The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection – Review

victorianbridesby C.J. Chase, Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Vanessa Riley, Lorna Seilstad, and Erica Vetsch

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (September 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1683227190
ISBN-13: 978-1683227199

Purchase from Amazon

Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love?

Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley
1837 Framlingham, England
How can widow Ophelia Hanover give her son a perfect Christmas when his guardian, the Earl of Litton, arrives early to take permeant custody of the boy?

One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase
1855 Devonshire, England
Wounded soldier Tristram Nowell returns home to indulge his mother’s wish for a family Christmas—and encounters Marianna Granville. Can he forgive the former heiress who jilted him years before?

Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher
1857 Elmira, New York
SarahAnn Winnifred overcomes orphanhood apprenticing with pioneering doctors. Rufus Sedgwick, relocating his English estate, seeks help for his ailing Mum. Christmas reveals the secret wish of both hearts—for love.

The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan
When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew for help.

Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze
1875 County Durham, England
This Yuletide, Bennet Hett, Viscount Harwood, offers Lady Celeste Sidwell matrimony and the Star of Wonder diamond necklace, as their fathers arranged. When the diamond disappears, will they find a greater treasure?

Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad
Chicago, Christmas 1880
Widowed harpist Beatrix Kent believes love can only come once in a lifetime, but this Christmas, carpenter Hugo Sherman hopes to pull on the musician’s heartstrings and prove her wrong.

The Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch
1880s London
Melisande Verity might be in over her head trying to create the perfect Christmas window display, but if she succeeds, will she finally attract the attention of her boss, Gray Garamond?

A Christmas Vow by Gabrielle Meyer
London, England, Christmas 1899
Lady Ashleigh Pendleton is hosting a houseful of guests for Christmas when railroad executive Christopher Campbell unexpectedly arrives from America with a mysterious agreement signed by their fathers before their birth.

The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach
1900. Small town along the Potomac near Washington DC
A glass ornament. Love letters tied in red Christmas ribbon. Lily Morningstar and British antiquities expert Andrew Stapleton are drawn into a family secret that binds their hearts together.


This is a collection of 9 stories of romance that take place at Christmas time during the Victorian era. Overall it was a very enjoyable read that I would recommend.  My favorite story from the collection was Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley.

 

One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase

Marianna Granville is the companion to Tristram Nowell’s aunt. Tristram is not happy to see Marianna again because he believes that she turned down his proposal years ago because she wanted to please her father and marry for money.  After the financial ruin and death of her father, Marianna and Tristram’s positions have now reversed but does their love remain after all these years?

This story reminds us that we should know all the facts in a situation and we shouldn’t hold on to grudges.

I liked the use of switching between time periods. It helped keep the novella moving along at a great pace.

I found some scenes in this story that reminded me of Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

 
Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze

Lady Celeste Sidwell and Bennet Hett, Lord Harwood, are to have a marriage arranged by their fathers unless they are able to stop it. They both have work they want to continue before even considering marriage and they hardly know each other.  Will solving a mystery bring them closer together?

I liked the characters in this story.  There was some predictability in the plot but it was still an enjoyable read.

 
The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach

Lily Morningstar is an aspiring writer. Andrew Stapleton is an expert in antiquities. They have been anonymously writing to each other for a year. Now they want to work together to figure out who wrote some love letters that Lily found.

Lily seems more in love with having a Christmas wedding with holly, ivy, and candles, than with an actual marriage or husband. Their relationship also seems pretty superficial. Lily seems flaky and acts like a child.

I just couldn’t get into the story and didn’t feel invested in the characters.

 
Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher

“It isn’t my home.  It’s just where I live.”

SarahAnn Winnifred is training to be a doctor and Rufus Sedgwick’s mother is her patient. The Sedwicks had to leave England for Elmira, New York and Rufus is rebuilding their English home there for his mother.

Misunderstandings and communication are major issues in this story. SarahAnn and Rufus almost lost a chance to be together because they misunderstood and didn’t communicate. They also both misjudged each other when they first met. Rufus also almost missed a relationship with his father because of a misunderstanding.

SarahAnn grew up in an orphanage and didn’t have a family. Once a week she returns to care for the orphans.

Some of my favorite scenes were with the orphans, especially the three brothers.

I like the connection that we are never orphans though God’s adoption.

 
A Christmas Vow by Gabrielle Meyer

During the first Christmas without her mother, Lady Ashleigh Arrington must play the perfect host even though she feels she lacks elegance refinement and sophistication.

Her hosting abilities are tested when Christopher Campbell returns from her past. Christopher is an American whose family was friends with her mother.  Eleven years earlier he liked to play tricks on her and set a fire, almost burning down the house.

In their youth, their mothers agreed to an arranged marriage for their children and to get out of it they must be engaged or married by that Christmas Eve.

I liked the childhood stories and wish there were more of them. I also would have liked this novella to be longer, then their falling in love wouldn’t have been so fast.

 
The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Eugenie Mott is expected to marry Horace Ontevreden who is over 20 years her senior. Before a commitment is made, Eugenie’s father dies.

Percy Gladstone is a barrister whose family is unexpectedly visiting him for Christmas.

There were too many characters and too many things going on. It seemed like there were a ton of side characters briefly mentioned that may be from other side stories. (I confirmed this after reading the book)

I wasn’t really invested in any of the characters.

I did like that some of the story was based on real historical events.

 
Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley

Geoffrey Landson, Lord Litton, comes to collect his ward Joshua from his widow mother, Ophelia Hanover, right before Christmas

Before Ophelia married her husband, she shared a past with his cousin Geoffrey.  Geoffrey kissed Ophelia on a dare but she believed he never really loved her.  Now years later he is back to claim her son and his ward after her husband’s death.  Both must search their feelings from the past or lose a future together.

Geoffrey was always reckless and willing to be dared to do anything until his most recent dare almost costs him his life. Now he has vowed to turn that life around.

I found this story very interesting and I liked the characters.

I also thought how the paper stars were used at the end was cute.

 
Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad

Hugh Sherman’s daughter is taking music lessons from the widow Beatrix Kent. As Beatrix’s feelings for Hugh grow, she must decide if she is willing to lose what she loves for him.

This story is about characters who hold on to anger from the past and blame others. It also is about deciding if people are worth more to you than things.

I don’t like when people suddenly compare their late spouse to their current love interest, and they always seem so negative about the late spouse.

I thought it was funny that Hugh seemed so intimidated by picking out a doll for his daughter Clara.

Overall this was a cute story.

 
The Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch

Melisande Verity is the department head for chocolates and confections. She is chosen to do the stores Christmas window display even though most believe a young woman can’t do it justice. As Melisande’s boss’s grandson, Gray Garamond oversees the work on the display.

Gray’s biggest concern is making a profit which he believes is more important than people.

There was a chasm between the two and Melisande felt she was putting on a false persona when she was in Gray’s world.

I had never heard the name Melisande and it wouldn’t roll off my tongue.  I would pause every time I got to her name until I changed her name to Melissa in my head.

I enjoyed this story but I wish they had a little more of a connection.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s