It's the most wonderful time of the year.
What type of "Rita's" list would this be without a pick from the beloved works of Lisa Kleypas!? If you know Kleypas novels, you know The Wallflowers. Chances are, your favorite is one of the Bowman sisters! (Mine is Lilith, of course) and this book features Rafe, one of their devil-may-care brothers from America! This is the story where all of our heroines make an appearance as they play matchmaker to an honorary Wallflower!
'A Wallflower Christmas' by Lisa Kleypas
"It's Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts."
This next Christmas-themed favorite of mine was actually the first book by this author that I ever read. Jo Beverley has tons of amazing historicals, I've read plenty, but this particular one will always be special to me and a favorite to crack open this time of year. I loved Judith as a heroine and as far as reluctant historical alpha males go, Leander is pretty cool, too! LOL. And I loved the kids and how they added so much MORE "ummhp" to the story!
'Christmas Angel' by Jo Beverley"Leander, Lord Charrington has a problem. Raised to be a charming diplomat, women fall in love with him. He, however, seems unable to fall in love with them. For wife, therefore, he wants a woman he can live with on honest terms, and an impoverished widow seems ideal. Judith Rossiter thanks heaven for this escape from disaster. But can she keep to the terms of their agreement and not fall in love with her charming husband?"
This Christmas anthology/omnibus (whatever term you want to use) was wonderful to read. I really liked it. It did have romance on "speed" syndrome (points to the story of pregnant divorcee who gets trapped in a cabin, miracle doctor rolls along and helps her deliver, then he falls in loves and marries her) But I STILL enjoy this book. Woot to anthologies!
NAUGHTY OR NICE? by Stephanie Bond
Okay, so I maybe, kind, DIDN'T read this yet....But it's right here. In the good ole TBR pile (and has been here for weeks, GAH!). I can't give much commentary, but I love Victoria Alexander, her lovely Effington series, and it DOES have a Rake's favorite Christmas tradition in it. Read it right with me and let's add it to our list of go-backs for the holidays!
"Dashing Jonathon Effington, the Marquess of Helmsley, has had more than one lady willingly fall into his arms. But he's so delicious none has ever complained at their inevitable parting. And while Jonathon's no stranger to passion of the flesh, his heart has remained untouched. Until now ..
'Let It Be Love' by Victoria Alexander
'Let It Be Love' by Victoria Alexander
At each Christmas Ball, Jonathon selects a delectable lady to share the pleasures of the evening -- after all, it's a holiday tradition! But he is shocked to discover that his choice is replaced by an enchanting stranger who surprises him with a proposal of marriage. Beautiful Fiona Fairchild is desperate -- only a wedding will save her sisters and her inheritance. But Jonathon has no interest in marriage, and what starts as a shocking proposal turns into a scandalous proposition that might ruin them both ..."
And of course I have to include my God Mama of Romance, Johanna Lindsey! I am featuring the omnibus which includes both the wonderful reunion-/mystery/time-travel-ish Christmas story with the beloved Mallory/Anderson family in 'The Present', and a lovely Christmas novel that I really read a year from today and fell in love with; 'Home For The Holidays'. If you love the Mallory's, you'll flip for this little revisit which has a diary plot line in which we learn of the unlikely love of their mysterious gypsy ancestor. And 'Home For The Holidays' is such a sweet book where a girl believe her father abandoned her and her little brother in mounds of debt and when the owner of her childhood home comes around, she's at her wits end. The new owner is a quintessential ass-and-hole, stick up the butt, responsibility-minded scrooge who slowly allows his heart to melt for the harpy who's held up in his newly acquired piece of property.
Those are my favorites and I hope a few of them become yours (or already are)! Share your personal favs with me!!