How the Dukes Stole Christmas is a CHRISTMAS romance anthology by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan and Joanna Shupe. Full confession, Christmas romances are MY FAVOURITE!!! So I was beyond thrilled when this book came out. Each author provides a short story set during the Christmas season, with Dukes and magic shortbread!
This is the twelfth book in the Summer of Sarah MacLean event. Just three left after this one, if anyone is counting. The event hosts are Kelly Gallucci (bookish.kelly, on Instagram) and Dana Cuadrado (To All the Nerdy Girls, on Instagram).
I’ll give a brief overview of each of the short stories in the order they appear. To be honest, I thought the book would be a continuous story. Instead, they are stand-alone stories. But each story brings some holiday joy!
Meet Me in Mayfair by Tessa Dare
The first short story is about Louisa Ward, who is off to a ball to hopefully capture a rich husband. Louisa must marry for money to avoid her family losing their Mayfair home at New Year’s. There is a new Duke of Thorndale and he is calling in the debts owed. Including those belonging to Lousia’s father. It is a tall task and becomes taller when upon arriving at the ball Louisa discovers she must take her best friends dances – including one with the new Duke of Thorndale.
I enjoyed this story for the banter between Louisa and James, the Duke of Thorndale. It was interesting for them both to find out the truth. Louisa’s sisters only added to the fun of the story.
The Duke of Christmas Present by Sarah MacLean
This was a second chance romance with the Eben, the Duke of Allryd and Lady Jacqueline Mosby! Squee!!! Sarah MacLean wrote a heroine with MY NAME. Sorry, I’m just tickled pink about it. Eben discovers Lady Jacqueline, whom he calls Jack, in his kitchens on Christmas night looking for chocolate. A girl after my own heart!
Jacqueline had left Eben years before, but their love continues. With flashbacks, you learn their back story and yet again shortbread plays a role in the happily ever after. Eben remembering things Jacqueline loves really does warm the heart.
Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan
This is my favourite story in the book – it’s set in Scotland 🙂 Jordan tells the story of Annis Bannister and the Duke of Sinclair. Annis’ reason for not being interested in the Duke goes down as one of the best excuses EVER given. I actually gasped! As did the hero! Speaking of the hero of our story, he is a lovely broody Scot.
Annis was forgotten by her family in the Scottish Highlands – the nerve! But honestly, she sounds better off without them. The Duke literally comes as a hero to save Annis and takes her home to ensure her safety – swoon. As you can tell, I rather enjoyed this story. Particularly, how Jordan included the shortbread as almost a threat to the couple!
Christmas in Central Park by Joanna Shupe
The last story in the anthology was Christmas in Central Park. I must admit I quite adored the premise of this story. The heroine, Rose writes an advice column for a newspaper under the synonym Mrs. Walker – as of course, people are more likely to take advice about anything from a married lady. She meets the dashing paper owner Duke Havemeyer and he asks that she host a dinner party for the board. There in the fun ensues – as Havemeyer doesn’t know that she’s not everything the column says. Rose manages to host a dinner party and of course, it includes the shortbread!
It was really nice to have this little Christmas break in the middle of summer and for those looking to get away from all the awful in the world, this is a true escape. So nice to get lost in the Christmas season right now. I look forward to reading more of all of these authors in the future.