cover image A Christmas to Remember

A Christmas to Remember

Lisa Kleypas et al. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-274723-5

Four talented authors combine four Regency-era short stories into one spirited, scintillating holiday treat. In Kleypas’s “I Will,” prim and proper Lady Caroline Hargreaves loathes everything about fiendish Andrew, Lord Drake, but she agrees to a mutually beneficial fake courtship: he’ll be reinstated in his father’s will and will pay off her brother’s gambling debts. What starts out as a deal with the devil turns into a match made in heaven. In Lorraine Heath’s “Deck the Halls with Love,” Alistair Wakefield, Marquess of Chetwyn, tries to rekindle a long-ago romance with Lady Meredith Hargreaves, but she refuses to call off her wedding to another man, afraid that Chetwyn will break her heart again. In Megan Frampton’s “No Groom at the Inn,” wealthy, loyal James Archer needs a fake bride-to-be to make his mother happy, so he offers to buy the penniless Sophronia Bettesford a cottage of her own, away from her awful relatives, if she agrees to play his fiancée. They discover they have a lot in common, and Sophronia’s inherent goodness, intelligence, and wit anchors James’s restless soul. In Vivienne Lorret’s “The Duke’s Christmas Wish,” when Ivy Sutherland arrives at the Christmas house party hosted by inventor Northcliff Bromley, Duke of Vale, he’s drawn to her effervescence, intelligence, and impulsiveness, putting his scientifically sound marriage formula—which holds monetary assets, lineage, and shared interests as the top factors—into question. This anthology is a wondrous combination of charming characters and unique circumstances; each of the stories is well-written and deeply satisfying. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (Oct.)