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Publisher: Avon / Harpercollins
Release Date: December 2003
ISBN: 0060542845 - Reprint
Format Reviewed: Paperback
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Genre:   Romance / Historical [England 1825]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Lynda E. Lukow
Reviewer Notes:  Explicit sex – a Christmas title

The Holiday Present
By Johanna Lindsey

     In the first of two Christmas stories, a mysterious gift appears in the Malory ancestral estate. Everyone wonders if it will clear up the rumors surrounding matriarch Anna Malory's heritage, but the gift's content is much more: a testament that true love conquers all.

      The Present is both humorous and enchanting. The Malory clan offers a large cast; thankfully, Ms. Lindsey provides a family tree to help readers keep the familial ties straight. Jason is the perfect "patriarch", stoic outside, passionate within. His love, Molly, takes a bit too much time to get her priorities straight, but there wouldn't be a present day love story without her waffling. The book's most enjoyable aspect? The relationship between brothers James and Anthony is sibling rivalry at its laugh-out-loud best.

     In the second tale, Home for the Holidays, Vincent Everett holds the Ascot family responsible for his brother's downfall. He doesn't settle for just orchestrating the family's financial decline; he plans to ruin Larissa Ascot, too. His world turns inside out when the lovely Larissa helps him find the truth-and his heart, but does the revelation come too late?

     Home for the Holidays is a beautiful tale of Christmas magic that illustrates the mayhem caused by misguided beliefs. Ms. Lindsey's hero is manipulative, but so charming one can't help loving him. Her heroine is strong and compassionate, a testament to women's fortitude. A strong plot makes this short story an enjoyable read. Scrooge had better watch out; Vincent Everett is almost as mean-but a lot hotter.