Sunday, November 22, 2009

Together By Christmas

The title: Together By Christmas
The author(s): Nicola Cornick, Catherine George, Louise Allen
Publication: Harlequin, 2009
Got it from:

I'm shallow and I bought this book because I thought the cover was gorgeous. There, I said it.

Now for the stories inside.

No wait, let's look at the cover again. Shiny Christmas ornaments! So pretty!

Okay, now we'll look at the stories.

"The Unmasking of Lady Loveless" by Nicola Cornick (Regency era). This one had an interesting premise, where a husband suspects his estranged wife is writing erotic literature and goes to tell her off. Unfortunately, the execution was awful and I didn't like this story at all. The hero was a total brute and instead of asking her what she was about, he practically rapes her as a form of punishment. Also, the story was really rushed and the romance felt forced. A big disappointment.

"Christmas Reunion" by Catherine George. Felicia and Gideon once played Romeo and Juliet in a high school play, but their real-life romance was cut short by a misunderstanding. Now, ten years later, they have a second chance at love. I really enjoyed this story, having not read many contemporary Christmas tales before. I liked how this one was set in England, too, because it showed some different British holiday traditions. I also like how the hero was rich but in an unconventional way (he owns a big chemist chain, or pharmacy chain in North American speak). Altogether this one felt very realistic and believable.

"A Mistletoe Masquerade" by Louise Allen. Back to the Regency era again. Lady Rowan agrees to go undercover as a servant to find out the truth about her friend's betrothed. She soon finds herself sparring with the man's irritating but oh-so-handsome valet. But surprise - the valet is actually the man's titled friend who is going undercover for similar reasons. Overall, a very silly story (they should have just been honest with each other and saved themselves a heap of trouble) with lots of anachronistic behavior and dialogue. But I enjoyed it anyway because I just love those sparring protagonists.

The Hills of Tuscany

The title: The Hills of Tuscany
The author: Ferenc Mate
Publication: Delta, 1998
Got it from: RC, Xmas 2003

I got this book as a Christmas present the year I studied in Rome and, uh, here it is, uh, six years later. R, if you're reading this...I'm sorry. I took this book with me everywhere, including Halifax and Perth, and I have been meaning to read it sooner than this. What can I say? Just a warning to those of you who have given me books as gifts that you may have to wait another five years for my review, but rest assured I will get to it eventually.

This book chronicles the experience of the author and his wife spontaneously moving to to Tuscany in the 1980's. The first half of the book concerns them looking for a house to live (no easy feat when everything is word-of-mouth) and the second half trying to accustom themselves to a completely foreign world. I read this book almost entirely on my breaks at work and the descriptions of the food made me terribly hungry. Also, if you didn't know this already, this book pretty much proves that Italians are lovable but certifiably insane. Now I'm off to find some crostini and pasta. With some gelato for dessert.