10 Year Anniverary & New Releases Winners: Carrie Fancett Pagels' Butterfly Cottage - Melanie B, Dogwood Plantation - Patty H R, Janet Grunst's winner is Connie S., Denise Weimer's Winner is Kay M., Naomi Musch's winner is Chappy Debbie, Angela Couch - Kathleen Maher, Pegg Thomas Beverly D. M. & Gracie Y., Christy Distler - Kailey B., Shannon McNear - Marilyn R.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Giveaway & Review - Victorian Christmas Brides Collection

The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Women Dream of Perfect Christmases during the Victorian Era

(Note: Three members of Colonial American Christian Writers contributed to this collection: Carrie Fancett Pagels, Rita Gerlach, and Gabrielle Meyer.)

Reviewed by Tina St. Clair Rice, CQ Reviewer

I love reading Christmas stories, especially those set in 1800’s Victorian era as this one is.  Written by 9 well-known gifted authors, giving the reader a variety of not only enjoyable stories but their own unique writing styles. Each story takes us on a journey through various locations in England, Canada and America. On our “travels” we see how each characters’ desire is to have the perfect Christmas despite the circumstances they find themselves in. They may face turmoils, love letters from the past that seems to be surrounded by mystery and surprising clues to follow, missing jewels, an unexpected pre-arranged marriage, second chances at love, water-cure for patients, faith and so much more. I so enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the countrysides, clothing, and customs of the era depicted in each story and the inspirational elements. I especially enjoy reading the author’s historical note at the end of her story. A delightful collection to read anytime of the year.

1. One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase
1855 Devonshire, England. Tristram Nowell and Marianna Granville must forgive past grievances if they are to move forward to at least a friendship. But will their new stations in life be an obstacle and prevent even that?  A cute, fun story.

2. Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze
1875 County Durham, England. Celeste Sidwell and Bennet Hett have plans to undo what their fathers have planned for them, however, things didn’t turn out as they had hoped. This novella has a lot of interesting and mysterious elements to it as well as a surprise or two, making it a fun story to read. 

3. The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach
1900 near Washington DC. I enjoyed reading Lily Morningstar and Andrew Stapleton’s story. It was fun watching as they tried to read between the lines of the love letters Lily discovered and ultimately discover who the mysterious writer is and to whom he is corresponding with. Will they learn who the letters are from or will it forever remain a mystery?  I still have, and cherish, the love letters my own husband wrote to me while he was serving in the Navy, which made this story even more interesting.

4. Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher
1857 Elmira, New York. SarahAnn Winnifred and Rufus Sedgwick are from different social classes, however, their hearts are drawn to each other.  Can this unlikely couple build something lasting together or will their differences put a wall between their hearts?  As a retired RN, I especially enjoyed reading about the medicinal water-cure of the time in this novella.

5. A Christmas Promise by Gabrielle Meyer
1899 Cambridgeshire, England.  Ashleigh Pendleton and Christopher Campbell are in shock once they learn of the long ago promise their own mothers, now deceased, planned for them. Can they somehow undo that promise or will they even want to after getting reacquainted?  I enjoyed this fun novella which had me chuckling at times.

6. The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan.  Eugenie Mott and Percy Gladstone unexpectedly meet and end up helping each other in ways neither had anticipated.  I love the way Eugenie is helping the war widows. . .Kathleen, Nancy, Anne, Melissa, Tina, Deborah and Lucy. . .to be functional in areas they had not been prior to her help.  The name she calls the ladies, The Sugarplum Ladies, fits perfectly. These ladies soon find themselves helping Percy in the midst of his staffing crisis. I especially enjoyed the historical notes at the end of the story.  A cute, fun and delightful story.

7. Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley
1837 Framlingham, England. Ophelia Hanover and Geoffrey Landson have a challenge before them when he comes to take guardianship of Ophelia’s young son. It’s Christmas!  Will he listen to reason or will the snow storm keep him snowbound for Christmas?  I enjoyed the backstory, which gives an added element to the story?

8. Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad
1880 Blackpool, England.  Beatrix Kent and Hugo Sherman are of different social classes and have suffered in their past.  Can love find a way to bring joy and music to these two at Christmas?  A cute, fun story.  

9. A Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch
1880 London, England. Melisande Verity and Gray Garamond may work in the same store but they are from different social classes and he’s her boss.  I found the window display and the outcome of the contest interesting.  Gray’s grandfather is one of my favorite characters. Gray could learn a lot from him in regards to the store and the true meaning of Christmas.  Will Gray open his heart or will he follow his own plans? A cute and fun story.


NOTE: Carrie Fancett Pagels will be signing books with fellow author C.J. Chase in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the College of William and Mary Barnes & Noble Bookstore on the Duke of Gloucester Street (near Colonial Williamsburg) on Sunday afternoon, November 18th, from 2-6 pm. If you're in the area, come on by! 

Giveaway: A copy of The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection. Leave a comment to enter. Extra points if you have added this book to Goodreads (put GR at the end of your comment.)


  1. Thanks for sharing about the stories! I love these collections and this one sounds lovely! GR

  2. Lovely review! All of these stories sound great!
    With the cooler temps and the holidays fast approaching I am ready for Christmas stories.GR moma3homeschool(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  3. Congratulations, ladies on what looks to be some fun stories.

  4. I'm quite intrigued by the brief synopses of the plots of these stories and would be very pleased to read and review them. My goodness! Christmas is just around the corner.

  5. I love history period stories and this one certainly looks like a great book.

  6. Nothing like a good collection! Thank you for the opportunity.

  7. I really like reading about the Victorian era and this sounds like a great holiday read. GR

  8. I would love to read this one. It is set during an amazing time. GR

  9. I so love these Barbour novella collections, especially when they feature such fabulous authors! GR

  10. Thank you so much for the awesome giveaway Gr on my list!

  11. I look forward to reading the stories. Have a blessed week. GR

  12. I'd love to come to Williamsburg for the book signing but it's a little far from Missouri! GR jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

  13. I enjoy reading Christmas novels year round, and this set sounds like a great read! Thanks for an opportunity to win!

  14. Great giveaway. I love period movies and stories.

  15. I am still having trouble commenting via Blogger and Google! Thanks for all the nice comments! Our winner is SARAH TAYLOR! Congrats! I sent you a FB message.

  16. Thank you so much Carrie Fancett Pagels so excited to have won!


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