Friday, October 26, 2012

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection 2012

So the instant I saw the beautiful cover of this book and the list of authors participating I knew I want to read this book. I was even more thrilled when I got the chance to get a review copy. This book is full of a series of novellas by some of the best authors in the market today. I saw the names Sarah M. Eden, Heather Moore, Annette Lyon and I was super excited. It also gave me a chance to sample the work of some author’s whose names I recognized byut hadn’t read anything from before.
There is such a wide array of love stories here, they take place in different times and places, but they are all historical romances. I think I enjoyed something about every single story. There wasn’t one that I absolutely hated or disliked. I did feel that some were more polished than others, however. Some of the stories felt a bit forced or disjointed on account of the novella format. Still each one reads as a complete and satisfying story, and it was fun to read from so many time periods and genres.  Oh, and the cover says they are short stories, but they are long short stories. Most of the stories have more than one chapter. They are more short novels than short stories in my opinion.

Sarah M. Eden writes a Victorian era Irish tale about Alice Wheatley a working class girl who has formed a strong friendship with an Isaac Dancy as they walk to and from town each weekend. Alice goes to visit her grandparents and Isaac goes to court the belle of the town. Alice realizes that she is in love with him and can no longer support his foolish perusal of a woman who is obviously stringing him along. When Alice begins to avoid him Isaac takes a second look at what he really wants in a partner.

I really loved this one. The characters were well drawn and motivated. I like how the author took her time showing Isaac coming around to the realization that he liked Alice. Also, I liked the fact that this story had a lot of interesting side characters. Well told.  

It Happened Twelfth night by Heidi Ashworth

Tells the story of Luisa, the daughter of the gatekeeper who is invited to the welcoming home party for her childhood sweetheart. Percy is the son of Sir Walter Brooksby and while they are from different classes she is sure their love will work out somehow. That is until she finds him wooing another woman at the party, an engaged one no less. Luckily for her she meets Mr. Flynn before the party turns into an entire disaster. He makes her horrible party experience into a bearable one, and when they are snowed in for the night. Luisa gets that chance to learn more about the Mysterious Mr. Flynn.

This seemed like the shortest read to me, and while I enjoyed the story I had a hard time believing the love interest Mr. Flynn would propose after only knowing Luisa one night. Still, I did like his character, big and kind hearted.  

A Winter’s Night by Donna Hatch

A novel that follows in the footsteps of romantic gothic novels Clarissa Fairchild  and her aunt are on the way home from shopping when their carriage must pull off at Wyckburg castle on account of bad weather. For generations the Lords of the Castle were rumored to have killed off their wives. Clarissa had imagined what sort of man must rule the Castle, but had never expected to find out. However, the Earl of Wyckburg welcomes them into his home, distressed to learn that a Fairchild girl is on his property, because according him the truth behind the deaths of Wyckburg castle is that one of Clarissa’s relatives cast a curse. Each Lady of Wyckburg dies after giving birth to their first born son.  Clarissa and Lord Wyckburg must break the curse if they want to act on the feelings they begin to have for one another.

I loved this one. It was spooky, which made it a perfect Halloween read, but it ultimately it is a Christmas story.  The eerie atmosphere of a cursed castle gave this one a fun and unique ambiance.  

An Unexpected Proposal by Annette Lyon

Caroline finds work in a wood camp up Logan Canyon to help pay the bills that help care for her sick sister Bertha.  Most of the time the camp is a safe place to work until one of the workmen gets fresh with her. Quickly punished, the man gets thrown out of camp and afterward Caroline finds comfort with her friend James. Only his attentions lead him to propose to her. Caroline hates to hurt him, but has to say no because she hadn’t done half of the things she has wanted to accomplish before she get married. Then an avalanche imperils men in the canyon. James volunteers to risk his life to join with the rescue party. The long night that he is gone Caroline finds the perspective she needs to admit that she really does love James.

I loved that is one is set out west and that makes it unique in the collection. It reminded me of home since I grew up in Utah and am familiar with the history of it. I love the scene at the end where Caroline comes and talks to James after he returns from the rescue. Can’t give much details to spare giving the ending away, but it is romantic and hilarious and sweet. This one had more typos than the others which I found odd since Lynnette is really strict about that sort of thing. Some mix up must have happened.  I also felt like the beginning of this story doesn’t really fit with the rest of the story.  

Caroles on the Green by Joyce Dipastena

Set in medieval England Isabel is a strong-willed woman, who rules much of her father’s affairs.  Then her father decides that it is time for her to be married and throws an extravagant party to move things along in that direction. Isabel tries to pretend that she is unruffled by Sir Lucian’s presence, though he is stubborn and handsome as ever. Impulsively, when Isabel finds a ring in her pudding, she puts in on not knowing who the giver is, effectively accepting the unknown giver as her betrothed. Only as the night wears on and the dancing begins, Isabel remembers just how much she loves Sir Lucian. But another knight claims that he gave her the ring, and desires to take her hand.

I love Isabel and her strong will! I also loved how the author explored the characters more in this story. I liked how the motivations behind Isabel’s angry and rebellious actions were shown so that Lucian could understand her better.

A Fortunate Exile by Heather B. Moore

In turn of the century New York Lila was discovered with playboy Roland Graves, and although she was not ruined the rumors proclaim her as good as. In order to preserve her reputation her Father is sending her away to her aunt’s house in the country. Lila hopes to escape this fate with a marriage proposal from Roland but he has and never had any intention of marrying her. Hurt and betrayed she accepts her exile to her aunt’s home and is determined to obey her. Though she already has a house guest named Peter, a handsome young man attending a nearby university. Peter understands how Lila feels about Roland, having been cast off in a similar manner by a society lady. They quickly form a sincere friendship that turns into something sweeter.

This one is also unique in that it is set in 1919, New York City. I like the big city, high society feel at the beginning of the story with the illusionary romance set against the rural, down to earth, honest romance at the end of the story. Such a beautiful contrast, and I loved how the author showed such a genuine connection between the main characters of the story. This one was one of my favorites.

Find out more about the anthology at its offical site includes sample chapters and summaries.

If you are interested in novella collections Kaylee Baldwind, Jolene Perry, and Rachel Anderson just released All I Want (Three Holiday Romances), a romantic Chirstmas collection with three novellas.


Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks so much for this review!

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks so much for this review! And glad you enjoyed it! We've corrected the typos since the review copy :-)