by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie, Susan King, Cara Elliott, Nicola Cornick
Genres: Historical Romance
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Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Hall is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year… A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor—amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There’s the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight—or be wed to another….the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her…a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude …a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays…
The Last Chance Christmas Ball is an anthology featuring eight stories told by some of our favorite Regency Romance authors. Jo Beverley begins with a prologue as The Dowager Countess of Holbourne, Lady Holly and her companion are writing out invitations for her annual Christmas Ball. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the event. Some folks refer to this as the Last Chance Christmas Ball as they hope to find true love or rekindle old flames. All of the stories take place at or around Lady Holly’s Ball. At well over 400 pages, this delightful collection has a romance for everyone.
- My True Love Hath My Heart by Joanna Bourne – This is a second chance romance involving a jewelry maker and a nobleman. She doesn’t think she is worthy but when he aids her in seeking revenge he may just get a second chance. A sweet story that offered interesting side stories as well.
- A Scottish Carol by Susan King-offered a second chance romance between a widowed woman and a wounded college professor. Henry was a student to Clary’s father the doctor. When he asked permission for her hand, her father refused. Clary was forced to wed another but fate has brought them together again.
- Christmas Larks by Patricia Rice – a man returning home injured discovers his home has been sold to an old childhood friend. The romance was fast paced and not a favorite but I must say I loved the mice.
- In the Bleak Midwinter by Mary Jo Putney – This was one of my favorites about a young couple who were in love. Kim goes off to war but returns injured and refuses to see Roxie, until she decides she must see him.
- Old Flames Dance by Cara Elliott- This tale involves Lily, returned from India who hopes to see Edward her childhood crush. Edward is Kim’s brother and it was nice to see him find happiness.
- A Season for Marriage by Nicola Cornick- Another sibling, Caroline sister to Edward and Kim and her marriage to Piers. Can they rekindle the flames after she forced him into marriage?
- Miss Finch and the Angel by Jo Beverley- After meeting Clio in the prologue I was hoping she would find her happy. She is the companion to Lady Howard and has caught the eye of a handsome Duke.
- Mistletoe and Kisses by Anne Gracie -Allie’s financial situation is dire. She will be forced to stay at home as a servant or find work outside the home. The Ball offers her escape before she begins work as a teacher, but it seems fate has other plans when she finds herself traveling in the company of Lord Kelsey and his sister.
All of the tales in The Last Chance Christmas Ball were delightful, some like In the Bleak of Winter were five cups of coffee worthy and others were sold threes, making this collection a winner. I loved the idea of the Second Chance Ball and seeing all the characters find their chance at happiness.