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Friday, March 14, 2008

Review: Dream By The Fire: Winter Magic

Dream By the Fire: Winter Magic

An anthology of winter shorts ranging from sweet to tangy.

DREAM BY THE FIRE: WINTER MAGIC snuggles in close and takes the reader to Ireland, to Germany, to England, to Colorado, to an enchanted forest, to a castle back in time, and many other places. In all these places, whether a cold cellar or a glitzy resort, the reader meets characters who have the never-ending need for love.

Steeped in romance with intrigue, danger, mystery, grief, humor, fear, predestination, and déjà vu woven into fabric of these tales, they work their magic. The reader can almost hear the howl of the wolves, feel the softness of the bed made of furs, and see the decorated tree in the forest glade.

“A Love Rewritten” by Esmerelda Bishop

Gabrielle Stone transcends time, albeit unintentionally. She finds herself with Devlin McCalister, the hero of her favorite romance novel. Can their love and unswerving devotion to each other change an already written story? Sensual love plus being transported to another time--what else could a romance reader want for a respite from the demands of real life!

“Mistletoe Magic” by Lanie Fuller

Mistletoe, the granter of Christmas wishes, must be give to someone else when the wish comes true. Happily married Hanna and Jacob, young and so in love, tease about the mistletoe. Will it be able to change the terrifying events Hannah saw in her dream?

“High Maintenance” by Jamie Hill

Deidre North, sidelined by a ski accident, finds herself alone while her family is skiing and having fun. She is pampered by the staff at the upscale lodge, but still feels blue about once more spending New Year’s Eve alone. When the maintenance man, Rick Beaufort, offers his help, Deidre is captivated with his charm but wonders about his motives. What will happen when the real world intrudes on a winter holiday romance?

“Letting Go” by Ava Rose Johnson

Is it time for John and Grace to ‘let go’ their marriage and get a divorce? The love that burned so brightly for five years seems to have been snuffed to a struggling flicker of flame, doused by a heartbreaking tragedy. On a stormy night, when the blackout engulfs the city, they come face to face with the truth of the tragedy and know it is time to make a decision about their marriage.

“Upon A midnight Clear” by Kelly Madden

This is a magical Christmas story of love with fairies, mistletoe, and Yule trees. Soonsee, quite unaware, sets in motion a chain of events that leads to a multiple showing of unselfish love. With her release from a bond imposed at her birth, she is free to choose the direction for her life. Will she return to the forest that she feels ‘at one’ with or will she stay with the people who have nurtured her since she was a baby?

“Solstice Night” Lyra Marlowe

The cold and cruelty that shrouds this story brings a shudder. Leisel, a young healer, runs to escape the cruelty of a master who seeks to use her powers for evil. She struggles against the life-threatening winter cold as she makes her way to the tumbled-down ruins of a home she remembers.

Eric, a horribly scarred and bitter hunter-for-hire, pursues Leisel but encounters the wolves that Leisel’s mother had summoned for protection.

This story transports the reader to a time long ago where the supernatural seems natural and where love is an awesome treasure.

“A Winter’s Gift” by Kim Rees

Siobhan, who looks for love in all the wrong places, had been dumped again. She goes home to lick her wounds. There, Ethan Jacoby, her longtime friend once again helps her get past another failed relationship. But this time he has his own plan. He sets out to show her the right place to look for love.

“Einmal nach a Modresnach” by Emily Ryan-Davis

Sophie Anderson, pregnant and single, basks in the love of four generations of Anderson women when they visit her great-grandmother in Germany. Her great-grandmother’s handsome male nurse creates a hormonal stir in the visitors, but he handles the situation with finesse and good humor.

The night he and Sophie find themselves alone in the house while the others are out celebrating the Christmas season, he tells her about the holiday he celebrates instead of Christmas—Modrenach, the night of mothers. He tells her that on this night, the dreams one dreams are supposed to come true. Ah! What a dream Sophie has as she sleeps by the cozy fire. Will it come true?

“Sugar Baby” by Fiona Shinn

Julia Alston, sweet as the confections she makes, feels her chances for finding true love are of miniscule proportions after an ego-crushing breakup with Nathan. However, when the newcomer Dominic Marlow appears in her shop, joy and a cautious hope creep in. Ms. Shinn tells a heartwarming story with a lively humor while revealing the insecurities ‘older’ singles have as they search for love. A joy to read!

DREAM BY THE FIRE: WINTER MAGIC gives the reader a rich diversity of stories—stories that reaffirm the magic of love.

Reviewed by: Camellia