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At the Christmas Wedding Paperback – October 17, 2017
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About the Author
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother's insistence. She is now the bestselling and award winning author smart and sassy romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own. Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Visit her online at www.carolinelinden.com to sign up for her newsletter, or find her on Twitter (@Caro_Linden) and Facebook (AuthorCarolineLinden). Katharine Ashe is the award-winning author of historical romances that reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including How to Be a Proper Lady, an Amazon Editors’ Choice for the 10 Best Romances of the Year, and How to Marry a Highlander, 2014 finalist for the prestigious RITA® Award. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of history, she writes romance because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit www.KatharineAshe.com.
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All three of these included a sexual encounter, and some seemed tacked on to the story to fulfill a requirement. Apparently, those societal restrictions of the time that assumed a couple would indulge in sex if left alone for 10 minutes were not so ridiculous after all.
The Linden story, "Map of a Lady's Heart," was my favorite. The H and h were mature, if a bit hypocritical, and their story was the most believable.
The Rodale entry, "Hot Rogue on a Cold Night," was very predictable and consisted entirely of drawn out "he/she can't possibly love me--no, wait--maybe he/she does."
Ashe's story, "Snowy Night with a Duke," was the one I liked least. HR spies are not my favorites, but this one had so many improbabilities (the heroine is an angelic soul devoting years to caring for the poor while getting up early to run long distances) with more "he/she can't love me--no, wait--" plus major physical difficulties, nobility spying for the crown to stop a thief, etc., made it just about as silly as Lady Bridget's play back at the castle.
The play was one of the more interesting aspects of the book and I broke my long-standing rule of avoiding books with people pretending to be talking swans to read this book.
The first story, Map of a Lady's Heart, was slow to begin with two new main characters being introduced, with only marginal acknowledgement of the former leading characters (the Duke and Duchess), who left the house party within the first few pages. The duke then only appeared at the end of the far too brief ending to tell the hero to get off his property asap -- without allowing either the hero or the heroine -- his own family member to try to explain. Also, the story ended abruptly with the hero and heroine just deciding to get married. -- no idea if they snuck out with their tails between their legs or if they confronted the Duke of what. Also, there was never any other mention within the two other stories as to what happened.
Hot Rogue on a Cold Night -- Okay story, but found the supporting characters such as the great aunt and her youngest sister, and the strange play, far more interesting.
Snowy Night With a Duke -- Disappointed in this one as I had hoped to see a glimpse of Charlotte 's family, especially Trent and his time-travelling wife, as well as the younger brother, Henry. Charlotte was totally out of character here.
The Duke and Duchess of Wessex leave their holiday house party in the hands of their daughter Serena and Viola Cavendish, the duchess’s secretary. Serena and Viola must supervise the duke’s troublesome sister Bridget, keep an eye on the mischievous Lady Sophronia and Serena’s friends.
Each story contains enough character and plot cross over to make for an enjoyable, delightful read! I felt that I was reading a book, not three separate stories.
Bridget’s play was woven throughout each of the three novellas. Loved that each author understood the character and her desire to write the play. I enjoyed reading every paragraph devoted to Bridget and her zany play and the unscripted ending was perfect!!
Caroline Linden’s Map of a Lady’s Heart is my favorite story within the anthology. I thought that the all of the characters were relatable and appealing. Ms. Linden did a fabulous job setting the scene and introducing all of the castle’s guests to the reader. The scene where Wes asks Viola to go outside to view the stars at night was exquisitely written. Loved that Wes understood that his love for Viola was the treasure he'd spent a lifetime looking for.
Maya Rodale’s piece features Lady Serena, Lord Gosling, Greyson Jones and Bridget’s play. Grey has loved Serena for years. He did not pursue her because she was engaged to his best friend. Grey views the house party at his opportunity to see if he is really in love with Serena. Loved the hysterically funny scenes when Lady Bridget and her aunt cast Grey as Serena’s love interest in the play. The witty dialogue, laugh out loud scenes from the play and pacing in this novella are superb.
And Bridget’s play? Will the Lonely Spinster choose the Lord Captain Pirate or the Lovesick Swan?The conclusion to this story was very romantic and perfect for the happy couple and playwright!
Katharine Ashe’s descriptive voice and the back and forth banter between Charlotte and Frye make the third novella in the anthology a charming read. I could feel how cold it was outside, understand Charlotte’s feelings towards Frye and understand why Frye loved the feisty Charlotte beyond words. The romance between the couple was delicately paced as Charlotte truly believes that Frye has jilted her best friend. Loved the added touch of the couple celebrating Christmas Eve at the inn. My favorite scene occurred when Charlotte tells an unconscious Frye that he is “forbidden to die’. It’s touching, perfectly executed and yes….made me cry! Ms. Ashe treats us to several fun plot twists and turns before the couple arrives at Kingstag Castle.
I enjoyed this fabulous anthology. It’s filled with great characters, fun and games and so much romance!