zondag 30 september 2012

Anthology: Christmas Spirits

A collection of stories by Elizabeth Bevarly, Casey Claybourne, Lynn Kurland and Jenny Lykins, published November 1997.
Genre: contemporary or historical romance with ghosts.
Cover: Christmassy, I like it.

Christmas Spirits

Lynn Kurland - The three wise ghosts

The English countryside. A quaint inn at Christmastime. Three matchmaking ghosts have found the perfect setting for a modern day romance between a free-spirited American and a single-minded British executive.

This story ties in to both her MacCloud series and The Piaget series, and I enjoyed revisiting her world. I thoroughly enjoyed the antics of the ghosts, in trying to get their great-great-great-grandchildren together. And of course they were right, they were totally made for each other. Megan has been sent to England by her brother, to investigate the castle he just bought. Megan is a failure compared to her family, who are all very successful in what they do for a living, but Megan is the kind of 12 jobs, 13 accidents. She even managed to get herself fired in Disneyland. Something to do with Mickey Mouse and his ears …
Gideon is a total workaholic, send to the inn by his brother for a forced vacation. When he thinks he can just keep on working on his laptop, or use his phone, or his car to get into town, he did not know what the three ghosts would do to him and his possessions. Everything to keep him in the inn, with Megan, and some Christmas cheer.
When the inn’s owner runs screaming into the road after the ghosts have messed with her for the last time, Megan finds herself to be the new owner, as everything has been signed over to her (which would not be possible here in Holland, without her knowledge and consent and signature on a deed made by a civil law notary!). Determined to make a go at it, and succeed, she does her best to decorate the inn. The parts where both Megan and Gideon cannot cook and try to follow instructions, is hilarious.
And when Gideon finally sees the light, and knows there is more to life than work, it is Megan who needs to be convinced of that.

I enjoyed this story very much, and it makes me want to return to Lynn Kurlands world again. There are plenty of her (unread) books on my shelf. I liked both Megan and Gideon, but the ghosts made the story fun.

9 stars.

Casey Claybourne – Keeping Faith

When a little orphaned girl is befriended by a ghost and saved from the streets of Regency London, she proves to be a Christmas miracle for a grieving couple.

This little story was a real tearjerker. Both for the parents who lost their little girl to illness, and to the little girl who was living on the streets since her father died two months ago. It is the ghost of the dead girl who tries to push them all together, and Lady Stratford sure wants to keep Alice. She already loves the girl, now she only has to defy and persuade her husband to open his heart again.
I loved this little story, it was so well written, I was totally swayed by all the characters, and could feel with them and for them.

9 stars.

Elizabeth Bevarly – Only fifteen shopping days left

When the jolly matchmaking ghost of a department store Santa makes his Christmas gift list, he has a very special present planned for the busy store manager: one of Santa’s elves!

This one was fun again. After a divorce, Sophie Gift has to make a living for herself, finding a job and supporting herself for the first time. She married right after college but now her husband has dumped her for a 19 year old girl, and she is pregnant. Their friends have all chosen him, and she is alone in a small apartment. She loved Christmas, went all out every year, never forgetting anyone. But now, there is little reason to celebrate.
Mitchell Lauderdale is the new CEO of the department store his family has owned for generations, and he has no time for relationships. But when he first sees one of Santa’s elves in her very sexy costume, he takes a second look. Did he approve those costumes? No wonder there are so many fathers waiting in line with their children for a visit with Santa! But then Mrs. Claus starts attacking the children, and the dark elf and a blond one have to restrain her. And when Mitchell helps the elf to her feet, after she is clocked in the eye by mrs. Claus, he is mesmerized. Unfortunately, the store has a reputation, and a mandate for the upper management to get involved with the hour labourers. Still, he cannot keep from thinking about her, and when she doesn’t call him as promised, he calls her. And the next days, he keeps making excuses to visit Santa’s workshop, just to see Sophie Gift.

But the resident ghost thinks they are moving too slowly, after all, he has a reputation to uphold to have them fall in love and get married on Christmas day. Ever since 1946 he managed that. His death caused his beloved granddaughter to postpone her wedding, after which she got dumped by her fiancée and never married at all.
He just needs to give Mitchell and Sophie a few pushes in the right direction …

A very cute story, I very much enjoyed reading. It focuses a bit more on Mitchell, which is a nice change in a romance. He is determined to get closer to Sophie, but she is not going for it. I am not really sure why, perhaps I missed that bit while reading too fast to find out the next thing.

9 stars.

Jenny Lykins – The ghost of Christmas Present

Alane was looking forward to spending a cold, snowy Christmas alone, until an unexpected visitor causes a change of heart.

Alane is a painter, just like her famous father, but she has lost her muse. Deciding to take some time for herself, even through Christmas, she has hired a remote cabin in the woods to think about her life, and to work. To her surprise, the cabin is not empty, a very handsome ghost has been residing there for years. The ghost has seen many visitors to his cabin, some drove him crazy, and some entertained him. But never has he been attracted to one, like he is now to Alane. No matter he scared her half to death, he can’t keep away from her. Reluctanty, Alane acknowledges him, and spends time with him. They cannot touch, but she does feel warmth when they try.
It all took place in just a few days, but they fell in love, and Jared has to tell his sad story, of how he became a ghost, and stuck in this place. He died over 200 years ago, and roamed the world, until he came back to the place where his old home was, and this cabin was build on the same spot. He never was able to leave again after that, and he is pretty bored.

Can Alane really fall in love with a ghost? Someone she can never touch, never have children with? Who stays the same while she grows old? Who can never help her with something? Alane wants to, but Jared refuses her to give up her future for him. Their days together will soon end, and Alane will have to go back to her normal life. Without him in it.
But it is Christmas, and who knows when a Christmas Miracle will happen …

9 stars.

I really truly enjoyed all those four very different stories. The only know author to me is Lynn Kurland, and I know Elizabeth Bevarly’s name but have never read a full length novel by her. I will for sure read more books by all those authors. I like their writing style, their characters, the stories. And yes, I do enjoy reading Christmas books all through the year, not only in December.

9 stars average.

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

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