From Publishers Weekly
An addition to the "Once Upon..." series (Once Upon a Dream, etc.), this anthology of magical stories is anchored once again by the prolific Roberts. All four entries have the vaguely mystical feel of the fairy tale and the connecting conceit of the rose. The best of the lot is Willman's "The Fairest Rose," a quest narrative with a winning heroine who displays a strength of will that surprises even herself. The weak link is "The Roses of Glenross," by Langan. Featuring a pair of battle-scarred lovers recuperating in a haunted Scottish abbey, the story is tainted by inconsistent characterizations and a contrived rose motif. Roberts deftly conjures a fantasy world of ice and snow in "Winter Rose," but her chilly tale lacks the fiery romantic tension typical of her writing. Finally, Jill Gregory's "The Rose and the Sword" is an engaging but slight quest narrative; the hero and heroine achieve their ends too hastily and learn very little from their journey. The rose motif ties this anthology together better than many similar projects, but none of the selections are outstanding. Although each of the contributing authors has a loyal fan base who will be pleased by this book, this isn't a worthy introduction to their work. (Oct. 2)Forecast: With Roberts's name emblazoned on the cover in large print, this mystical anthology will sell, especially among avid readers of historical romance and fans of fantasy.
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Roses link four novellas by four romance writers. The best is Roberts' powerful fairy tale of a kingdom imprisoned in ice and snow that features a wounded hero from another land who appreciates all that the young hardworking queen does for her people, even risking her own life to magically heal those who need it. Marianne Willman's story is about the daughter of a king hidden from the evil sorceress queen by means of an amulet forged with rose petals. Jill Gregory's tale is of a princess who, upon her twentieth birthday, will lose the protection that has kept her hidden from the evil sorcerer who had slain her family. Her only hope of surviving is to marry a man with a magical sword. Ruth Ryan Langan tells of a mute girl in war-torn Scotland and a wounded warrior. As with all collections, some stories will appeal more to some readers than to others. Diana Tixier HeraldCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved