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How the Dukes Stole Christmas

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Christmas magic is in the air... From the ballrooms of London, to abandoned Scottish castles, to the snowy streets of Gilded Age New York, four bestselling authors whip up some unforgettable romance...with a little help from some enchanted shortbread. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball t Christmas magic is in the air... From the ballrooms of London, to abandoned Scottish castles, to the snowy streets of Gilded Age New York, four bestselling authors whip up some unforgettable romance...with a little help from some enchanted shortbread. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless--and unexpectedly handsome--Thorndale himself. Now the duke's holding her future in his hands...and he's not letting go. "The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm--the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can't resist the woman he never stopped loving...or the future that had once been in reach. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay...but if ever there were a time for miracles, it's Christmas... "Heiress Alone" by Sophie Jordan When Annis Bannister's family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss ... until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms. "Christmas in Central Park" by Joanna Shupe Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker's weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column's author, can't even boil water. When the paper's owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing--especially when Duke's attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love?


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Christmas magic is in the air... From the ballrooms of London, to abandoned Scottish castles, to the snowy streets of Gilded Age New York, four bestselling authors whip up some unforgettable romance...with a little help from some enchanted shortbread. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball t Christmas magic is in the air... From the ballrooms of London, to abandoned Scottish castles, to the snowy streets of Gilded Age New York, four bestselling authors whip up some unforgettable romance...with a little help from some enchanted shortbread. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless--and unexpectedly handsome--Thorndale himself. Now the duke's holding her future in his hands...and he's not letting go. "The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm--the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can't resist the woman he never stopped loving...or the future that had once been in reach. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay...but if ever there were a time for miracles, it's Christmas... "Heiress Alone" by Sophie Jordan When Annis Bannister's family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss ... until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms. "Christmas in Central Park" by Joanna Shupe Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker's weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column's author, can't even boil water. When the paper's owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing--especially when Duke's attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love?

30 review for How the Dukes Stole Christmas

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah MacLean

    Three gorgeous novellas from three of my favorite writers...and a fourth from me! Merry merry!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    2.5 Stars, rounded up due primarily to my obsession for everything Tessa Dare writes :) Argh, I hate being the lone grinch who's less than enamored with this anthology, but I just wasn't nearly as engaged and enchanted as I'd hoped. I tend to love novellas since I often lack the patience for the drawn out miscommunications and repetitiveness that longer romance novels bring us. Honestly, though, I found the last two of these four stories tedious even as novellas and can't imagine finishing them i 2.5 Stars, rounded up due primarily to my obsession for everything Tessa Dare writes :) Argh, I hate being the lone grinch who's less than enamored with this anthology, but I just wasn't nearly as engaged and enchanted as I'd hoped. I tend to love novellas since I often lack the patience for the drawn out miscommunications and repetitiveness that longer romance novels bring us. Honestly, though, I found the last two of these four stories tedious even as novellas and can't imagine finishing them if they'd been full-length novels. Another thing I often appreciate about anthologies is how the separate stories are clearly or subtly connected. In this case, the only commonality is that each one mentioned shortbread, which...really?! 1. Tessa Dare's novella was written with her usual sparkly, breezy yet intelligent prose, featuring another one of her clever, inspiring heroines and another surly, initially rude yet ultimately decent hero. The ballroom scene between Louisa and James reminded me a lot of Darcy and Elizabeth's infamous first dance in Pride and Prejudice. The story was sweet and mildly humorous (albeit not as witty as most of her longer work) and had a few well-written lines that I highlighted on my Kindle, but even as a huge and probably biased Tessa Dare fan, I can't claim this was among her most memorable and impactful pieces of work. 4/5 stars 2. Objectively, Sarah Maclean's story was extremely well-written and had more depth, insight and substance than one can usually expect from a holiday novella. For whatever strange reason, though, I just didn't fully fall in love with her characters. This might be a story that improves with a second reading for me, because there really is a lot to love about it, especially for those who love second chance romances. 3.5/5 Warning: this is where I get more Grinch-y :) 3. I can't recall whether I've read Sophie Jordan before, but this definitely didn't inspire me to search for her other books. The premise was kind of a 19th century "Home Alone", only involving a sensible yet (of course) plucky heroine and a---you guessed it---grumpy duke and a nearly deserted Scottish castle. Cue highway men and mayhem. This was actually the story I'd been looking forward to most: I'm weirdly obsessed with stories set in castles, and I love the element of mystery/suspense/adventure that the addition of highway men promised to provide. The actual writing made it impossible for me to get into this story or its characters, though, and I had to force myself to finish. 2/5 4. Joanna Shupe - Points for a different setting (NYC) and an original, promising premise (would-be journalist who's famous for her cooking column despite not actually knowing how to cook.) Sadly, this was another story where the characters and writing style just fell completely flat for me, and as those of you patient to read my rambling reviews know, characterization and writing style are the primary reasons I love - or don't love - any given story. 2/5 Overall, these weren't BAD, but I found myself disappointed. I didn't close the book with that goofy smile that the better romances (especially the holiday-themed ones!) tend to provide. As a minor pet peeve, I wonder why all four stories felt compelled to focus on dukes. The obsession with dukes in this genre is getting a little tiresome for me. It was monotonous enough when nearly every author decided to focus only on titled men (shout out to Theresa Romain and others for writing about - gasp - regular people and shedding some light on how other people lived during that era!). Lately, though, it feels like half the stories out there feature not just mere earls or lords or a marquess, but dukes, the very highest and rarest title. Because heaven forbid the hero not be the *very* richest and most powerful person in all of society...?! Sorry for the rant, but it's just something about the overall genre that's been irking me, and you guys are the only people I can vent to about this issue :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Desi

    Rated thusly for the utter tripe that is “Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare. Why launch the book with this ridiculousness? Approaching men at balls with no introduction. Leaving an establishment in male company. Bare assed sex in a coach. Wandering about London at night on foot. A grown man of that era not knowing a woman can’t go to gentlemen’s clubs. An adult male willingly traipsing about Mayfair with a Virgin he picked up at a ball on some stupid sightseeing tour. For hours. Until 5am. Why? Rated thusly for the utter tripe that is “Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare. Why launch the book with this ridiculousness? Approaching men at balls with no introduction. Leaving an establishment in male company. Bare assed sex in a coach. Wandering about London at night on foot. A grown man of that era not knowing a woman can’t go to gentlemen’s clubs. An adult male willingly traipsing about Mayfair with a Virgin he picked up at a ball on some stupid sightseeing tour. For hours. Until 5am. Why? Him taking liquor from a club doorman and them doing shots in a doorway to “warm up”. What. The. Heck. Is. This. Who approved it? Are editors a thing of the past? It’s scandalous enough to remain on the dance floor after their dance (to begin with I don't get how she could, logistically speaking, 'take over' her friend's dance card) . I’m so so confused by every single thing that came after. They’re having bloody snow games in a deserted park at night? Can a pseudo Jack the Ripper just end them already, cause I don’t know in what century a man would accompany a young woman to loiter in a deserted park and expect That to end well. Do parent's not exist in this world? Societal norms? Logic? Should he not be returning her to her people? In other news, the second story by Sarah Maclean wasn’t half bad. A solid 3.5 Stars. And that’s as far as I got. Because I can only lay claim to a limited amount of patience

  4. 5 out of 5

    Debby "Piene Raven"

    So, I got my Christmas spirit going a bit early this year with my reads. I do have to say that I did enjoy all but the last novella on the Dukes. It was a delightful read and I must say that Sarah MacLean's novel was the height of them all. Recommend this read and as a summation of them all, I am rating this as a 3.5 rounded to 4-Stars. 4-Stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Starr (AKA Bam Bam) Rivers

    To be fair, I didn't read the whole thing. It's $5.99 and I have a high bar for $5.99. I can get very good books for a lot less, so unless this was a sure thing, I'm not spending the $$. I read the sample. Which is like 7-8 chapters of Tessa Dare's story in the anthology. Since she's the author I like best in the group, if her story can't hook me, there's little hope for the rest of the book. And unfortunately, it didn't hook me. 1. Most anthologies are too rushed. I like depth in a book, and thes To be fair, I didn't read the whole thing. It's $5.99 and I have a high bar for $5.99. I can get very good books for a lot less, so unless this was a sure thing, I'm not spending the $$. I read the sample. Which is like 7-8 chapters of Tessa Dare's story in the anthology. Since she's the author I like best in the group, if her story can't hook me, there's little hope for the rest of the book. And unfortunately, it didn't hook me. 1. Most anthologies are too rushed. I like depth in a book, and these short stories don't let that happen. Rarely, anyway. For a sample, I'm already half way done with one story! That's how much depth I'm getting. 2. Maybe because it's too rushed, TD's story just didn't appeal that much. I don't really feel the chemistry between the H/h, the tension or anticipation. And I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get any hot love scenes in these short stories. Or if I do, they will be very brief. So overall, it wasn't good enough for me to click buy, which means it's definitely not above 3 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gi's Spot Reviews

    5 'The Shortbread Talisman' Stars< What an absolutely and utterly BRILLIANT Christmasy HR anthology this book was! From start to finish How The Dukes Stole was undoubtable perfection, with each of the four tales enchanting me to no end and making me crave even more of these enrapturing characters and their stories! Complete and wholehearted holiday warm and fuzzy feelings that made me feel as though I was living the holidays right along with them! True Christmas in October feels that I recomme 5 'The Shortbread Talisman' Stars< What an absolutely and utterly BRILLIANT Christmasy HR anthology this book was! From start to finish How The Dukes Stole was undoubtable perfection, with each of the four tales enchanting me to no end and making me crave even more of these enrapturing characters and their stories! Complete and wholehearted holiday warm and fuzzy feelings that made me feel as though I was living the holidays right along with them! True Christmas in October feels that I recommend to every single HR lover out there! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 Full review to follow.... ARC kindly provided by the authors for an honest review

  7. 5 out of 5

    Under the Covers Book Blog

    I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 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 I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 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. *ARC provided by author Reviewed by Francesca❤ ♡ Don't want to miss any of our posts? Subscribe to our blog by email! ♡ ❤

  8. 5 out of 5

    Avid Booker

    Tessa's book was too short. In meaning, I would have loved to see a little more of these characters especially since they were complete opposites. She was a city girl and he was a country boy. I really loved everything about them except, (view spoiler)[their argument in the park didnt feel very real (hide spoiler)] . I was really attracted to James for some reason. He gave off a vibe. Lumbersexual? lol It was cute. Fast. 3.5 stars And So Is Love by Kate Bush MacLean's story gave me the feels. STRO Tessa's book was too short. In meaning, I would have loved to see a little more of these characters especially since they were complete opposites. She was a city girl and he was a country boy. I really loved everything about them except, (view spoiler)[their argument in the park didnt feel very real (hide spoiler)] . I was really attracted to James for some reason. He gave off a vibe. Lumbersexual? lol It was cute. Fast. 3.5 stars And So Is Love by Kate Bush MacLean's story gave me the feels. STRONG. This feels so profoundly sad because of how beautiful it is. I've been emotionally lately so dont take that too seriously. But I really believed in these characters. It worked for them because the love was previous. You'll see what I mean. But I found myself tearing up a bit. The only thing that irritates me is that it took 12 years. I wish it was five or even eight. 12 is just a long time. 4.5 stars Songs for this particular story Shrike by Hozier Sophie's story had such a promising start and I absolutely loved the tropes that were included. What fell a bit short was the (view spoiler)[love scene (hide spoiler)] was TOO soon. Even for a novella, for me to believe in it. Without it, I would have really trusted it all. It was cute. I liked it. I wish she would have spoke more about her goal for it to also be believable. But it does make me want to read more from this author now. 3.5 stars Song for this story Human Being by Robyn So we finish with Shupes story. I was kind of shell shocked. The New York setting threw me! I know the title mention Central park but for some reason I ignored it lol. But I didnt mind the setting, but as yall know, with an American setting comes free-er values. So you do have to set your sensibilities up for the area. Such as men can be alone with women, dukes don't have a standing, etc. The story was decent. Probably the weaker out of all the stories. But I do like the humor and language so that helped. I know this is a novella but I couldnt believe the love. 3 stars. Goodnight and Go by Ariana Grande Quotes: Sit next to me. [...] I don't want to give my family ideas. [...] Let them have their ideas.-Dare's Book Christ, he'd missed her. No. No. There was no missing her. He couldnt miss her. If he missed her, he might never not miss her, and that would certainly kill him. It was bad enough he'd never stopped loving her. "I want every moment I can still with you." {...] "If you're to theive," he whispered, "do it in my house, where your Aunt Jane wont have me strung up for tempting you to darkness." [...] "Everyone would know that it was I tempting you, you know."-MacLean's story Pink, plump lips parting enough to reveal her teeth--straight save for one incisor that was slightly crooked. That tiny imperfection fascinated and drew his gaze, tightening his stomach muscles. Her smile was a bit of sunshine amid this winter's night. He looked away. No sense looking for sunshine in this storm.--Jordan's Story Jesus, she was unmarried... and employee... and he'd fucked her on a counter.-Shupe's story

  9. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    If you love historical romance, this might be the year that you get the present you’ve always wished for. Four superstar authors have combined their talents to craft this fabulous anthology, which will have you experiencing a gamut of emotions in a real historical Christmas atmosphere. Also, the novellas can be read in any order, as they are entirely independent from one another. Tessa Dare’ MEET ME IN MAYFAIR is delightfully romantic and sweet as a duke who is more of a Yorkshire country boy an If you love historical romance, this might be the year that you get the present you’ve always wished for. Four superstar authors have combined their talents to craft this fabulous anthology, which will have you experiencing a gamut of emotions in a real historical Christmas atmosphere. Also, the novellas can be read in any order, as they are entirely independent from one another. Tessa Dare’ MEET ME IN MAYFAIR is delightfully romantic and sweet as a duke who is more of a Yorkshire country boy and a city miss who risks eviction share a waltz. It’s such a lovely story with utterly charming characters that I’m hoping for a little glimpse at their lives in Yorkshire in the future. In THE DUKE OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT, Sarah MacLean gives A Christmas Carol a fabulous spin as Eben – the Duke of Allryd – faces twelve years of Christmases past when Lady Jacqueline Mosby reappears. Dear readers, this is a real tearjerker as Eben realises where he went wrong. A wonderfully emotional story with spectacular secondary characters as well; I think I fell in love with Charles Lawton! Who but the inimitable Sophie Jordan could give a historical twist to Home Alone? In HEIRESS ALONE, the Highlands in winter have never been hotter when Annis Ballister’s boisterous family leaves her home alone when they leave in a mad rush. The grumpy Duke of Sinclair insists on rescuing her from incoming perils, but is the Duke the biggest danger of them all? Ms. Jordan’s story is fast paced, delightfully written, and is guaranteed to keep you warm with all the steam generated by our very unlikely, but utterly charming couple. Ms. Jordan infuses this novella with Scottish charm, and a touch of Christmas magic. On the other side of the pond, Joanna Shupe takes us to New York’s Gilded Age with CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK. The celebrated advice columnist Mrs. Walker does not really exist: she is Miss Rose Walker, who cannot bake to save her life, and when her job depends on hosting a very important Christmas dinner for the big bad boss himself, Duke Havermeyer, Rose is very worried. He is so very handsome and so unattainable, but Rose needs this job! This novella barrels along at a very quick pace, with some serious steam. I really liked Rose: she has a lot of chutzpah, still she was even more daring than I ever expected, but boy, was Duke ever a Scrooge if I ever saw one, until he saw the (Christmas) light. HOW THE DUKES STOLE CHRISTMAS is a rare gem: none of the four novellas skate around the Christmas theme. To conclude, we even are privy to a shortbread recipe, courtesy of Sarah MacLean; how cool is that? So grab your tissues, hot chocolate, a fan – some of those stories are hot! – and enjoy this fine historical Christmas anthology! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    herdys

    I only enjoyed Tessa's story. The rest I couldn't get into, no matter what. The last one I almost didn't even finish. The reason were the dukes of course. They were jerks to their heroines and since this is a short story we didn't have time for them to grovel properly. I also didn't feel the Xmas spirit since it's basically October lol

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roses R Blue

    Combined 4.5 stars as reviewed at Roses Are Blue: https://wp.me/p3QRh4-Ox Four outstanding authors have teamed up for an amazing collection of Christmas novellas, three set in England, and one in America. Each story includes a mention of some shortbread cookies, which are rumored to have special capabilities, though they taste like dirt. There’s also a clever salute to various Christmas movies or novels, such as Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, etc. This collection is top notch – entertaining, and Combined 4.5 stars as reviewed at Roses Are Blue: https://wp.me/p3QRh4-Ox Four outstanding authors have teamed up for an amazing collection of Christmas novellas, three set in England, and one in America. Each story includes a mention of some shortbread cookies, which are rumored to have special capabilities, though they taste like dirt. There’s also a clever salute to various Christmas movies or novels, such as Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, etc. This collection is top notch – entertaining, and sometimes emotional. I greatly enjoyed reading HOW THE DUKES STOLE CHRISTMAS, and highly recommend it. I just wonder, are those cookies really magical? Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare 5.0, warm Louisa Ward must find a wealthy husband immediately, or her family will be ousted from their home. She’s hoping to meet some eligible men at her friend, Fiona’s, party. Unfortunately, Fiona has some secretive plans of her own and pleads with Louisa to fulfill all her dances. One of those dances turns out to be with none other than the new Duke of Thorndale, the very man who called in her father’s debt, and may cause them to be evicted. James never planned on inheriting a title, and is tired of the fawning and single ladies fighting for his attention. Louisa’s plain speaking and lack of deference catch James’ attention, and circumstances find them spending the next several hours together. MEET ME IN MAYFAIR is a warm and delightful story of two people falling in love one enchanted evening, and working through the ensuing difficulties. The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean 5.0, hot, tears Eben James and Jacqueline “Jack” Mosby were childhood best friends, then lovers who intended to marry. Their homes were next door to each other, and there was a secret passage which was often used by Jack to sneak to Eben’s room. When Eben inherits the title of Duke of Allryd, he discovers that he is all but penniless, and vows to repair all the damage done by his father. His hard work consumes him, and he postpones his marriage until such time as he’s solvent again. All Jack wanted was to be a partner with Eben, but instead he becomes more and more distant. Finally, feeling that she has no place in his life, Jack leaves to be companion to her aunt and travel the world. Twelve years pass, with Eben living only to work, until one Christmas Eve, Jack shows up. Is there any chance this couple who never stopped loving each other can find a way to bridge the great chasm between them? THE DUKE OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT is a painful, yet beautiful tale of second chances, which is guaranteed to bring a lump to your throat and a few tears to your eyes. Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan 4.5, hot Annis Ballister cannot believe that her boisterous family packed up from their Scottish vacation, and hurriedly left, intending to outrun the impending snow, leaving her behind with only two servants. Even worse, the weather is so bad, it appears that Annis may be here for months. When a neighbor arrives, intent on removing the servants to his home for safety, he grudgingly orders Annis along, too. Annis is mortified at having to face the Duke of Sinclair again, as they had a disastrous meeting a week ago, with her family mistaking him for a servant, and her sisters blatantly scheming how to lure the duke into marriage. The rough-around-the-edges- duke made short work of sending the Ballister family away a week ago, but now he finds he’s growing quite fond of Annis, whose plans are about as far removed from marriage as it’s possible to get. HEIRESS ALONE is a passionate story with a duke determined to win the lady he never knew he wanted or needed, and some sneaky servants determined to make sure the unwilling lady changes her mind. CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK by Joanna Shupe 3.0, hot Rose Walker desperately wants to be a reporter, but has instead become a popular advice columnist, who is portrayed as an older, well-to-do, married woman. When the owner of the newspaper she works for, Duke Havermeyer, insists that she host a holiday dinner party, Rose knows she can’t refuse, or her job will be in peril. The problem is, Duke doesn’t know that her whole background is fictitious, so Rose has to find a husband, some servants, a borrowed home, and plan a fabulous dinner. Rose’s sham dinner appears to be coming together, and her deception seems to have worked. What could possibly go wrong? Duke is a hard man, a workaholic who abhors lies above all else. I did have one major issue with this story, and that’s Duke’s interaction with Rose, a woman he believes to be married. That colored my opinion of him even though he subsequently showed a willingness to make some major changes in his life. CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK is a passionate story of a couple who manages to navigate a rocky path to find love and forgiveness.

  12. 4 out of 5

    AnnMarie

    How the Dukes Stole Christmas is an anthology written by authors Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan and Joanna Shupe. I loved each and every one of the stories, they filled me with the joys of Christmas despite it only being October when I read it. Such beautiful romances with loveable characters and such palpable emotions growing between the heroes and heroines. Passion abounds, and love must win out. Each book had a perfect ending which left me smiling ear to ear. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by T How the Dukes Stole Christmas is an anthology written by authors Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan and Joanna Shupe. I loved each and every one of the stories, they filled me with the joys of Christmas despite it only being October when I read it. Such beautiful romances with loveable characters and such palpable emotions growing between the heroes and heroines. Passion abounds, and love must win out. Each book had a perfect ending which left me smiling ear to ear. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare sees Louisa Ward needing to find and marry a rich man in order to save their family from eviction from their home. The last thing she expects is to find herself falling for the very man who is to evict them! The Duke of Thorndale finds himself attracted to Louisa until he realises who she is and can't believe that she has honest feelings for him. She must be trying to catch him or find herself compromised with him just to save her home. She doesn't honestly like him for himself, does she? "The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean shows us the Duke of Allryd, Eben, reuniting with the only woman he ever loved and consequently lost. That woman is Lady Jacqueline Mosby (AKA Jack). Years ago they thought they had a future together but circumstances drove them apart. Neither stopped loving each other, so now that they are reunited is there any chance that they can forgive each other and finally have their happy ever after? "Heiress Alone" by Sophie Jordan starts off with a likeness to 'Home Alone' when Annis Bannister's large family leave their holiday home in Scotland, rushing home to England without even realising that they left Annis behind! Being snowed in until at least March was not the news Annis needed to hear, nor that Brigands were thieving from all the houses in the area. The latter news was brought to her by the Duke of Sinclair. He insists that she and the two servants left moved to his castle until the Brigands are caught. He is as unhappy at having Annis being part of the trio as she is, especially after their first meeting previously where he made it obvious he wanted nothing to do with any of her family. Soon enough time together makes him realise he could have been mistaken, at least about Annis! "Christmas in Central Park" by Joanna Shupe Duke Havemeyer worries that the board of directors could oust him from his own newspaper. One of the star features of that paper is the column written by Mrs Walker. It gives advice to women about keeping a home and a happy husband. The woman in question is a fraud, only taking the job in the hope of getting a proper reporting job. MISS Rose Walker isn't married and she can't even boil an egg! When Duke asks her to host a dinner party to introduce her to them and to show them how wonderful she is she can't think of a way to get out of it and that's when the falsehoods steamroller...Will Duke discover the truth, she will not only lose her job if he does, she will lose her heart too. Each and every one of these stories was a delight to read and I recommend them 100%. You will fall in love with the characters just as I did!

  13. 4 out of 5

    JoRead

    For starters, DUKES! I don’t care how many make-believe dukes have been created, I’ll read them for as long as they keep writing them. Secondly, Christmas! I’ll admit that I prefer to read dark, scary, paranormal stories during the month of October, but c’mon, who can say no to Christmas stories, specially when they are written by some of your favorite authors and they all come together in one pretty package! And that actually brings me to say that thirdly, it’s freaking Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLea For starters, DUKES! I don’t care how many make-believe dukes have been created, I’ll read them for as long as they keep writing them. Secondly, Christmas! I’ll admit that I prefer to read dark, scary, paranormal stories during the month of October, but c’mon, who can say no to Christmas stories, specially when they are written by some of your favorite authors and they all come together in one pretty package! And that actually brings me to say that thirdly, it’s freaking Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe, what?! If you haven’t read books by them then let me tell you, you are missing out on some serious awesomeness. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a super fan of all of these ladies so forgive me if I gush too much. Tessa Dare’s Meet Me in Mayfair was clever, funny, and oh, so romantic. It probably is one of the most charming and memorable “date” nights I have ever read. Sarah MacLean’s The Duke of Christmas Present is a second-chance love story. There were some serious tug-at-your-heart scenes, specially when the heroine returns “home.” It was kind of hard for me to understand the reasoning behind both the hero and heroine’s actions but once I got to the end, everything made complete sense. Sophie Jordan’s Heiress Alone was another great example of how chemistry between hero and heroine affects a story, even if it’s a short one and even if the romance happens rather quickly. Joanna Shupe’s Christmas in Central Park had me worrying and suffering along with the poor heroine, and had me wanting to slap the hero upside the head for acting like a spoiled brat that just had to have his way. Their love story may had been full of funny and cringe-worthy moments but the way their forgive and reach their HEA made it all worth it. In short, four different settings, four different kinds of delicious dukes, four great Christmas stories, and one happy reader that recommends this set to all historical romance lover. Even if Christmas is not your cup of tea, the romance alone make this a perfect read. 4.5 stars. *I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher**

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Really enjoyed this anthology. Joanna Shupe is a new to me author. I love my historical romances, it was a nice change of pace to read one taking place in NYC. I'll have to check out more of her books.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    **I received an ARC of this anthology from the authors, but all opinions provided are my own. Four Dukes. Four spirited heroines. At Christmas-time! The anthology How the Dukes Stole Christmas—with novellas written by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe—releases today, and it’s a scrumptious, perfectly packaged morsel that makes even this (gestures to self) rabid fall enthusiast look forward to the holiday season with no small degree of anticipation. Tessa Dare's MEET ME IN **I received an ARC of this anthology from the authors, but all opinions provided are my own. ​​​​ Four Dukes. Four spirited heroines. At Christmas-time! The anthology How the Dukes Stole Christmas—with novellas written by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe—releases today, and it’s a scrumptious, perfectly packaged morsel that makes even this (gestures to self) rabid fall enthusiast look forward to the holiday season with no small degree of anticipation. Tessa Dare's MEET ME IN MAYFAIR Dare’s unexpectedly sweet novella begins with Louisa Ward’s goal of attracting a husband candidate that night so that she can save her family and herself from being evicted from their Mayfair home. Enter James, the Duke of Thorndale, and also the man responsible for their eviction notice. Will James be the answer to Louisa’s prayers in more ways than one, or will her goal come between them? As a rule, I’m often drawn to Dare’s characters most when there’s a knowingness, a maturity to them. In this novella I encountered the softer side of Dare's repertoire, even if her heroine, Louisa, is still unconventional enough to challenge the duke's positions on women and to take him on a solitary tour of Mayfair on a winter's night. It's this combination that makes this novella so winning: for all the attraction between Louisa and James, there’s still an innocence to their relationship and this novella that is surprising, and on some level, refreshing, particularly when you remember that most of the story takes place over one intoxicating night. Sarah MacLean's THE DUKE OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT Sarah MacLean follows with this juggernaut of a novella that’s fueled by regret, guilt, and yearning and that hits with all the force associated with a master of her craft. Second-chance romance aficionados rejoice: this novella begins with a drunk Eben James, Duke of Allryd, coming face to face with a ghost from his past: Lady Jacqueline Mosby, the woman he was once affianced to, and who left him twelve years ago, after he became duke and set out to resuscitate his estate. Mosby has been traveling since then, and she’s leaving again soon. Twelve years, a fiancé, and more, lies between them. But is their love story over? MacLean writes intensely—the yearning between Eben and Jack, as he calls her, is palpable—but for all that, her stories never feel bogged down or burdened with it. In this novella, MacLean deftly brushes the dust from their past and highlights the complexities of love; how sometimes being in love doesn’t automatically lead to a HEA, like for young adult Eben and Jack, but that love can lead people back to one another, if they’re willing to cover the necessary ground. Sophie Jordan's HEIRESS ALONE Annis Ballister’s first meeting with Calder, Duke Sinclair is not the auspicious beginning we might hope for. She’s sprawled at his disdainful feet after being shoved there by her not-quite-so-adoring sisters. But luckily for us, they’re brought back together because (1) Annis’s delightful family accidentally leaves without her, (2), a violent band of thieves is roaming the area, and (3), Calder insists that she and her two servants return to his home with him for their safety. Annis and Calder didn’t have the best first impression of the other, and while Calder is reluctantly attracted to Annis, her plans for her future also stand between them. Will Calder and Annis succumb to their attraction and is that enough to bring two people—who at the novella's outset, want different things—together? Annis wins the reader over with her dignity and strength, and these qualities, along with the passion blazing beneath her placid exterior, are attractive to Calder, too. Heiress Alone is dramatic and sensual, and the attraction between these two characters propels the novella to its very satisfying ending. Joanna Shupe's CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK We move from the wilds of Scotland to a frenetic newsroom in New York City in this final novella. Mrs. Rose Walker is a wealthy, married domestic expert who dispenses advice for the readers of the New York Daily Gazette. In actuality, she’s Miss Rose Walker, an unmarried writer who gets her advice from her servant mother and the fellow servants she grew up with. Unfortunately for her, the president of the publishing empire associated with her paper, Duke Havermeyer III, just had to clean house after a lying scandal and demands that his most popular writer, Mrs. Rose Walker, host a party for members of the board to get him back in the board’s good graces. What could possibly go wrong? Rose is supremely competent and assured, and a large part of her appeal is that she gets things done. She operates with ingenuity and aplomb, circumventing the constraints put upon her by society—and by Duke himself—admirably. Duke’s unwitting battle with a master strategist is a joy and a delight, and it’s enhanced by the truly explosive chemistry between them. Final Thoughts HOW THE DUKES STOLE CHRISTMAS is a lovely collection of Happily Ever Afters, all centered around the magic of Christmas—how it invites us to self-reflection and offers opportunities to re-assess our priorities and to redeem ourselves from the things we’ve let hold us back. But it’s more than that, too. It’s a collection frequently featuring characters we don’t traditionally get to hear from in historical romances written by white women—servants, and in the case of Sarah MacLean’s novella, a very successful black businessman—who intervene in critical ways, and who inspire our main characters to be their best selves. And, of course, it’s a collection centered around strong, fierce women who speak their minds, pursue their dreams, and move through their novellas with authority, even when they’re facing challenges outside of their control--and that's always sexy to me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zeee (I Heart Romance & YA)

    I normally avoid novellas like the plague but when I found out that 4 of my favorite authors were releasing How the Dukes Stole Christmas anthology, I could not resist! How the Dukes Stole Christmas is a heartwarming Christmas anthology that is loosely connected to each other by shortbread cookies and features Dukes that are total Grinches! Coincidentally, my husband and I were sharing the Filipino version of shortbread cookies, so this anthology already brought me all the #feels! Meet Me in Mayfa I normally avoid novellas like the plague but when I found out that 4 of my favorite authors were releasing How the Dukes Stole Christmas anthology, I could not resist! How the Dukes Stole Christmas is a heartwarming Christmas anthology that is loosely connected to each other by shortbread cookies and features Dukes that are total Grinches! Coincidentally, my husband and I were sharing the Filipino version of shortbread cookies, so this anthology already brought me all the #feels! Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare (4 stars) Is an enemies-to-lovers romance that develops in one night! While I am not a fan of this quick romance, I thought Tessa Dare did an awesome job with developing the romance. Louisa Ward needs to wed a rich man to save her family from moving to the Isle of Jersey because the new Duke of Thorndale is calling all the old Duke’s debts. But who does Louisa dance with at the ball? The new Duke himself! What started as a plan to convince him to forgive their family debt turn into an adventurous walk around Mayfair in the middle of the night! I’m not a fan of the insta-love part of this romance but I enjoyed their midnight Mayfair exploration. Meet Me in Mayfair felt really quick to me and I could have used more romantic development with the characters. The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean (5 stars) The Duke of Christmas Present is my favorite out of all the novellas! First, it features two of my favorite tropes – best friends to lovers and second chance romance! Second, this novella had me ugly crying from the start! I was seriously bawling my eyes out! I love Eben and Jack! Since they were friends first, there was already a backstory for them and It made their romance believable. Jacqueline is back after 12 years of traveling on the continent with her aunt after she left Eben brokenhearted on Christmas Day. I felt for these two. Both loved each other but was torn apart by responsibility and I loved it when they finally had their HEA. The Duke of Christmas Present also has a few flashback scenes which really helped with character development. Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan (4 Stars) Heiress Alone is probably my second favorite novella in this anthology. Heiress alone is a very loose retelling of Home Alone, where the heroine is left alone in a Scottish Castle a few days before Christmas! Unfortunately, due to the weather, she is stuck in Scotland until March, so she is left alone with two aging servants. Because of the threat of bandits in the area, the Duke of Sinclair comes to the castle to take the servants to his castle when he discovers Annisa and takes her with him reluctantly. Sinclair and Annisa’s relationship quickly develops after this and while the relationship felt too fast, I felt that there was enough chemistry between the two to make it really believable. Heiress Alone also is a hate-to-love romance so I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also think this was the steamiest novella in the bunch so bonus points for that! Christmas in Central Park by Joanna Shupe (2 stars) Christmas in Central Park is my least favorite novella in this anthology because I do feel that there wasn’t enough romantic development to make me believe that Duke would fall in love with Rose. Rose is an advice columnist working for Duke H’s newspaper when a scandal breaks out and her editor gets fired. To save his corporation, Duke decides to use the famous Mrs. Walker, the advice columnist to hold a Christmas dinner to impress his board. Duke basically falls in love with Rose in one dinner while thinking that Rose is married and that left a bad taste in my mouth. It was still unbelievable for me that Rose forgave him for all the things he did after he found out that she was lying about her identity. I would have made him grovel for a looong time. Overall, I enjoyed How the Dukes Stole Christmas and I even rated it a 4.5 because of the strength of the other 3 novellas in this anthology. For those who haven’t read the authors, this anthology is an awesome introduction to their work. Well, perhaps not Joanna’s because I know she writes better than this. This review first appread on I Heart Romance & YA

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Melo

    This is an anthology of four short stories with a Christmas theme. The stories are not connected to one another (other than a recipe for a special shortbread and the holiday theme) so each can be read on its own. MEET ME IN MAYFAIR by Tessa Dare: Louisa Ward has one night to catch the eye of a wealthy gentleman and only weeks to convince him to marry her before her family will be evicted from their home by the Duke of Thorndale. A turn of fate, however, puts Thorndale in Louisa's path.  I enjoyed This is an anthology of four short stories with a Christmas theme. The stories are not connected to one another (other than a recipe for a special shortbread and the holiday theme) so each can be read on its own. MEET ME IN MAYFAIR by Tessa Dare: Louisa Ward has one night to catch the eye of a wealthy gentleman and only weeks to convince him to marry her before her family will be evicted from their home by the Duke of Thorndale. A turn of fate, however, puts Thorndale in Louisa's path.  I enjoyed this one because the hours the couple end up spending together which felt sweet and romantic. Although the story is short, I did get the connection between the characters. The story is also funny at times, as it is a series of adventures and misadventures. I enjoyed this one. Rating: 4 stars. THE DUKE OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT by Sarah MacLean: Eben, Duke of Allryd is obsessed with work and his wealth. Twelve years ago, this obsession led to the love of his life leaving him. Now the ghost of Christmas past has returned to Eben in the form of Lady Jacqueline Mosby. This is a wonderful adaption of A Christmas Carol (but with a happy ending for the romance). Eben is a sad, lonely man but is not a bad person. He is a man who focused on saving his dukedom from financial ruin and yet forgot to include the woman that he loved. I loved the relationship between Eben and Jack which was sweet and so perfect and I grieved as Eben let it slip away until Jack left as well. Then Jack returns and ends up saving Eben from himself. This is the best of this anthology and a Christmas romance that I will return to again. Rating: 5 stars. HEIRESS ALONE by Sophie Jordan: Annis Bannister is mistakenly left home alone by her family. When her Duke neighbor comes to rescue the servants from a roving band of thieves, Annis is forced to seek refuge with him as well. This one was just okay for me. I never really felt a connection between the characters and thus the quick progression in their relationship didn't work for me. The hero always felt indistinct to me and thus I couldn't really understand his connection with the heroine. Rating: 2.5 stars. CHRISTMAS IN CENTRAL PARK by Joanna Shupe: Rose writes a column as Mrs. Walker who gives advice on households and cooking. Rose, however, is not married, doesn't have a house and certainly can't cook. When the newspaper's owner, Duke Havemeyer, requests that Rose host a Christmas party at her home, Rose has to acquire a house, a husband and the ability to cook a dinner. The problem is that a "married" woman shouldn't be so interested in her boss.  This one was mixed for me. I thought the setup was really good and things went well until the dinner party. Once that was over, the entire resolution was so quick that I didn't feel it was in characters with the rest of the story. I was disappointed in that because I thought the beginning of the story was so interesting that I would have liked something better than Rose making demands and the hero just giving in to her. Rating: 3.5 stars.This review was originally posted on Top10RomanceBooks.com

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steffy

    ARC provided by one of the authors for an honest review. Note to self – Figure out the super ancient secret Scottish shortbread recipe. “Meet me in Mayfair” By Tessa Dare Tessa – My queen – My favorite author. Once more she didn’t disappoint. Whilst short this story contains all the little things which made Tessa stories so special. Spunky heroine with a heart of gold? Check. Dark, brooding duke? Check. Beautifully written words taking you on an emotional roller-coaster? Check! Louisa and James ARC provided by one of the authors for an honest review. Note to self – Figure out the super ancient secret Scottish shortbread recipe. “Meet me in Mayfair” By Tessa Dare Tessa – My queen – My favorite author. Once more she didn’t disappoint. Whilst short this story contains all the little things which made Tessa stories so special. Spunky heroine with a heart of gold? Check. Dark, brooding duke? Check. Beautifully written words taking you on an emotional roller-coaster? Check! Louisa and James were amazing. They made me laugh, they made me ache, they warmed my chest. Even if it was a novella this story managed to be satisfying even if, when it comes to Tessa, I always want more. Stars 5/5 "The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean I only read one Sarah’s book before but will definitely correct this mistake soon. Oh, this story broke my heart – It was so sad, it made me teary eyes. I loved it and whilst I knew they would get their happy ending my heart ached for Eben and Jack. They were soulmate. Sarah really is gifted to make you feel. Even if it broke my heart it gave me the warmth of everlasting love and second chances. I loved that story very much the only down point is that it could have used a proper epilogue. As a novella it was perfect, but I didn’t feel it was completed. An epilogue would have been perfection. Stars 4/5 “Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan. God, I loved that story – Loved it so much that I was sad it was only a novella. Annis and Calder were amazing characters and I would have loved to see their interaction in a full novel. These two had so much potential. Their interactions were amazing, and I found myself smiling more than once in this story. Calder – What can I say about Calder except that I am crushing on him so hard that seeing him go was bittersweet. Sophie write fantastic character and a nice little story and Calder; the dark brooding duke was the best of all. The story covers a very small amount of time but it manages to feel satisfying which I believe is a sign of a great writer. I have never read any of Sophie Jordan stories before, but this unforgivable lapse of judgement will be corrected very soon. Stars 5/5 ‘Christmas in Central Park’ by Joanne Shupe. This was not my usual ‘Duke’ story, but it was enjoyable. I liked Rose and Duke and they made my heart ache for them more than once, but they also made me smile and feel along with them. The side characters were also very cute, and I would have love more of them. Also, of these four novellas ‘sexy moments’ this one is taking first price – It took steamy to the whole new level! This was a very good story too and it made my heart ache before making me grin like the Cheshire cat. I’ve never read a Joanne Shupe book before but will check them out for sure. Stars 4/5 In Conclusion: This book, and the 4 novellas it contains, is a fantastic read for my fellow Historical Romances’ fans. This is also a great Christmas time read that will make any Grinch’s hearts (yours truly included) grow three time it’s size. This is a must read for HR fans. Overall rating 4.5/5

  19. 5 out of 5

    Teresa (Reads_Romance)

    It has been a long time since I was excited about an anthology. When four of the reigning queens of historical romance decide to pair up, I was over the moon ready for these sweet novellas. I mean, a whole anthology featuring grouchy Dukes?? What’s not to love! This book was the epitome of sweet. To be honest, I have read excellent novellas from both Tessa Dare and Joanna Shupe, so my expectations were a little higher for those two. Overall, this book is the perfect Christmas read and I highly r It has been a long time since I was excited about an anthology. When four of the reigning queens of historical romance decide to pair up, I was over the moon ready for these sweet novellas. I mean, a whole anthology featuring grouchy Dukes?? What’s not to love! This book was the epitome of sweet. To be honest, I have read excellent novellas from both Tessa Dare and Joanna Shupe, so my expectations were a little higher for those two. Overall, this book is the perfect Christmas read and I highly recommend. All four novellas are connected by ~love~ shortbread cookies. “Meet Me in Mayfair” by Tessa Dare **3.5 Stars** I feel like Tessa Dare has recently read Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. This was a cute little story about a woman who had one night to convince a Duke not to evict her family and fell in love instead. I could have used a little bit more steam to be honest. “The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean **5 Stars** You know, I am glad I’m not the only one who wondered what Scrooge would have been like if his young love had worked out or come back. This was everything I didn’t know I needed in a second chance Christmas novella and I loved everything about it. “Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan **3 Stars** Home Alone retelling! The heroine’s awful family leaves her in their drafty Scottish castle. Hot Scottish Duke comes to the rescue of course! This one just missed the mark a little bit for me. Still sweet and sexy, which I enjoyed. “Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe **4 Stars** Joanna Shupe knows how to write a dang good novella. I don’t know what she was basing this off of, but I loved it. The heroine was amazing and Duke, the hero, was adorable and pretty darn romantic. So much great story building packed into a few pages. **I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review** Find/Follow me on Twitter Instagram and my blog !!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Griffin

    This an enjoyable collection of holiday novellas to get you in the Christmas spirit, tied together by the common theme of a shared shortbread recipe that may, in fact, be magical. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare was my favorite of the bunch. It had the magical elements of one of those movies where a couple spends the whole night traipsing across the city exploring hidden treasures and unknown streets until 4AM. Snowy London at Christmas is always enchanting to me so I'm sure that helped. "The This an enjoyable collection of holiday novellas to get you in the Christmas spirit, tied together by the common theme of a shared shortbread recipe that may, in fact, be magical. "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare was my favorite of the bunch. It had the magical elements of one of those movies where a couple spends the whole night traipsing across the city exploring hidden treasures and unknown streets until 4AM. Snowy London at Christmas is always enchanting to me so I'm sure that helped. "The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean brings a lost love of 12 years back to Eben, Duke of Allryd, on Christmas evening. It took me a while to warm to Jacqueline and Eben's history and emotional connection and truly feel the lost love, but eventually I was convinced and right there rooting for them. The resolution was a little too clean for me but some subverted tropes make it a little better. "Heiress Alone" by Sophie Jordan was a pretty standard Highlander story, unfortunately. While it wasn't terrible, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about it either. The rest of these stories have strong, creative heroines who use their resourcefulness to their advantage, while this is a weak 'come rescue me please' protagonist. While all these novellas are rushing to emotional climax and satisfying conclusion within their 100 pages, this one felt the most forced. "Christmas in Central Park" by Joanna Shupe takes second place in my heart. The setting, New York in the early 1900s, is a true delight and something I've never really explored before. Turn of the century America, with working women and powerful tycoons, is a fresh take on the romance genre. Shupe's plot is also extraordinarily comical and festive in a unique way. This would make an excellent movie! None of these stories give us all the character development a full-length novel would, of course- the whole book is 392 pages. While some things felt rushed/forced, I genuinely enjoyed this Christmas collection and would reread in the future.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maida

    This is an amazing early Christmas gift from four historical romance favorites. Utterly delightful, these four novellas made my reading time merry and bright. Yes, even the one that made me curl up and weep into my crying blanket. Four fantastic heroines, four dukes worthy of them, and sparkling side characters who enriched the stories with their presence. Plus that magical shortbread. Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare - Infused with Tessa's wonderful humor, this is sweet and tender. When I burst This is an amazing early Christmas gift from four historical romance favorites. Utterly delightful, these four novellas made my reading time merry and bright. Yes, even the one that made me curl up and weep into my crying blanket. Four fantastic heroines, four dukes worthy of them, and sparkling side characters who enriched the stories with their presence. Plus that magical shortbread. Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare - Infused with Tessa's wonderful humor, this is sweet and tender. When I burst out laughing upon hearing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing at church, I will blame Tessa Dare. I love that despite the short length of this novella, she managed to not only include a complete love story between the about-to-be-evicted Louisa and the reluctant duke James, but also tackle tales of friendship and close family ties. The Dukes of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean - The first scene made me laugh so hard that I was so stunned when I started crying at the rest of it. I was like a crazy person reading this novella, alternately laughing and crying as the scenes of Christmases past and present unfold. This story only has five characters, but boy, do they fill the pages with their vibrancy. Eben and Jack broke my heart and put it back together again. Lawton, Lady Danton, and Fergus were simply awesome. I want more! Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan - Another one that made me laugh like a loon. Home alone, nun-to-be Annis and her surly, but protective and caring duke Calder (my favorite of the four heroes) plus the servants Fenella, Angus, and Mrs. Benfiddy entertained me so well, I can't stop smiling while I type this review. Don't be fooled, though. This one packs some heat, too. And, the shortbread probably had the biggest part here than in the other three. Christmas in Central Park by Joanna Shupe - The most "modern" of the four stories, this one also has the hottest sexytime. Whoah! Ambitious Rose and her dashing mogul Duke have chemistry for days. I love that both this novella and Sophie's respect and even celebrate the importance of the household staff. That's incredibly rare in historical novels and make this anthology more endearing. So, yeah. I'm running out of superlatives. Buy this book. Read this book. Love this book. Five stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy Alvis

    "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare - 4 Stars I really enjoyed Louisa and Thorndale's story. They spent most of their "courtship" walking about the city instead of in some ball where they would have had to stick to such rigged rules. Louisa got to meet the man behind the Dukedom and not a persona that must be in place while amongst the ton. "The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean - 5 Stars This is my first story by MacLean and I'll definitely be picking up her backlist. I loved this story!! "Meet Me in Mayfair" by Tessa Dare - 4 Stars I really enjoyed Louisa and Thorndale's story. They spent most of their "courtship" walking about the city instead of in some ball where they would have had to stick to such rigged rules. Louisa got to meet the man behind the Dukedom and not a persona that must be in place while amongst the ton. "The Duke of Christmas Present" by Sarah MacLean - 5 Stars This is my first story by MacLean and I'll definitely be picking up her backlist. I loved this story!! Eben and Jacqueline "Jack" have been reunited after 12 years apart. Eban has become a sort of Scrooge and Jack keeps doing this to remind him of how things used to me. Will they get their second chance? "Heiress Alone" by Sophie Jordan - 4 Stars I really enjoyed this story by Jordan. Can you imagine having your parents leave you behind somewhere? I loved watching these two fall and love and Annis deciding that maybe the convent was not her destiny. "Christmas in Central Park" by Joanna Shupe - 4 Stars I also really enjoyed Shupe's addition to this collection. Watching Rose try to scramble and make the evening everything that her boss hoped for, had me laughing out loud at all the problems she encountered. Will she get to keep her job after the disastrous evening?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tarra

    Overall I enjoyed this Christmas anthology. Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean's entries were the strongest and most well rounded of the four novellas, the Shupe contribution being my least favorite just because I felt zero connection between the characters and they constantly flip flopped their emotions. I enjoyed that they were all loosely based on Christmas movies, but the shortbread trope connecting them was a bit weak. 4/5 stars for Dare and MacLean 2/3 starts for Shupe and Jordan It's Christmas, so Overall I enjoyed this Christmas anthology. Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean's entries were the strongest and most well rounded of the four novellas, the Shupe contribution being my least favorite just because I felt zero connection between the characters and they constantly flip flopped their emotions. I enjoyed that they were all loosely based on Christmas movies, but the shortbread trope connecting them was a bit weak. 4/5 stars for Dare and MacLean 2/3 starts for Shupe and Jordan It's Christmas, so I'll round up my review. Tis the season!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karishma

    Meet me in Mayfair - Tessa Dare - 3.5* The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean - 3.5* Heiress Alone - Sophie Jordan - 3* Christmas in Central Park (please take this rating with a grain of salt - this author's books never work for me) - Joanna Shupe - 1* The Sarah Maclean story is the best of this anthology.

  25. 4 out of 5

    nick

    Really enjoyed this one! I'm not a short story or holiday romance fun, but all 4 stories were great.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Birch

    Absolute holiday anthology perfection!!! Everything I adore in a holiday story is here, times four! From children to child-like behavior in the snow to a touch of magic to more than a touch of steamy kisses, How the Dukes Stole Christmas is a perfect sampling of the incredible skills of Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe. Whether you are new to these authors or a long time fan you will fall in love with this Christmas treasure! Bonus: Sarah MacLean also shares a family ho Absolute holiday anthology perfection!!! Everything I adore in a holiday story is here, times four! From children to child-like behavior in the snow to a touch of magic to more than a touch of steamy kisses, How the Dukes Stole Christmas is a perfect sampling of the incredible skills of Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe. Whether you are new to these authors or a long time fan you will fall in love with this Christmas treasure! Bonus: Sarah MacLean also shares a family holiday recipe!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara Reads (mostly) LOTS of Romance

    Literally!!! I loved each novella in this amazing anthology!!! EEEPPP that is all. I won't write a full review lol

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenica

    Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare Unsurprisingly, Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare is a delightful read that has characters I really adore and the best line of social commentary: “I don’t like to be praised in ways that deprecate the remainder of my sex. The world has countless jewel-worthy women. I’m not the only one.” Louisa’s family is about to be thrown out of the home they’ve lived in for her entire life because the newly minted duke decided, without meeting them, that he was cashing in the d Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare Unsurprisingly, Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare is a delightful read that has characters I really adore and the best line of social commentary: “I don’t like to be praised in ways that deprecate the remainder of my sex. The world has countless jewel-worthy women. I’m not the only one.” Louisa’s family is about to be thrown out of the home they’ve lived in for her entire life because the newly minted duke decided, without meeting them, that he was cashing in the debt they owed with interest immediately. Louisa views this ball she’s about to attend as essentially her family’s last home; she must secure a wealthy husband. Instead, she gets to the ball and her best friend informs her she’s got to cover for her because she’s sneaking off to Scotland to marry her father’s steward’s son. Scandalous. So, Louisa must dance Fiona’s promised dances and obviously, the new Duke was already on Fiona’s dance card. Hijinks ensue and I will spoil exactly none of them because this book is frankly too short for that. What I loved about this novella is that Louisa and James have real conversations in the time they spend together and somehow this shortened hate to love trope still works. It’s really a testament to Dare’s writing that I’m not left desperate for more, but actually feel like it was a complete story. Also, it’s definitely perfect for the holiday season and has me excited for snow and Christmas. The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean “You have a smart mouth.” “Aren’t you lucky you are able to kiss it?” Cue me swooning over Sarah MacLean’s words as per usual. This second chance novella involves secret passage ways, a persistent desire for a white Christmas, and a duke who was too busy building an empire that he neglected his reason for wanting it. Jack, Jacqueline, is a really fantastic heroine. She’s been traveling the world with her aunt since Christmas twelve years ago, but now she’s back in Eben’s kitchen like she never left. Eben is, unsurprisingly given the title and his name, essentially a Scrooge figure, but much kinder. He’s also desperately in love with Jack and really isn’t sure how to deal with her sudden reappearance. And you know how things go from here, of course. MacLean wrote angst in this novella that about broke my heart. You could feel the heartbreak and the angst and it was so good. I liked the way the narrative had Eben narrating the present and Jack narrating the past. It made the transitions feel more natural somehow. I also liked that the flashbacks really showed us why they’re still in love with one another twelve years later. Also, I always love the side characters Sarah develops and this novella is no exception to that. My only negative is that the epilogue was such a tease! And also, if I don’t get a white Christmas, I’m going to be so resentful! Definitely a great holiday novella, which I would highly recommend. Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan If you love forced proximity and Scottish heroes, this novella might just be for you. While it wasn't my favorite, there was something compelling about the cast of characters. However, the insta love is strong in this one, which seems odd as it's set up as a hate to love. A novella seems to be a difficult form to pull of a truly perfect hate to love. However, I did really enjoy this one and could fully buy into the HEA. Christmas in Central Park by Joanna Shupe I used to think there wasn't a trope I disliked more than the secret baby or whoops, I'm pregnant, let's get married, but now... Now I'm pretty sure that deliberately keeping your identity from someone is actually my least favorite trope. Plus, Duke was absurdly sanctimonious and unbearable. Rose had good reasons to keep her identity a secret, but only up to a point. But regardless, when we were at the end for the HEA, I just didn't believe it. It was too fast and too big and too sudden of a change. That said, if the keeping your identity a secret thing doesn't tend to bother you, it might be worth a shot.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elodie

    I’m half in this book, a sweet bundle of cute tale with Christmas spirit. Meet Me In Mayfair by Tessa Dare is a sweet story of the encounter of two people from different worlds. James, the Duke of this story is a country boy, he never expected to inherit his tittle and feels like he does not fit in London society, he has also preconceived ideas about Londoners, why he rebuffed Louise. Louisa is at her end wits, soon her family will be evicted from their London house because of a long forgotten debt I’m half in this book, a sweet bundle of cute tale with Christmas spirit. Meet Me In Mayfair by Tessa Dare is a sweet story of the encounter of two people from different worlds. James, the Duke of this story is a country boy, he never expected to inherit his tittle and feels like he does not fit in London society, he has also preconceived ideas about Londoners, why he rebuffed Louise. Louisa is at her end wits, soon her family will be evicted from their London house because of a long forgotten debt, why she must secure a fine catch to save her own. She just never expected to meet the one man she should loathe the most, and while their worlds collide, they discover a different side of the other, something who make them wonder for more. But how is it possible when one has the others destiny in its hands and the second kept it secret. It was a funny and cute journey for them to get to their HEA. The Duke Of Christmas Present by Sarah Maclean was a lovely retaling of Scrooge story. Eben (...ezer...) was not the usual greedy character from the classic tale, here he tried to redeem his father’s sin by bringing back his estate to the wealth it has before but doing so he lost his way and the woman he loved. Jacqueline/Jack has always loved Eben but at a time, she became transparent, not enough for him, why she left before being forgotten. It was the story of their Christmas past and present and maybe future. An adorable tale of two people who needed time to grew up and comprehend how they could be together without sacrificing their dreams, which were not necessary what the other thought it would be. “It was you. My brilliant, beautiful past. My miracle present.” And he immediately set about giving her the future she deserved.” Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan, a very entertaining adaptation of Home Alone, with no dumb vilains but funny meddling characters. Like in the movie, Annis wakes up to realize her family left in a hurry without her. So she is here, left in Scotland, snowed up with two elderly attendants. Until the Duke next door breaks in her house to retrieve them because of reivers. Annis is not the usual debutante, she has no interest in the marriage mart, only whisking for quiet time, gardening and reading. But meeting and getting to know Calder will shake all what she thought she expected from life. Calder can’t stand those new money Londoners who run after any tittle. But Annis seems to be different, not interested in his nobility, not even in a husband but not immune to himself. It was a nice read with sweet funny brazen second characters a little too interfering.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shelee at Book Reader Chronicles

    Tessa Dare’s Meet Me in Mayfair was a hopelessly romantic short story with a young woman on a quest to find a wealthy man to marry before her family loses their assets. Dare’s quintessential wit and charm quickly pulled me into Louisa’s world and had me delighting in her whimsical yet grounded personality. The chemistry she had with the Duke was instant and beguiling, an organic romance that spoke for itself with minimal effort from the writing. The flow, connection, and journey they had with Tessa Dare’s Meet Me in Mayfair was a hopelessly romantic short story with a young woman on a quest to find a wealthy man to marry before her family loses their assets. Dare’s quintessential wit and charm quickly pulled me into Louisa’s world and had me delighting in her whimsical yet grounded personality. The chemistry she had with the Duke was instant and beguiling, an organic romance that spoke for itself with minimal effort from the writing. The flow, connection, and journey they had with one another was simply spectacular, and I could’ve read two-hundred more pages of them. This is the kind of feel-good story with a punch that readers crave, and I loved this story most of all. The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean was an emotional second-chance romance between childhood lovers. For a short story, I was amazed at how quickly and easily their past and present wove within one another to create a love story with no missing pieces. The subtle undertones of love and pain were beautifully handled and incredibly potent—turbulent feelings interlaced with hopeful attraction. I love a story with a man who can be remorseful when finally confronted, and I really loved how this one played out. Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan places readers into the Highlands with its left-behind heroine and the cantankerous Scottish Duke who wants nothing to do with her kind. Jordan’s hero to the rescue certainly made for a romantic and sensual love story that bloomed between two characters forced into close quarters. Even with their contempt, the attraction was this solid, physical thing hanging between them and I loved how easily it gained ground. The one story I struggled with was Joanna Shupe’s Christmas in Central Park. I had never read this author so I cannot speak to if it was the setting of the story (time period) or if it was simply the story itself. It was quite a shock to go from three ‘period pieces’ to a non-‘period piece,’ but after getting over that, I found myself struggling with the characters themselves—their chemistry, their depth—as we followed along Rose’s disastrous holiday party built upon a wish and a prayer. I couldn’t fall into it or find myself rooting for either main character, and I wish that weren’t the case. How the Dukes Stole Christmas had an absolutely wonderful array of short stories set in the Christmas holiday that evoked every possible emotion from humor to sadness and heartbreak to absolute infatuation. Each story had its own magical qualities that really showcased the different sides to a love story and the feeling of family and joy around the holidays. Though they be shorter stories, there was zero skimping on the storytelling or the romance that built between each couple, and I could re-read them all again. **Received an early copy; this had no bearing on my opinions**

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