second story, Wishing Under the Mistletoe by Christi Caldwell, involves one of the Duke’s granddaughters, Lady Isabelle Wilkshire, and her once fiancé, Mr. Cyrus Hill. Isabelle cut off her engagement with Cyrus when she felt he was more interested in his work than with starting a life with her. She left and pursued her passion for writing plays. Ten years later, Isabelle is invited to attend and produce the pantomime for the Revelry. It also happens that Cyrus, who had become successful as an investment manager, is invited to attend with his friend, the future heir to the dukedom. Isabelle and Cyrus are assigned to work together on the pantomime.
I enjoyed the author’s writing style and storytelling. The characters were interesting and not the typical lord or lady. However, the idea that these characters would suddenly acknowledge their faults and responsibilities in their break-up, 10 years after the fact, and in a matter of days be completely able to forgive and forget is unrealistic. There is one sex scene in this story. More time is spent telling of the emotions surrounding this act that the actual sex itself. I give this story a classification of Sensual on the heat scale. I would give this story a 3.5 rating, pretty good but some minor problems.
The third story, Compromise Under the Mistletoe by Janna MacGregor, involves Caroline Whitmore, niece of the Duke of Greystoke, and Lord Stephen. After a year of marriage, and feeling ignored, Caroline left Stephen and moved to London. A year later, Caroline would like to gain her trust fund money and must convince her Uncle, the Duke of Greystoke, that she and Stephen have reunited.
This was a pretty good story. The characters were relatable, and the author did a good job of bringing empathy for them. She also did a good job of telling how the characters begin to see one another’s perspectives. This story has one sex scene which is quite descriptive, therefore it earns a score of Hot on the heat scale. I liked this story a lot and give it a rating of 4.5.
The fourth story, Mischief & Mistletoe by Erica Ridley, is the story of Miss Louisa Harcourt and Mr. Ewan Reid. As neighbors of the Duke of Greystoke, Louisa and her mother receive an invitation every year to the Revelry. At this year’s event, her mother is determined for her daughter to find a husband. Louisa reluctantly agrees although she would prefer to spend her time writing poetry. Surprisingly, Louisa is drawn to a gentleman known as a poet. Ewan keeps to himself, portraying the image of the brooding poet, but he is not what he seems to be.
This story was the frustrating for me to read. I disliked Ewan and it made it difficult to enjoy. While behaving in a manner to assist a family member, Ewan did awful things. It was also quite unbelievable that Louisa, who had suffered from the Ewan’s past actions, was able to simply forgive and forget in a matter of a hours. There is one sex scene in this story. It is short and not very detailed. I give this story a heat score of Sensual. The story I give a score of 3.