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Download Under the Mistletoe (Signet Eclipse) epub

by Mary Balogh

In this beautifully written “Christmas gift to her readers” (Booklist), New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh draws on the warmth of the Christmas season to heal the wounds of the human heart in five holiday historical romance 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 chaperon 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.
Download Under the Mistletoe (Signet Eclipse) epub
ISBN: 0451219791
ISBN13: 978-0451219794
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Mary Balogh
Language: English
Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (October 3, 2006)
ePUB size: 1831 kb
FB2 size: 1849 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 470
Other Formats: mbr txt docx doc

When I bought this bundle I didn't have any expectations so I was pleasantly surprised by the stories. Quite a few of them had a bit of a "second chance" feel to them but mostly it wasn't a problem for me. You do need tissues for this bunch of stories!

A Family Christmas
The h had been "sold off" by her noble parents to a cit, so that they can restore the family coffers. At the start of the story, the h has only seen the H briefly in the year of the marriage. He is coming home for Christmas and the h is wound up about it. They'd had 2 weeks of marriage before the H left the h to go back to London. She discovered she was pregnant and gave birth a few months before the start of the story. When the baby was born, the H had come down for a few days only. They are virtually strangers and very cold towards each other. Added to that the h's overbearing parents had come for a visit and overstayed their welcome by months. The h's mother is awful to the H because of his lowly status. There is no mention of cheating, for those who care.

The Star of Bethlehem
Another married couple with problems. The main characters have been married for almost 2 years but aside from in the bedroom, they don't appear to be able to get along. At the start, the h tells the H that she's lost the diamond in her engagement ring and she nicknamed the ring "The Star of Bethlehem." The H had already decided that he was going to banish the h to their country estate after Christmas because of her flirting with other men. Lots of misunderstandings but a decent story and again no mention of cheating.

The Best Gift
The h has spent her entire life at a school, where she was placed when she was born. It seems fairly obvious that she was an illegitimate daughter placed in school to get rid of her. Her schooling was paid for until she finished and she stayed on as a teacher. She isn't respected by the kids and has had a very deprived life. She has never experienced a proper Christmas and so when the H is requested to pick up his niece and take her home for the holidays, the H offers her the job of looking after his niece. She is beyond excited about it and when they arrive at the H's home, it's to find his illegitimate daughter waiting for him. It's a very sweet story and probably my favourite of the bundle. One cannot help but be moved by the h's experience of all of the things she'd missed out on over Christmas in her past.

Playing House
This one was another that really tugged at the heart strings. The h and her family have lost their father and because there is no money, they are all to be separated after Christmas. She hears that the H is back in residence and she goes to see him to call in a favour. They had grown up together and been sweethearts before his older brother died and he became the marquis. He forgot about the h then and ended up marrying the reigning beauty of the ton. That marriage had been a disaster but he ended up with a daughter whom he loved. He is now a bitter widower and distrusts all women because he thinks they want him for money and his title. When the h asks for a goose for her family's final Christmas as well as presents for her brother and sister, the H thinks she's trying to trick him into marriage with him. It was hard to read about his continuing suspicions for the duration of the story. The h was a wonderful character.

No Room at the Inn
I liked this story the least as there was too much going on between too many characters. The premise is that a whole bunch of people get stranded because of the weather at a mediocre inn over Christmas. The food is terrible and the owners not a welcoming lot. The plot is meant to remind us of the story of the birth of Jesus but it wasn't a wonderful attempt. One of the couples is a husband and wife with a terrible marriage. I kept feeling like the H was a complete cad. He not only cheated on her with a variety of mistresses but it was his fault that their sex life was miserable too. If you aren't OCD like me about finishing books, then I'd suggest skipping this one.
Delightful! What a great collection! Mary Balogh at her best...

Of the five stories, I'd only read the first elsewhere, but I did not mind reading it again.

And as much as I enjoyed that story, I liked the others even more. I was moved to tears several times, and just delighted in immersing myself in stories of dreams-coming-true..... a tonic for this world-weary soul.
doesnt Do You
I am blown away in admiration of this author’s magic pen. Under The Mistletoe is a collection of brilliant stories that I kept wishing would never end. After each one, I thought the next could never be as good, but dealing with a creative genius like Mary Balogh, there can never be disappointment. There was nothing I did not like, and one of the few authors whose books I would be happy to return to after a time. Wonderful protagonists in a world perfectly portrayed, in challenging settings, dancing to the tune of a master story teller.
Mary Balogh, when on her game, is a great writer.

However (isn't there always a however?) this collection had some hits and misses. Mostly for me, anyway, it was the length of the stories forcing stuff to happen too quickly which hurt the believablity of the 'magical conversions'.

'Family Christmas' could have been a great novel length story of a couple wanting to change and finding their own special way of doing so. But it needed another 200 to 250 or so pages to do that. It was good but could have been a very special story.

'Star of Bethlehem' was very good and was the only one that wouldn't have benefited much with an extension. This story was the one best suited as a short story.

'The Best Gift' was good for what it was but felt more like a outline of a really good idea.

'Playing House was little weak like the author lost interest or needed to just get the story done for a deadline. The writing was very good but seemed rushed.

The only one I didn't care for at all was the very last one, 'No Room at the Inn'. It was contrived and irritating.

But the others were well written for their length. Some writers struggle with 75 pages or so for stories and others struggle with full length novels. As a small time writer, I find it hard to write more than a 100 or so pages.

I would rate this a 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 with 2 cautions -

1. Don't read them back to back but read them over a month or so - that way the Christmas themes won't overwhelm you.

2. Don't read them if a 'compression' of events bothers you - in other words falling in love in a day or two instead of a few weeks or months.

Recommended with the above 2 cautions!
Even though I already have these books in paperback, I bought them again for my kindle so that I could read them over the holidays while in Florida.
My favorite story is The Best Gift. An orphan who has grown up and become a spinster teacher experiences her 1st Christmas at the home of a bachelor and his niece. Add in a cute little waif of 4 years old who is the bachelor's by-blow and the chances for love through the holidays spreads.
All 5 books are great to read during the holidays to bring about Christmas cheer in our own lives.
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite Regency Romance writers and it is hard to find better Christmas stories in this genre. Five beautiful love stories and one that especially reminds us of what Christmas is all about: Peace, Love, Caring and Sharing; love abounds in all of them. This book will be mandatory reading for me every Christmas . . . I'm so glad to have found all of Mary Balogh's wonderful books and short stories. This book is worth every cent of the price and I spent several great evenings enjoying each one of them.
As each story was told they each told of the true love the birth of Christ gave us even though each story was so different from the other.
Just the time of year to read stories of love, faith and transformation. Memorable characters and situations make for satisfying Christmas romance.