This is the fourteenth Regency Christmas Collection issued by Signet. From the very first edition, the quality has always been high, although to be sure, some have been higher than others. To me, this one is the very best of the bunch. It is as though each author has gone a little beyond her normal wonderful skills, and created something a bit more special than usual for this year of 2002. Four of the authors are favorites from past years; Edith Layton was in the very first book, so it's only appropriate that she lead off. Sandra Heath, Carla Kelly and Barbara Metzger have each been in several of the books, while Amanda McCabe is a worthy newcomer to the collection.
In some years, the books have had a theme, but this year they're just wonderful, heart-warming stories. Edith Layton's "The Amiable Miser" gives us a different look at a miserly sort of fellow, but one with the proverbial heart of gold. And even though he didn't really have to spend any of his valuables, he was still able to provide his niece with her heart's desire.
Barbara Metzger turns from her usual menagerie to the 'infantry' in the delightful "A Home for Hannah". Hannah is an orphan, or so she and the rest of the world thinks, until one day in the park, she spies a likely candidate to be her new 'Papa', thus setting in motion all sorts of interesting activities. Her new Papa is a penniless gentleman who discovers that love can indeed conquer all.
"A Partridge in a Pear Tree" by Amanda McCabe proves that the eye of the beholder may not always see the same things as the rest of the world, but in the end, it is the one who sets the rules that wins the game. Simplicity is, in many instances, much better than grandiose ideas, as established by Lady Kirkwood with her competition. Of course, the Lady wins out, bringing together two young relatives, Allison and William, who discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Certainly there are elves afoot at Christmastime; if you have doubts, you need do no more than read "The Solid Silver Chess Set" by Sandra Heath. If you then still have doubts, you can have no heart, no soul, and no sense of humor, either. The trials of poor little Bramble Bumblekin will bring a smile to your heart if you will but let them, and your soul will be warmed by the reunion of the formerly-fickle Miss Julia and her erstwhile suitor, Philip. Even young Bramble's holiday is made brighter by the inventive imagination of the author.
And finally, Carla Kelly unveils the solution to a mystery in "No Room at the Inn", allowing the young Mary to find not only her identity but her family as well. Twice over, in fact, when Joe also settles her into a love-filled home she'd never thought to have.
Any of these stories will provide a magnum of holiday cheer; together they'll warm your chilly nights and make you think of happy holidays! Enjoy!