It may be July 31, but the Regency world is busily thinking Christmas traditions! At least, those writers of Regency (or hopefuls, maybe) for the Cotillion imprint of Ellora’s Cave have been busily thinking of Christmas 2013 since shortly after Christmas 2012!
I’m happy to report that there will be at least one print anthology this year, and perhaps even two! Both of them chockfull of exciting and warm-hearted romance novellas – Regency style, that is. The theme for this year’s stories is Christmas Traditions. As I write this, eight stories have been accepted for publication: first as an individual e-book, then as part of a print anthology. However, not all the pertinent information is currently available, so there will be more of this information in next month’s column.
The first of this year’s stories is Twelve Days of Christmas by Barbara Miller, one of Cotillion’s original authors. The e-book version will be released on October 10. When I asked Barbara about her story, she responded: I chose to do a story that covers the twelve days of Christmas, but I explore one family’s traditions for those days. When talking about Christmas traditions, Jo Beverly reminds us that in Jane Austen’s Persuasion the big event of Christmas for most families is the return of the schoolboys for the holidays. I thought a great way to bring two strangers together would be to have their brothers turn up missing rather than coming home.
Tamara Gifford gets herself invited to Oakley Hall for Christmas to rescue her brother from the reportedly depraved Lord Oakley. When she arrives she discovers that Ashford Steel is a former soldier trying to adjust to governing an estate. He is happy to have his mother and Tamara for company since his brother is supposed to be spending the holiday at Tamara’s house in London.
Though they are both angry at the deception of their brothers, they enjoy banding together to find them while Ashford tries to remember the tradition of what Lord Oakley is supposed to do on the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Tamara gives him sound advice about how to go forward with his life rather than looking back. In return he helps her to see that she must make a life for herself and let her brother go. After they locate the young men and rescue them, Tamara agrees to marry Ashford, but what her brother wants to do with the rest of his life could tear apart their hard won love.
Next on the schedule (October 17, 2013) is A Christmas Caroline by Cotillion newcomers Christa Paige & Vivien Jackson. Here’s a short teaser: Lady Caroline Selwyn doesn't usually observe Christmas traditions. But this year, with her father's health dire and her own situation precarious, she's desperate to celebrate Christmastide in every way she can think of, to make it the best ever. To that end, she enlists the aid of her father's physician, Samuel Avery, and his loopy family into the chaos. Charades, belowstairs games, bean cakes, mistletoe, and unexpected love affairs ensue.
Following along will be Snug in a Snowstorm by Cynthia Moore, which will release on November 7, 2013.
Lady Isabella Porter and Lord Gerard Malden have known each other since they were children. Isabella thinks of Gerard as someone who teased her unmercifully and made her feel inadequate as a young girl. This is a very unfortunate state of affairs for Gerard because he has loved Isabella for many years.
A sudden, fierce snowstorm and misplaced notes informing both of them of a change of plan mean Isabella and Gerard are forced to spend the Christmas holidays together in very unusual circumstances. Will Gerard be able to use the time he has been given with Isabella in a way that will change the opinions she formed as a girl so she may look upon him with favor and possibly lasting affection?
Isn’t this a nice cover? You’ll be able to identify each of these stories by the sprig of holly and red ribbon, plus of course, the overall title: Cotillion Christmas Traditions.
The last one for this column is Helena’s Christmas Beau by Aileen Fish, available on November 14.
Aileen says: The traditions I used all revolved around luck, from stir-up day to Boxing Day. Most of us have rituals we go through at the holidays without even realizing it, until we share the season with someone new.
Facing her second Christmas since the loss of her fiancé, Helena relies on her favorite traditions to bring back the joy of the season. From stir-up day to bringing in the greenery on Christmas Eve, the only flaw in her plan is her cousin’s brother-in-law, Duncan.
Duncan tries to play along with the outdated rites, hoping Helena will again be the cheerful girl he once knew. As he works toward making her happy, his attachment for her reawakens and blossoms. When he hears she plans to re-enter the Marriage Mart next spring, he is struck with jealousy. But is he falling in love, or simply under the spell of the holiday season?
Lots of exciting presents upcoming for fans of Regency Christmas stories! Happy reading to all!
Hetty St. James (firstname.lastname@example.org)