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Holly and Hopeful Hearts: A Bluestocking Belles Collection by [Warfield, Caroline, Knight, Jude, Ellis, Susana, Cale, Jessica, Ewing, Sherry, Bennett, Amy Rose, Zoltack, Nicole]
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Holly and Hopeful Hearts: A Bluestocking Belles Collection Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 684 pages Word Wise: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

The Bluestocking Belles' 2016 Holiday Boxed Set

When the Duchess of Haverford sends out invitations to a Yuletide house party and a New Year’s Eve ball at her country estate, Hollystone Hall, those who respond know that Her Grace intends to raise money for her favorite cause and promote whatever marriages she can. Eight assorted heroes and heroines set out with their pocketbooks firmly clutched and hearts in protective custody. Or are they?

The Bluestocking Belles are proud to present eight never before published novellas centered on the Duchess of Haverford's ball. Her favorite cause is also one dear to the hearts of the Bluestocking Belles, women's education. 25% of all proceeds will be donated to the Malala Fund.

A Suitable Husband, by Jude Knight

As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Perhaps among the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party, she will find a suitable husband?

Valuing Vanessa, by Susana Ellis

Facing a dim future as a spinster under her mother’s thumb, Vanessa Sedgely makes a practical decision to attach an amiable gentleman who will not try to rule her life.

A Kiss for Charity, by Sherry Ewing

Young widow Grace, Lady de Courtenay, has no idea how a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would make her yearn for love again.

Artemis, by Jessica Cale

Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?

The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight

James must marry to please his grandfather, the duke, and to win social acceptance for himself and his father’s other foreign-born children. But only Lady Sophia Belvoir makes his heart sing, and to win her he must invite himself to spend Christmas at the home of his father’s greatest enemy.

Christmas Kisses, by Nicole Zoltack

Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts.

An Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield

Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?

Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett

Headstrong bluestocking, Miss Kate Woodville, never thought her Christmas would be spent racing across England with a viscount hell-bent on vengeance. She certainly never expected to find love...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4014 KB
  • Print Length: 684 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Bluestocking Belles (8 November 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,204 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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This linked anthology tells of the goings on at the Christmastide house party of the Duchess of Haverford.
I am amazed at the number of details through all the stories that link up, from the masquerade ball, through to the kittens.
I'm also impressed at the sheer volume of knowledge of the era that was displayed here, not just of London society, but also other cultures in existence at the time.
Recommended for its charm, wittiness, and of course, enough happily ever afters to put a smile on any romance readers' face.
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I really enjoyed this collection. The short stories were well constructed and there was good variety between the books. The continuous common thread added an extra interest. I found the story that had a chapter between each novella was delightful and a different way to hold the attention of the reader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 42 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven talented authors writing eight stories 12 November 2016
By Dee Foster - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is nothing more exciting than an invitation to the Duchess of Haverford’s? Top it off with seven talented authors writing eight stories and the event of the season reaches epic heights.
A Suitable Husband by Jude Knight starts us off with the Duchess’s companion, Cedrica Grenford helping organize everyone as they arrive. All while dealing with the regular kitchen staff and the intriguing chef hired specifically for the party. Highly encouraged to mingle with the guests Cedrica finds herself repeatedly drawn to “her” chef. Each thinking they are beneath each other in rank will they come to their senses? This story is written in a unique way as it is told between the stories of each different author.
Valuing Vanessa by Susana Ellis
Never expected marry, to forever be destined to wait on her mother – that is the life Vanessa Sedgely faces. Until she can take it no more. The Duchess’s house party may just be the place to find someone who allow her to control her own life.
George Durand had a marriage that was less than ideal. Looking to never marry again he must find some way to handle his wayward daughter. Will a chance meeting followed by another and another have George rethinking his views on marriage and will the lady in question agree to forgo some of her freedom?
A well written tale by Ms. Ellis that will have any romantic rooting for the gel that everyone thinks is not of any value and the man soured on love.
A Kiss for Charity by Sherry Ewing
Having lost the love his life, Lord Nicholas Lacey will never marry again. A mistress on the other hand is not out of the question. At least until a masquerade ball cracks the wall around his heart.
Married young, Grace, Lady de Courtenay, was not looking to marry again. Until a sisterly bet and a masquerade ball have her realizing that maybe she wants more.
As always Ms. Ewing has written another beautiful story.
Artemis by Jessica Cale
Pregnant actress. Being an actress is a stigma – add pregnant to it one falls to the lowest of low ranks. A fact Charlotte Halfpenny knows all too well. Just as she’s making the ultimate decision to end the misery she is presented with an opportunity she considered out of her reach.
The Earl of Somerton never socializes; well other than the opera and then only to watch a certain actress. Knowing he will never father a child of his own he reaches the decision that will benefit them both.
Can these two make things work when things aren’t what they seem?
Hang on because Ms. Cale writes an OMG moment that will have your jaw dropping and loving every word!!
The Bluestocking and the Barbarian by Jude Knight
Is he or isn’t he? That’s the question being debated about James Winderfield, Lord Elfingham. Is he the legitimate heir to the Earl of Sutton? James knows he is and is unconcerned; well, mostly unconcerned because when it comes to a certain lady with blue-gray eyes.
Dreams of a golden horse and the magnificent prince riding to her rescue have haunted Lady Sophia Belvoir for months. Aggravating since she knows she would never stand a chance once he has met her beautiful sister.
Will the question of James’ birth, an overly aggravating brother and a lack of confidence keep these two apart?
Ms. Knight had me laughing at some of James’ antics and wanting to shake confidence into Sophia. Wonderful story!!
Christmas Kisses by Nicole Zoltack
Lady Anna Wycliff loves only one man and believes he loves only her despite all the tales in the scandal sheets. When forced to attend a house party away from her love, little doubts begin to seep in; especially when the rude, Lord Pershore is in attendance.
Pain, suffering, and gossip follow Jasper Warwick, Lord Pershore, everywhere he goes. Which makes the last thing he wants is his mother playing matchmaker. Even if the lovely Lady Anna Wycliff is in attendance.
Wonderful tale by Nicole Zoltack.
An Open Heart by Caroline Warfield
Esther Baumann respects her faith and fully intends to raise her children the traditions but to also to be open to new things. Now she must find a husband that feels the same way. So why does she have these strange feelings for a man who only wants a wife who will keep a traditional home?
Adam Halvey fully intends to ask for Esther Baumann’s hand. When he finds out their differences of what a marriage should be can he change her way of thinking or is he the one who should change? A journey may just help him realize which it should be?
Loved Esther’s determination to hold onto what she wants and Adam’s journey to discovery in this beautiful tale by Caroline Warfield.
Dashing Through the Snow by Amy Rose Bennett
Freddie Woodville may just be the thing that ruins his sister’s, Miss Kate Woodville, reputation. A fact brought to life at a Vauxhall Garden Masquerade Ball when he runs off with one of her former students who happens to be the sister of a viscount.
Anthony Lockhart, Viscount Stanton, cannot believe his sister has run off with a man he considers beneath her. Determined to catch up to them before any rumors fly he is forced to endure the company of the man’s sister. Can they reach the runaways before any damage is done – both to the runaways and to their own hearts?
Ms. Bennett had me wanting to smack the overbearing Anthony while cheering Kate’s determination. Love a heroine who can hold her own against an arse of a hero!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Anthology 17 November 2016
By I. Zee - Published on
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This anthology contains multiple novellas with events that overlap, centering around a holiday ball given by a duchess who has a propensity to contribute to worthy causes. The major players from one novella appear as supporting characters in others, and events in one novella are seen from different angles in others. There is one story, concerning the "poor relation" of the duchess that is told a chapter at a time, interspersed with the other stories.

The individual stories vary in quality. The first one, Valuing Vanessa, was just dull. The second novella, A Kiss for Charity, was better, but the h was annoying when she continued to allow the H to assume that her brother was her husband, when she could have told him easily, despite his abruptness. The H's in these two stories were brothers-in-law both of whose wives (sisters) had been killed in an accident.

The third story, Artemis, had a plot twist that I saw coming, although it surprised me. The twist took this tale into a sub-genre of romance that not everyone will like. It didn't bother me, although it didn't interest me either.
The Bluestocking and the Barbarian was a pretty good story, and dealt with ethnic bigotry, but not in a very heavy-handed way.

Christmas Kisses gave us a very rude H who seemed to have given himself an attitude adjustment a bit quickly to be believable. It also had a side story of the h's mother's romantic history. Oh, and in my Kindle edition, I found that the story made a lot more sense if I read Chapter 12 before Chapter 11. They seem to have been interchanged and I was very puzzled for a bit!

Open Hearts was about Esther, who wasn't sure she wanted to marry Adam, a man of her own Jewish faith, because she felt her own dreams would become secondary to his.

The last story, Dashing Through the Snow, has the very arrogant H practically abducting the h for a dash to Gretna Green -- not because he wants to marry her, but because he wants to stop his sister from marrying her brother. His family is too good for hers, you see, and her brother will ruin his sister. Much like the H is doing to the h?

The story of Cedrica, A Suitable Husband, which is spread out over the book a chapter at a time, just didn't hold my interest, despite having a sympathetic h. I should have liked it better than I did, but for some reason it just didn't sparkle.

I almost put this book aside after the first novella, but I'm glad I persisted. The stories really did get better as they went along, although I don't think any of them are particularly memorable. If you want to read a REALLY good book with the theme of a Christmas Ball, try "The Last Chance Christmas Ball" by Mary Jo Putney and others.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming Collection of Holiday Romances 8 November 2016
By Teri Donaldson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have waited all year for this wonderful collection of romantic holiday stories by the Bluestocking Belles, a talented group of authors. It was worth the wait.
The setting for each story is the Duchess of Haverford's Yuletide house party and a New Year's Eve ball at Hollystone Hall. Not only does the Duchess enjoy matchmaking, she has a special place in her heart for women's education, as do the Belles.
While each story is mainly about the sweet and special romance between two of the characters, the stories do intertwine as all of the characters are staying at Hollystone Hall.
I was so caught in the book and quickly flipped the pages so I could see who got their happily ever after next. Each story made me smile and sigh.
It is amazing to me that each story was written by a different author. Collectively, their voices blended and produced what will surely be one of my all time favorite books. One really fun thing is that while this is a stand alone collection, some of the characters have appeared in other books by the Belles. If this is your first time reading a book by these fabulous authors, you will want to check out each author individually. I first met the authors with their 2015 holiday collection. In the past year, I have read each of the books written by them. I have enjoyed them all, but this one is extra special.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice mix of novellas 12 May 2017
By Karen Talley - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a nice collection of novellas, with some being much better than others. All of the stories take place at a house party given by a Duchess for a charity event. Although they are written by different authors, the characters make appearances in all of the stories.
A Suitable Husband: For some odd (and irritating) reason, this novella is told one chapter at a time after another novella is finished. I didn't read it in that fashion. I actually read all of it before I started the others. Cedrica, the daughter of a vicar, is serving as the private secretary of the Duchess. She is attracted to the French chef who has been hired for the house party. This is actually my favorite of the novellas. 4 stars
Valuing Vanessa: A blue stocking sets her sights on a lawyer with a troubled 15 year old daughter. 4stars
A Kiss for Charity: A long, drawn out mistaken identity causes problems. 3stars
Artemis: A pregnant actress and a reclusive Earl find happiness. *****************SPOILER ALERT******************This is a well done novella that features a same sex/transgender couple and may not be for all readers.************END SPOILER************* 4 1/2 stars
The Bluestocking and the Barbarian: Lady Sophis is attracted to the foreign-born heir of a Duke but is convinced that he is courting her younger sister. 4 stars
Christmas Kisses: Anne is 17 and believes herself to be in love with a Duke who is known to be a womanizer. Her mother wants her to marry Jasper, the son of a friend. This seems to be written for teens or YA. The heroine's behavior is immature and silly. The plot is boring. 2 1/2 stars
An Open Heart: Esther, the Jewish daughter of a banker, is invited to a house party and Christmas ball given by a Duchess. Improbable and not really interesting. 3 stars
Dashing Through the Snow: Kate is a teacher who is forced to accompany a viscount who is chasing after his runaway sister. The sister is, in fact, eloping with Kate's brother. This novella is okay, but predictable. 3 stars
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 15 February 2017
By Teresa - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Each story I read I thought had to be the best, but I was so surprised when I loved the next story just as well, if not better than the previous story.
There was also something in the collection I had never seen before, which I rather liked. One of the stories ran the entire length of the collection, with one or two chapters between each story. It helped tie the entire collection together. I also loved how it pretty much all happened in the same places, over the same period of time. I loved how the authors all made efforts to use characters from the house party, and tie each story together, if even only slightly! I love strong spirited bluestockings, and just have to love the wonderful men who are strong enough to love them!!! Excellent in every way!

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