Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: 2/9/19
Number of Pages: 485
These novellas all center around Valentines Day in Bath. I’m not normally a fan of Anthologies, but I thought this would give me a chance to try some new authors plus read something by an author that I love.
Beauty and the Bounder by Jessica Cale: 2.5 Stars
This was a nice, well-written story, but it holds no resemblance to life in Regency times. So, if you aren’t into period accuracy, then you would like this story.
The Earl Takes A Wife by Sherry Ewing: 3 Stars
Lady Celia Lacey – age 17 – meets Adrian de Courtenay at a house party and she’s completely smitten. When she softly asks him to ‘wait for her’, he is intrigued by the young lady who he considers too young for himself. Over the course of the next couple of years, she remains smitten and he is more and more intrigued. When he begins to understand that he wants to marry her – they are caught in a compromising position. He believes she engineered it and is very, very bitter and unforgiving.
I understand his anger – except – he knows how manipulative and deceitful Miranda (his sister) is, so why would he automatically believe her rather than the woman he loves? She tries to explain, but he won’t listen. Also – the ‘magical’ reappearance of the mistress at the end gave me a ‘say what’ moment. She couldn’t have known where Celia was going to be, nor would she have had the time to arrive there – especially with so much money. Just struck me as very unnecessary and contrived drama.
The Beast Next Door by Jude Knight: 5 Stars
It is a sure sign of a well-told tale when you read a novella and feel you have the complete story. The characters are fully developed, likable and relatable. The story is fast-paced, well written and well plotted.
Childhood friends Charis and Eric were torn apart when Eric’s mother tore from the only home he’d ever known and sent him to Italy for some horrible surgery on a disfiguring birthmark on his face. Eric had been locked away at a country estate near Bath all of his life. He was called Beast, Wreck and many worse things. It is ten years later and Eric has returned to England with every intention of reconnecting with Charis.
Eric’s mother is a real low life and she intends for Eric to marry the woman of her choice. A woman that she can control and Eric will just have to learn to live with it. Eric plans to fully thwart his mother, reconnect with Charis – and marry her.
It is a lovely read!
The Umbrella Chronicles by Amy Quinton: 4 Stars
I loved this very amusing tale of romance. Take a staid, uptight, OCD mathematician named Dr. John Edward Hartwell, and pair him with a zany heroine, Miss Emma Merryweather, who believes in all of the ‘signs’ fate sends her and you have a delightful tale. I loved both of the characters and the author did an excellent job or conveying the quirky personalities of each
Candles In The Dark by Caroline Warfield: 5 Stars
My favorite of all – well maybe tied with The Beast Next Door.
Sergeant Douglas Marsh was wounded in the fight with Napoleon and had to leave his career in the military and at about the same time, his uncle passed away and Douglas inherited the Marsh Candle Works. Luckily his aunt had worked alongside his uncle in running the candle works, so she could help him in the transition. Marsh does his best to rescue as many of the returned wounded as he can – hiring them even though he doesn’t need them at the factory and can’t really afford the wages.
Esther Hopkins made a mistake and has paid dearly for it. She’s been cast out by her family and has been existing as best she can in Bath. She’s starving and her baby is almost due. As she loses consciousness in front of a bakery while waiting for the bread the baker would normally throw away, she’s rescued by the kindest man.
The romance Esther and Doug is so very sweet. You will quickly come to love – but more – respect both of these characters for the strong people they are. BTW – I loved how they dealt with the villain who arched across several of the books.
Definitely a good read!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.