Under The Mistletoe

The historical romance stories presented in this book conjure up a pivotal Christmas in each of the main couple’s lives, made vivid by the author’s ability to create a compelling scene. The reluctance to celebrate the holiday that is characterized by generosity and forgiveness is a common thread throughout these stories which emphasize the importance of clear communication. Loneliness is a recurring theme which is emphasized by the contrast with the camaraderie that should be present as each of the main characters discovers that love is still very much alive and well and is enhanced by the excuse provided by mistletoe to exchange kisses of affection. The romances are a little too contrived in a couple of the stories but it is understandable given the strictures due to the brevity of the novellas. The warm loving atmosphere that ultimately results from enforced proximity is heartwarming and conjures up all of the good feelings of the season in this entertaining collection of tales.

“Under the Mistletoe” by Mary Balogh is an entertaining collection of five historical romance novellas with a seasonal theme. “A Family Christmas” tells the tale of a married couple, Elizabeth and Edwin, who have not really become acquainted despite the fact that they have made a child together. Their arranged marriage has been damaged by misconceptions on both sides but a shared Christmas celebration may finally allow them to show each other their deepest desires. “The Star of Bethlehem” is a ring that originally symbolized the love that Allan and Estelle felt for each other but which has now become damaged, just like their relationship. Each of them must find a way to recapture the joy they felt at the beginning but it may take a young boy’s intervention to allow them to admit what they truly feel. “The Best Gift” is discovered when Warren Nash is forced to spend Christmas with his sullen niece, one of her disdained teachers and his illegitimate daughter. “Playing House” details the lengths that soon-to-be governess Lilias Angrove is willing to go to in order to give her siblings one last memorable Christmas, despite the unwillingness of their benefactor, the Marquess of Bedford. And, finally, “No Room at the Inn” gives a historical romance twist on the Nativity story.

Book Blurb for Under The Mistletoe

In this beautifully written ?Christmas gift to her readers” (Booklist) New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh draws on the warmth of the holiday season to heal the wounds of the human heart in five cherished novellas of family, friends, lovers, and strangers....

In A Family Christmas, an estranged husband and wife make an unexpected connection?and an illuminating discovery?during the holiday season.

The Star of Bethlehem is a lost diamond ring causing a riff in an already troubled marriage until a servant solves not one mystery but three surrounding its disappearance.

The Best Gift can come at the most unexpected moments, especially for a lonesome teacher enlisted over the holidays to chaperone the niece of a notorious rake.

Playing House finds an impoverished young woman longing to celebrate just one last, joyous Christmas before she and her orphaned siblings are separated forever.

And in No Room at the Inn, a winter storm on Christmas Eve brings a young couple in from the cold, desperately in need of warmth and shelter for their unborn child.

Night Owl Reviews Feb, 2014 4.00