ROMANCE

The Last Chance Christmas Ball

& others. Kensington. Oct. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781617739231. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781617739248. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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OrangeReviewStarThe Dowager Countess of Holbourne (aka Lady Holly) is happily planning the 50th anniversary of her annual Christmas Ball—a glittering event with a history of matchmaking magic that she hopes will rub off on a few special people who desperately need it. In the talented hands of the Word Wenches—best-selling authors Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, and Susan King—Holbourne Abbey springs from the pages in full holiday dress as eight couples find love at last. These short stories are as unique as the stylistically diverse authors who wrote them, yet are beautifully integrated.
VERDICT Lighthearted gaiety is gently tempered by misunderstandings and a few more serious issues as these cleverly linked romances unfurl into a unified whole that is poignant, funny, and complex; one of the most engaging anthologies of the season.

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