Labels: Anthology, CDain, LCach, LKleypas, LSands
It has been a while since I read an Anthology that was really worth recommending, but this one is just that. The stories that comprise the Anthology really make this one worth the time. There were a couple of stories, like Dain's Union and Kleypas' I Will, that actually felt like full length novels, and I think that itself speaks highly of the stories.
Lisa Kleypas contributed the story I Will where Andrew, Lord Drake enlists the help of Miss Caroline Hargreaves to decieve his dying father into believing that he has mended his rotten ways. He has been cut out of his father's will and he already had half of his inheritance spent on gambling and frivolous diversions. He desperately needs the funds so he bribes Caro into assisting him by promising to stay away from her young brother Cade, who is following in Andrew's footsteps. Although we don't get to experience every nuance of the developing love affair, Kleypas gives us enough to root for the couple and be outraged for Caroline when a twist is thrown at the end of the story. Excellent tale! BTW: Andrew is the half brother of Logan Scott, which appeared in an earlier story of Kleypas. (B+)
Lisa Cach contributed Puddings, Pastries and Thou where we meet Vivian Ambrose, who is the poor relation that has been passed around from cousin to cousin for several years now. She arrives at her new "charitable" relations home the night before Xmas, and her cousin's daughter Penelope does not waste a minute to show Vivian her displeasure of having to share her gowns, let alone her first season with Vivian. Vivian, in turn, would like nothing more that to find herself a husband so she no longer will be a burden for her family, so Penelope, tries to put her in the path of Richard Brent. Richard Brent is looking for a wife that will accept him, faults and all. But, what are those faults? and why is it that he is considered less than marriageable material, even for a spinster like Vivian?
I really loved the way we discover Richard's secrets and Vivian's capacity to eat her way out of a difficult situations made this entry a light, pleasurable read. (B)
Claudia Dain gave us the novella Union and although it read like a full length novel, the characters where not as sympathetic as in the other stories in the book. Clarrisa Walingford is on the marriage mart but she is determined to go about her choices with care since she really doesn't marry an Englishman, regardless of the fact that she is English herself. Her goal is to marry a man that has lands in Ireland, her home. Beau Wakefield, Lord Montwyn, owner of a grand estate in Ireland is searching for a bride and believes Clarrisa just might fit the bill, especially after her meddling brothers indirectly challenged him to win her over.
Regardless of the characters or maybe, in spite of them, I found this one funny. Clarrisa and Beau were being easily manipulated by the hordes of brothers she has and it was just plain funny to see these two dance to the brother's tunes without realizing they were doing it. My disappointment in the story was because I really didn't get a feel for the spark between these two. they appear to be attracted to each other but they mostly wanted the union for other reasons. (B-)
Lynsay Sands gives us the last tale in this book, All I Want, which is another funny tale. Prudence Prescott is determined to grant her mother's Christmas wish of having her father stop his gambling and come home. They are on the way to debtor's prison at the rate they are going and Pru is determine to stop the downward spiral, if she could only speak to her father. Stephen Ballard, Lord Stockton, owns the gambling establishment that is frequented by Lord Prescott. He lives on the fringe of society and is dissatisfied with his life, until Pru steps in and turns it all around. I found this one the funniest of all since poor Pru just cannot get anything right and continuously finds herself in Stephen's way, ruining his business and just making a pie of herself. (B)