Sunday, September 12, 2021

Review: Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Suzanne Enoch, Amelia Grey, and Anna Bennett

Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Suzanne Enoch, Amelia Grey, and Anna Bennett
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance 
Kissing Under the Mistletoe cover
ISBN: 9781250797445
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

From the Scottish highlands, to the bustle and tussle of London, to a hotel on the outskirts of town, three unforgettable authors bring the joy of Christmas romance in Kissing Under the Mistletoe.

Great Scot! by Suzanne Enoch

Miss Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale moment. Well past the marriageable age, she’s taken a position as a companion and is now stuck in Scotland for Christmas, alone even in the middle of the boisterous MacTaggert family. But when Brennan Andrews, an architect and cousin to the MacTaggerts, arrives to draw up plans for a new family home, Jane must decide if she will take a chance at a happily-ever-after, or settle into her small, safe life for good.

Christmas at Dewberry Hollow by Amelia Grey
Miss Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. She has a perfectly acceptable life with her mother at the Dewberry Hollow Inn, thank you very much. But when Gate, the Duke of Notsgrave’s grandson, appears at Dewberry Hollow searching for a carving on a tree, Isabelle cannot help but get involved. But Gate’s charm and their instant attraction makes Isabelle question if she’s willing to take her chance at love once again.

My Mistletoe Beau by Anna Bennett
Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish Earl of Frostbough who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch. But when the earl, Jack Hardwick, catches her in the act, they strike a deal: she’ll pose as his fiancée in exchange for the watch. Falling in love is not part of the plan—but with a little Christmas magic, anything is possible…

“Great Scot!” (The Wild Wicked Highlanders, Book 3.5) by Suzanne Enoch
The MacTaggert family has returned home to Scotland for the holidays and Jane Bansil, cousin and former companion to the first MacTaggert bride, is along for the ride. Jane is at a crossroads in her life. She was tossed out of her family home for helping her cousin elope and the MacTaggerts have taken her in even though they don’t really need her services as a companion. Jane is over thirty and has never had a suitor so it surprises her when a handsome MacTaggert cousin, Brennan Andrews, takes her breath away. The one time Jane chose risk over safety it burned her, so should she really take a risk again and open her heart to the handsome Scottish architect?

“Great Scot!” sees a quiet, bookish spinster find love. Jane has been out of place among the boisterous MacTaggert family since taking shelter with them. There’s a melancholy about Jane that broke my heart and made her feel relatable. She doesn’t think fairytales are for people like her and she would rather curl up with a book than be social. I really wanted to see Jane find love and she does with a man who truly sees her. I loved that Brennan was instantly taken with Jane, that he didn’t want her to be anything other than who she was. He’s a widower who lives a quiet life and though he loves his cousins he’s definitely tamer than them. He and Jane fall in love so quickly that even for a Christmastime novella (which usually speeds things up) it felt a bit too rushed.

If you’re a fan of The Wild Wicked Highlanders you’ll delight in seeing Jane find her happily ever after. It was nice to revisit the MacTaggerts and see how they’re doing after they’re all wed. If you haven’t read the trilogy, you can jump in with “Great Scot!” but be warned that there are major spoilers for the full-length books. All in all, I found the love story to be rushed but sweet and I enjoy any time spent with Suzanne Enoch’s MacTaggert family.

“Christmas at Dewberry Hollow” by Amelia Grey
Isabelle Reed is quite happy running the Dewberry Hollow Inn with her mother and has no need to act like a highborn lady. She’d much rather focus on making the inn sustainable rather than find a husband. But sparks fly when a man on a mission crosses her path and sweeps her off her feet.

“Christmas at Dewberry Hollow” is a story of finding love when you aren’t expecting it. Isabelle is afraid to love because as a child her heart was broken by the man she thought would be her stepfather leaving. She’s put all her energy into making the family inn a success and sometimes clashes with her mother who wants her to be more ladylike. I enjoyed seeing Isabelle’s life at the inn and how she takes care of her guests. The romance, however, left me wanting a bit more.

Gate is the grandson of the Duke of Notsgrave. He’s wealthy but aimless as he’s not the heir. His grandfather is determined to find a particular tree he had carved his and his late wife’s initials in when staying at the Dewberry Hollow Inn years ago. Gate is equally determined to help him but finding a lone tree in a forest isn’t exactly easy. He needs Isabelle’s help and the two of them are instantly drawn to one another. Gate fits in at the inn and I can see why he and Isabelle would be a good match, but there’s something about Amelia Grey’s writing that never captured my attention. The story felt flat and the romance was not believable. The characters fell in love so fast I got whiplash and I just couldn’t find it in me to become invested in this tale.

“My Mistletoe Beau” by Anna Bennett
Eva Tiding is determined to recover her father’s pocket watch, even if she has to break into a rake’s dwelling to do so. Except when she’s caught by the scandalous Earl of Frostbough, he offers her an interesting proposition: pretend to be his fiancée in exchange for the watch. But what happens when a fake relationship starts to feel all-too-real?

“My Mistletoe Beau” was my favorite story of this anthology. Anna Bennett’s writing carried me away in this delightful Christmastime romance. Eva and Jack have instant chemistry and their banter made me grin. Jack wants to appease his grandmother by pretending to be ready to settle down and the would-be-thief in his bedroom is the perfect woman to pose as his fiancée. She wants the pocket watch and will do whatever it takes to get it back. It should be a simple arrangement, except as it turns out, Eva and Jack are truly perfect for one another. I loved watching their romance grow as Jack made peace with his ghosts and Eva decided to take a chance on love. Flirty and fun, filled with endearing characters and sprightly banter, “My Mistletoe Beau” is perfect for anyone looking for a charming and warm romance.

Kissing Under the Mistletoe is a bit of a mixed bag. I adored Anna Bennett’s installment and think this book is worth it just for Eva and Jack’s story. I liked Suzanne Enoch’s contribution, mostly because Jane’s quiet sadness and bookishness called to me. I haven’t read Amelia Grey’s writing before so I can’t say if this is her usual style but it simply wasn’t my cup of tea. If you enjoy fast-paced love stories with Christmas cheer, or if you’re a fan of any of these authors, there’s something for you to enjoy in this book.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.