The Holly and the Ivy

Written by Anneka R. Walker Dana LeCheminant Esther Hatch Sarah M. Eden
Review by Ray Thompson

An anthology of four Christmas novellas, set in the Georgian and Regency eras. In “The Holly and the Ivy,” Eden explores, through the sympathetic eyes of his nursemaid, the pressures on an eight-year-old who inherits a dukedom. In “Hiding Christmas,” Hatch sends her protagonists on a long coach ride to England so they can celebrate a traditional Christmas away from persecution by the dour Scottish kirk. In LeCheminant’s “A Twist of Christmas,” two jaded aristocrats both switch places with ironic results (she with her companion, he with his younger brother) in an effort to avoid a match-making introduction. And in Walker’s “A Season to Love,” Alice’s anxious search for a husband turns up an unexpected prospect.

Although a romantic relationship does develop in Eden’s Georgian novella, it involves two members of the lower class and is subordinate to the focus on the young duke’s struggle to cope with a burden he is too young to shoulder. The three Regencies offer more familiar situations, and in each the opportunity for the protagonists to spend time together allows romance to bloom. Those looking for inspirational Christian romances, in which the virtues of patience, kindness, and understanding are amply rewarded, will be satisfied.