Review: A Christmas Gathering: A Novel (Christmas Stories #17) by Anne Perry

Can you guys believe this is my first ever Anne Perry novel? I am shocked that I haven’t read this author before! She has written a ton of mysteries and they all seemed like they would be right up my alley.

But sometimes with well established series, it can be intimidating to just jump in on say book 10 and with Perry’s mystery series, they are all well established and long running.

When this one arrived on my desk for review, I had to do a little research first. Number one, I wanted to read this book because I love the cover and it was more novella length, but I needed to see where it landed in the larger series. It was number 17! I almost passed until I saw that this particular series (the Christmas Stories series) didn’t feature specific reoccurring characters but rather characters from within other series.


A cold case adds an extra chill to the holiday season as bestselling author Anne Perry whisks readers to an English country house for a Christmas of secrets, soul-searching, and forgiveness.

As beautiful as it may be, their friends’ country home is not where Lady Vespasia wishes to spend Christmas with her new husband, Victor Narraway. She’d rather pass a relaxing holiday at home with him–especially because Victor, former head of the London Special Branch, seems to be hiding some undercover dealings with the other guests who have gathered in the spacious home.

As tensions grow among the couples, the young and beautiful Iris Watson-Watt becomes the center of several men’s focus. Unbeknownst to Vespasia, Iris carries a message for Victor that may help unmask a British traitor. As Victor plots his moves, he is reminded of a similar case from twenty years before, when a young Frenchwoman also carried a clandestine message–one that resulted in her murder, still unsolved to this day. Victor has always been tormented by his failure to protect her–and now, with all eyes on Iris, Victor must act fast before history repeats itself.

With the joy of Christmas at risk of being forgotten and Vespasia feeling alone on this holiday meant to be shared with loved ones, Victor must ultimately learn to forgive himself. (summary from Goodreads)


So first of all, I just need to say that Perry is an excellent writer! I can see why so many people love her books and why she has had such longstanding series! I didn’t have to read any of the other books to feel comfortable in the story, I mean obviously there were other characters and a backstory but as with a holiday novella, the focus on primarily on the immediate story. I enjoyed solving the mystery right along with the characters and the extra little dose of holiday cheer was refreshing and totally got me in the mood for the holiday season.

I thought it was fun that the couple was an older married couple. So many historical mysteries center around young new couples in their 20s or 30s but I love the angle that Perry took here with a newly married older couple. I loved getting to know this couple even if it was only for a brief novella, they were well drawn and fully developed even for a shorter length novel.

If you love holidays and solving historical mysteries then you should be picking up this book. I’m a completely new reader of Perry and found I was drawn in and delighted in her storytelling abilities. I can’t wait to check out more books by her in the future! Fans of her books, where should I start?

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Ballantine Books
Free review copy provided by publisher, Ballantine Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: holiday mystery, mystery, cozy mystery, historical mystery


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