Romance Upon a Midnight Clear (an anthology)
Publisher: Highland Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Historical
Length: Full -- Anthology
Heat Level: Sensual
Review by Camellia
Holidays bring magical memories and open the heart to all things bright and beautiful...especially romance. There's no season like it...no better time to find Love Under the Mistletoe. Deborah MacGillivray, Leanne Burroughs, Patty Howell, Rebecca Andrews, Isabel Mere, Amber Dawn Bell, Erin E.M. Hatton and Jill and Julia offer up eight tales of romance designed to please every taste.
ROMANCE UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, a Christmas treasure for one's library, is a treat to curl up with and escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This anthology has a diverse group of stories that touch a wealth of emotions.
"Johnny Fortune" by Leanne Burroughs
"Hey, doll, wanna dance?" sets a romance in motion that takes the reader into the customs and mores of 1968 in Milwaukee and America in general. The reader gets to see and feel the courtship of Johnny Fortunato, "the bad boy", who has grown into a man and Rosemary Traviata, "the good girl" who had been off limits in his school days. A precious love, that started way back in the fifth grade, begins to unfold with bumps along the way but finally blooms into a love to stand the test of time.
"The Way Home" by Rebecca Andrews
One foggy night with black ice on the highway, both Brady Justin and Abby Montgomery are each alone in their vehicles running to escape emotional pain that has taken away all normalcy of life and left only despair.
A wreck that leaves Abby with amnesia brings them together. In a cabin high in the mountains of northern New Mexico, Brady and Abby struggle to keep pain and anger from eating them alive. Nightmares bring the past to light helping them to reach out to each other.
From very different, heartbreaking experiences in the past, Abby and Brady save each other and find a happy-ever-after that leaves the reader sure that the spirit of Christmas is still alive and well.
"Heartfelt" by Patty Howell
"A little child shall lead them" works magic in this heartwarming story. Little Essie meets Cela Donovan in the library and says that they know each other. Cela, a psychologist, has all kinds of explanations about why Essie thinks this is true.
Cela's mother's wisdom and unshakable faith in God is a golden thread woven through this poignant story. They have seen Cela through years of sickness and a heart transplant and continue to support as Cela finds love with Essie's widowed father – a love that has some very special meanings.
"Window Wonderland" by Isabel Mere
This paranormal love story is enchanting. Ben Lightson, a park ranger in Coronado National Park USA, struggles to cope with his misery the first Christmas after his wife's death. As he looks at the Christmas cards his friends have sent, he sees an old English manor on the front of one. As he looks, a light begins to shine is a window of the manor and the light moves from window to window. He feels a tug!
Ben finds himself in Bremington Manor in Nasley England, on December 22, l644. Here he meets Lady Vania Dahl who is in hiding from King Charles and Prince Rupert. This is a section of the story to be savored and I wouldn't dream of ruining it by telling too much.
While Vania and her lady attendants make good their escape, Ben steps through the door to detain the soldiers seeking Lady Vania for the king.
He finds himself back in Coronado National Park giving a tour lecture for tourists. One of the tourist, Viviana Dahl, asks him a question about "sky islands". The question brings Ben a revealing flashback.
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" by Amber Dawn Bell
Ms. Bell mixes the supernatural and firm Faith in God together to create a story about Mitch Ferguson, a soldier in Iraq in the summer of 2005 and his fiancé Annie who lives in Round Rock, Texas. Mitch and Annie seem to have a perfect love with a bright future ahead until Mitch is wounded.
Wounded and bitter Mitch comes to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. His interaction with his family and with Annie makes the reader doubt that he will ever be able to truly "Be Home For Christmas". This story seems so real it makes the heart ache.
"Counterpoint" by Erin E. M. Hatton
Counterpoint, a method of combining melodies, seemed to be what Eve and Pete had done when they married twelve years ago. They had blended to make beautiful music. Now, Eve sits by Pete's bed at the hospital. He is unconscious from a car wreck that he had while with another woman.
Gabe, the man who introduces himself as the hospital chaplain, reaches out to Eve as she sorts through the past and wonders about what the future may hold. He listen and hugs her with compassion then tells her that Pete is at fault but it is up to her to decide what to do with it – does she let go of the pain and forgive or does she walk away. The choice is hers to make.
When Pete regains consciousness, can "counterpoint" return or has there been to much discord?
"Light of Hope" by Jill & Julia
In 1872, winter came early to Wyoming and Jacob Richards almost froze to death before he found the house of the Matthias where Hope and her son Caleb live with her in-laws.
Little Caleb, has lost his faith in Santa but his little elf friend Lola Lewinsky assures him that Santa is going to make his mother happy this year just like Caleb asked him. Caleb can't see how with "sir" and "ma'am" being so mean to his "ma". But, with the arrival of Jacob, things begin to change and Caleb begins to hope again.
"Light of Hope" is a delight even though it has some dark spots when Hope and Caleb are so poorly treated and all under false pretense. Gooding reading!
"Detour to Love" by Deborah MacGillivray
LASR Award Winner 2007 for Best Print Story; Cata-Network Favorite Novella 2007; The Readers Lounge - Best Novella 2007
Kaelyn Reynolds returns to the hills of Kentucky near Pandora's Landing. She had recently inherited the cabin from her aunt and uncle where she had spent many happy summers during her youth. She finds herself snowed in at Christmas time with lots of time to reflect on "back when" which gives the reader some poignant reading.
Morgan Galloway, the man she adored when she was a teenager, is also back in Pandora's Landing. He had been too old and too rich – out of her reach back then. When he and WT show up at her cabin as the "Welcome Wagon" the present becomes even more interesting than the past.
This is a "Second Chance" love story, a page-turner, with a couple of secondary characters that add a special touch of delight to the happenings -- Wiggie and WT or not to be missed.
This story makes a wonderful ending for this Christmas anthology that is a keeper –one to be enjoyed year after year.