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The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection: 7 Historical Romances Are a Beacon of Hope to Weary Hearts Kindle Edition
Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.
Anna’s Tower by Pegg Thomas
1883—Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse
Anna Wilson's plan to be the next lighthouse keeper is endangered when Maksim Ivanov is shipwrecked on Thunder Bay Island. Handsome and capable, he could steal her dream. Or provide a new one.
Beneath a Michigan Moon by Candice Sue Patterson
1885—New Presque Isle Lighthouse
Ava Ryan’s father has passed, leaving her alone, and ill, to tend the light with nowhere else to go. Logging foreman Benjamin Colfax needs the height of the lighthouse to determine the best cutting route, but he senses something amiss in Ava and her determination to remain reclusive. Can he get her to open up, or will she keep herself locked away?
Safe Haven by Rebecca Jepson
1892—Old Mission Point Lighthouse
Rose Miller was found on the lighthouse doorstep as an infant, and now she must hide her quest to find the child who left her there from Captain Nathan Perry, the man she loves to hate.
Love’s Beacon by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1898—Round Island Lighthouse
Valerie Fillman's best hope for a future lies on the tiny island that holds her worst memories. Can Paul Sholtus, the new lightkeeper, and his daughter help bring healing? And love?
The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser
1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.
The Disappearing Ship by Lena Nelson Dooley
1902—Whitefish Point Lighthouse
Romance and mystery collide at Whitefish Point Lighthouse when unemployed doctor Norma Kimbell and Drake Logan, owner of a steamship line, search for evidence of a supposed shipwreck.
The Wrong Survivor by Marilyn Turk
1911—Au Sable Lighthouse
Lydia Palmer's dream for happiness as a lighthouse keeper's wife shatters when her fiancé Nathan Drake drowned in a shipwreck, but his brother Jesse survived.
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides CollectionBy Lenz Nelson Dooley, Rebecca Jepson, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Candice Sue Patterson, Kathleen Rouser, Pegg Thomas, Marilyn Turk
Barbour Publishing, IncCopyright © 2018 Pegg Thomas
All rights reserved.
Beneath a Michigan Moon,
The Last Memory,
The Disappearing Ship,
The Wrong Survivor,
Thunder Bay Island, Lake Huron October 4, 1883
The wail of a ship's whistle jerked Anna Wilson from sleep despite the cotton wadding she'd shoved in her ears before bed. Another blast sounded, and then a third, while she untangled her nightgown and legs from the quilt. Heart pounding, she pushed Barnacle out of her way and ignored the sleepy meow of protest.
The whistle was too loud and too close to the island. Thunder Bay Island's fog signal moaned its response as she pulled the cotton from her ears. The ship's whistle blasted three more times while Anna charged down the stairs, her bare feet smacking the wooden steps.
Auntie Laurie poked her head from the downstairs bedroom. Gray hair fanned in all directions around her nightcap. "What's going on, child?"
"It's a distress signal."
"Of course it is. I'll awaken Gretchen." The old lady shut the door.
Anna raced through the arched brick passageway to the foot of the metal circular stairs leading up to the lighthouse tower. She stopped on the bottom step, cold metal against her feet, her hand clenching the handrail.
The stairs vibrated as Uncle Jim descended. Anna let go of the rail and stepped back.
"What could you see?" she called.
"Not a thing. Fog's too thick." He stopped at the bottom, wrinkles deep around his eyes beneath the rolled hat brim. "Doug's gone to the mainland. I can't leave the tower, not on a night like this."
She straightened her shoulders and smoothed her hair away from her face. "Tell me what to do." After all, this was what she'd come for.
Uncle Jim stroked his beard. "Could be a bad one. That whistle's close."
"Aye. She's likely on the rocks." He clamped his hand on her shoulder and squeezed. "Go to the lifesaving station. Remember the way?"
Could she find it in the dark through the fog? What choice did she have? She nodded.
"Run and change." He sighed. "Suppose the aunties will go with you, even if you try to stop them."
"I imagine they will."
"Go. I'll join you at daybreak if you've not returned by then."
Anna ran back to her bedroom, faster with each wail of the ship's whistle. Garbed in her work dress with woolen stockings and a heavy shawl, she hurried to the back door for her boots.
Auntie Laurie, hair neatly tucked under a wool scarf, stomped into her boots while Auntie Gretchen, looking for all the world like a scrawny bear rousted from hibernation, grabbed quart jars of canned chicken from the pantry. She shoved a basket of potatoes into Anna's arms then thrust a sack of onions at Auntie Laurie.
"What are these for?" Anna clutched the basket to her middle.
"Soup." Auntie Gretchen wrapped her shawl around her shoulders. "If they fish any live ones out of the water, they'll need warming up from the inside out."
The word hung like a specter in the room.
"Now sister," Auntie Laurie said. "Of course some are alive. Someone is sounding the distress whistle, after all." She settled her shawl, tucked two jars of chicken under her arm, picked up the onions, and stepped outside, holding the door. "Let's not delay when men need rescuing."
Auntie Gretchen mumbled under her breath as she grabbed the remaining jars and the lantern.
Anna followed the two old women into the damp darkness, thankful that they'd taken the lead. This was her first time to respond to an emergency at the lifesaving station. There'd been a few minor accidents with fishing boats this summer, but those had happened in the daylight, and Uncle Jim had been there, leaving Anna back at the lighthouse with the aunties, shielded from everything.
Tonight she'd be in the thick of things, but what if someone died?
She swallowed even though her throat had gone dry. When she'd cajoled Uncle Jim into letting her come to the island after Father's death this past spring, she'd overlooked this aspect of what it meant to live in a lighthouse. It wasn't all keeping the lamp burning to guide sailors on their journey. She made a fist of her hand that had grasped the handrail to the tower steps. That wasn't the only thing she'd overlooked. But she could do it. She had to do it. Anything was better than being the dependent little sister living with one of her overbearing brothers. She hoped.
"Hold the light higher. I stumbled on something." Auntie Laurie limped in front of Anna.
Auntie Gretchen lifted the lantern higher. "My arm isn't a ship's mast, you know."
Anna hustled up beside the old women. "Here. Let me." She reached for the lantern and held it aloft. "Can you see better?"
"Thank you, my dear," Auntie Laurie said. "So thoughtful."
The ten-minute walk took almost twice that long through the darkness and fog. Droplets clung to Anna, weighing down her shawl and making it sparkle in the torches outside the lifesaving station.
Auntie Gretchen opened the door and they filed in. Finding the main hall empty, they headed for the kitchen in the back, the source of warmth and the aroma of strong coffee.
Mrs. Persons stood near the huge black stove. Her air of quiet authority settled the nervous tumult brewing in Anna's middle. Only Captain Persons inspired more confidence to those on Thunder Bay Island than Celia Persons.
"Got a sinker out in the bay, eh?" Auntie Gretchen's voice dominated the room. It was said that if the fog signals ever failed, they could use her vocal cords for a replacement.
Auntie Laurie shrugged out of her shawl and hung it next to the stove, wisps of steam rising from the damp wool. "How can we help?"
"Let's assume the best and plan for the worst," Mrs. Persons said. "You brought the makings for soup. Good. You start that while Anna and I light a fire in the hall stove and then roll out the cots and blankets. God willing, we'll only have a bunch of cold men to feed."
"Amen," the aunties murmured in unison.
"Oh child." Auntie Laurie came forward and cupped Anna's cheek. "This is your first shipwreck, isn't it?"
"We've had a long run of good luck. It was bound to give out sooner or later." Auntie Gretchen hung her shawl next to her sister's. "I hope they fish a few out alive, at least."
"Now sister." Auntie Laurie's hands settled on her hips. "Let's do like Celia said and hope for the best."
Auntie Gretchen snorted and thumped her quart jars on the table. "All right, but you know as well as I that the lake wreaks havoc on a night like this." She rolled her r's, a reminder of her Russian heritage that grew more pronounced when she was agitated.
"Don't mind her, child," Auntie Laurie said. "She'll soon have soup made fit to snatch a man back from death's door. Oh." She pressed her hand to her chin. "Not that we'll need to, of course."
"Hurry. They'll be back within the hour," Mrs. Persons said over her shoulder.
Anna swallowed against the dryness again before scurrying after her.
* * *
An eerie flash from the lighthouse broke the gloom surrounding the dock as Maksim Ivanov stepped from the rescue boat. The fog swallowed the beam before it could reach the dangerous waters beyond. If only the captain of the SS James Davidson had seen that beacon in time.
The men around him spoke too fast, and he didn't understand much past the words ship, rocks, and fog. Pavel Orlov had been herded onto the other rescue boat, leaving Maksim with three sailors from the Davidson along with the burly rescue crew speaking their hurried English.
He followed the men along a pebbled path until a building formed out of the fog, torches lit on each side of its door. The scent of something savory mingled with the cold mist. His stomach growled. One of the nearby rescue workers laughed and smacked a meaty hand against Maksim's shoulder. Maksim managed to grin while keeping on his feet. The man spewed a tangle of English words that meant nothing, but Maksim nodded and followed him into the building.
Warmth radiated from a flat-topped stove in the center of the room. Maksim, along with the sailors, pulled off his gloves and stretched his fingers toward the heat. How much worse it would have been had they been thrown from the ship when it ran aground on the reef. The fog had dampened everything, but at least they weren't drenched.
A diminutive woman clapped her hands and commanded their attention. She made an announcement. He understood coffee and soup and smiled along with the rest of the men, two of whom broke from the group and returned from the back room with a steaming kettle and the largest coffeepot Maksim had ever seen. Behind them came a young woman with hair some shade between red and brown. She carried bowls and smiled as the men lined up to receive a helping of the fragrant concoction.
Maksim got in line. He nodded his thanks when the tiny woman — who appeared to be in charge — handed him a cup of dark coffee. He stepped closer to the younger woman ladling the soup. A smattering of pale freckles splashed across her nose. She tilted her head and asked him a question. His English was improving, but tonight he couldn't concentrate on the words. He shrugged and shook his head.
The sailor behind him answered her. The word Ruskie pooled in a ball of resentment in his hollow belly. He didn't need to know much English to know that most of the sailors looked down on him. In fact, most of the people he'd met since coming to America had looked down on him.
The young woman in front of him smiled. A beautiful smile. She pressed a bowl into his hand then gave the remaining bowls to one of the rescue crew and filled his ears with hasty English words. She turned and hurried to the back room.
Maksim balanced his bowl, stepped out of the line, and took a cautious sip of the scalding coffee. The chairs around the tables were full. He looked for a place to sit.
The young woman emerged a moment later with two old women in tow.
"Welcome, boy, welcome," one of the old women said. The words were stilted and heavily accented, but they were Russian.
Homesickness tugged at Maksim's heart. "You speak Russian?"
"Da, we do." She pointed at the other woman. "This is Auntie Gretchen, and I am Auntie Laurie."
He set his bowl and cup on the end of a nearby table then pulled the knit cap from his head. "I am Maksim Ivanov."
"You're bleeding." Auntie Gretchen pulled a cloth from her pocket. "Bend down." She held his chin and scrubbed his forehead with more force than gentleness. The pretty girl with the freckles hovered close by. He did his best not to wince with her watching. Once Auntie Gretchen released his chin, he nodded toward the girl.
"Is she your granddaughter?"
"Nyet, but we'd claim her if we could." Auntie Laurie beamed at the girl. "Her name is Anna, and she lives at the lighthouse. As do we."
Auntie Gretchen leaned closer and gave him a bold wink. "She isn't married."
Maksim took a step back, at a complete loss for words ... in either language.
"Sister, I swear the most untimely things fall from your mouth. Anna would be so embarrassed if she understood you. And this poor boy looks like he just swallowed a frog."
Auntie Gretchen shrugged and winked at Maksim again. "Some opportunities don't come twice. A wise sailor knows when to drop anchor."
But he wasn't a sailor. He was a stowaway.CHAPTER 2
Maksim and Pavel shared the edge of a cot and ate their soup. An elbow to his ribs pulled Maksim's eyes from the pretty girl across the room.
Pavel leaned close. "We need to talk."
Maksim scanned the room. The two old women disappeared into the kitchen, and the girl followed them, shadowed by a blond man roughly the size of a haystack. Nobody else near them spoke Russian as far as Maksim knew. "What troubles you?"
"I overheard the head of the rescue crew talking to the captain. This is an island we're on. They've sent someone to the mainland to telegraph the company."
"This is good, da?"
Pavel shrugged. "For me, but maybe not for you."
His friend's troubled scowl made the chicken soup in Maksim's stomach sour. "What do you mean?"
"If they can't free the Davidson and sail her out of here, they'll send another boat for the crew. There's no way I can sneak you onto the rescue boat."
"But the captain, he knew I was on the Davidson. He let me work off my passage."
"He did, but he won't admit that to his bosses." Pavel rasped his fingernails across three days' growth of whiskers. "He wanted your free labor, so he broke the rules. If the company finds out, he'll get in too much trouble. He won't risk it."
"But —" Maksim stopped when Pavel shook his head.
"A rescue ship will have a list of who they are picking up. Your name won't be on it."
Maksim set his half-eaten bowl of soup on the floor. "What will I do?"
"Pray that we get the Davidson afloat." Pavel shrugged. "If we can't, try to find another ship heading to Duluth. There's still time. The St. Mary's River won't close for a couple of months. There should be plenty of ships heading into Lake Superior before the ice sets in."
Duluth. Maksim had no burning desire to go to that western city on the Great Lakes, except that it was far away from Rachel and known to be a growing agricultural area in need of laborers. Maksim knew farming. He could start over in a place like that.
The pretty girl — Anna, the old woman had called her — worked her way around the room picking up used bowls and spoons. Her graceful movements reminded him of Rachel, although her hair was straight and fine, nothing like Rachel's ebony curls. When Anna reached their cot, she spoke to Pavel. He handed her his bowl. She stooped and picked Maksim's off the floor, asking him a question. He glanced at Pavel.
"She asks if you're finished with your soup."
He looked into her eyes, such a dark blue he'd mistaken them for brown when they first met. "Da."
She smiled and moved off, the sway of her skirts commanding his attention.
"There's a girl who could take your mind off the Jewish one." Pavel stressed the word Jewish as if it were something distasteful.
Maksim gritted his teeth and shook his head.
Pavel walked away, mumbling to himself. He'd never understood how Maksim could become attached to Rachel. Pavel's family may have come to America before he was born, but they'd brought their old-world prejudice with them. The same prejudice that had taken Maksim's father from him. That had taken Rachel from him.
He grabbed a folded blanket off the end of the cot and wrapped it around his shoulders, grateful for its warmth. Then he made his way to the window near the door. The beam from the lighthouse broke the darkness with a dim glow, muted by the same fog that had befuddled the Davidson's captain.
Maksim had been a fool to think that leaving Russia meant leaving the prejudice behind. He'd been a fool to think he could fall in love with Rachel. He leaned his shoulder against the wall and watched Anna return to the kitchen, the blond haystack in her wake. He'd been a fool who'd stowed away on a boat captained by a man who'd run it aground, leaving him a castaway.
* * *
"I'm here because Uncle Jim couldn't leave the lighthouse." Anna pushed down her irritation and forced the words over her shoulder at Ernest Kindt. Why must he seek her out when she'd done nothing but discourage him since she'd arrived?
"You shouldn't have come here on a night like this." Ernest stepped in front of her, blocking the entrance to the kitchen. "What if you'd tripped and twisted your ankle? You could have been lying out there for hours before anyone knew to look for you."
"The aunties came with me," she said through clenched teeth. Ernest was more annoying than her bevy of older brothers back in Detroit. Just because she was the youngest didn't mean she needed someone to watch over her. Not family and not Ernest. She was eighteen, for pity's sake.
"I still don't like it."
Anna pulled the tray of dirty bowls against her waist and took a steadying breath. "It's not your place to like or dislike what I do."
"It could be if —"
"Get out of the way, boy. Let the girl through." Auntie Gretchen smacked a wooden spoon against Ernest's shoulder.
He stepped aside, rubbing the spot.
"I was just —"
"In the way." Auntie Gretchen grabbed hold of Anna's arm above the elbow and hauled her into the kitchen, calling over her shoulder, "We've work to do. You'd do well to mind your own duties."
Ernest reddened but backed away from the door. "Yes, ma'am."
"That boy's a nuisance," Auntie Gretchen muttered.
"Don't I know it." If only he'd take one of her many hints that she wasn't interested.
Anna had dried the last bowl and put it on the shelf when Auntie Laurie poked her head into the kitchen. She joined Anna by the sink.
"They have fifteen cots here, but nineteen sailors. I've told Celia that we'll shelter four of the men. I'm sure your uncle won't mind."
"No, I'm sure he won't."
"We'll bring the Russian boys. Gretchen and I will —"
A low rumbling came from the corner of the kitchen where Auntie Gretchen slouched against the wall precariously seated on a three-legged stool.
Auntie Laurie smiled. "We will walk over with the sailors. You can take the lantern and run ahead to make up the beds. Take your blankets to our room and make a pallet under the window."
"I will. I expect they'll sleep like the dead after tonight."
"They'll be out at first light to try and move the ship and barge off the reef."
(Continues...)Excerpted from The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection by Lenz Nelson Dooley, Rebecca Jepson, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Candice Sue Patterson, Kathleen Rouser, Pegg Thomas, Marilyn Turk. Copyright © 2018 Pegg Thomas. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B07D8GNHBF
- Publisher : Barbour Books (November 1, 2018)
- Publication date : November 1, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 1447 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #269,985 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2018
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The authors did their research nailing the description of their surroundings and the historical period of the various novels. I was very pleased to find each novella felt complete. I’ve read a few novellas where it appeared the middle had been cut out to meet the word count.
Kudos to Author Pegg Thomas for coming up with the idea. Each story can be read in a few hours making it perfect for a cozy distraction after work or to binge read on a Saturday.
Anna's Tower by Pegg Thomas
The first story is set in 1883 where a shipwreck has just happened. I liked the excitement the author built up as rescuers came to help. There is one man from the ship who may find himself in trouble if it is discovered who he is and how he came to be on the ship. Anna is a wonderful character and has dreams of running the lighthouse by herself one day. I would love to visit a lighthouse and see the beauty and power it displays. I really liked Makism and his gentle way he had around others. He was eager to work and the attraction between him and Anna was a breath of fresh air. The author does a great job of wanting readers to follow these two and see what happens between them. I loved the theme in the story about overcoming fear and trusting others.
Beneath a Michigan Moon by Candice Sue Patterson
This story finds us in 1885 at New Presque Isle Lighthouse, Lake Heron. I immediately liked the light hearted banter between Ava and Benjamin. He is insisting to see Ava's father, but there is a slight problem with that. How long can Ava hide her secret before others find out? Ava is a feisty young woman determined to do things on her own. The lighthouse is so important and she resents that snoopy Benjamin keeps coming around. There were times I found their encounters to be comical while Ava tries to discourage Benjamin from coming back to bother her so much. What does he want and why is he so interested in the lighthouse? The story is good and has wonderful details of the lighthouse. What will happen between Ava and Benjamin? It's a great story and I loved the characters. I wanted to spend more time with them and enjoy their connection that grew slowly. The unexpected twist in the story was well written and brings a barrier between Ava and Benjamin. This is a story is about forgiveness and new beginnings.
Safe Haven by Rebecca Jepson
We now get to visit Old Mission, Michigan in 1892. Rose is a very interesting character and I was intrigued about her past. It was hard for her to believe that someone left her at the lighthouse when she was an infant. Why would someone abandon such a special gift as a child? I have noticed a theme as I read each story so far. In this time period of the late 1800s it was not proper for a young woman to be alone with a man if they are not married. It was a refreshing thing to have women treated with respect and how their reputations were of the upmost concern. I am a bit disappointed that this story and the last one are kinda similar in story line. Both women are on their own after losing their father or grandfather. It does make the main character stronger but I was hoping for a little more variety. I did like the mystery surrounding Rose and loved the details of a past that has haunted Rose for years.
Love's Beacon by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Our travels take us to Mackinac Island starting in 1897. Val has traveled a distance to get medicine for her ill parents. When she gets ready to return home, she is told that she cannot travel there tonight. You could feel how distraught she was worrying about her parents. She is taken to the parish to spend the night. I could sense that Val would be receiving bad news soon. There is a mystery in this story about who Val's parents are. Again the story is very similar to the previous one. It is frustrating to read a story where you feel like it is almost the same plot as one you just read. Val gets work taking care of a child while the father works. I have to say I was intrigued to see how how the author would unravel Val's past. Will Val finally find out who her real parents are? There is a bit of romance in the story but I didn't find that it added anything to enhance the story. I have read other books that this author has read and always found them to be very good. This short story seemed rushed and not as detailed as she usually writes.
The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser
This story opens up in 1899 where we find a young woman struggling to stay afloat before the waters take her away. The young woman is rescued but doesn't know who she is. I would not like to have amnesia. It would be frightening to not know who you are or where you came from. To be surrounded by strangers made the woman a bit on edge. The news that she is the only survivor of the Mallory shocks her. I adored the little girl in the story. She wants a mama so bad, she believes the sea has brought her one. Her father did tell her once that she would only have a mama if the Great Lakes coughed her up . I think her father has some explaining to do after the mysterious woman shows up from the sea. Cal is a good man and is willing to help Mallory as she calls herself. He wants to know who she really is as well ans its obvious that his daughter is starting to get attached to her. This story seemed to have a bit more mention of God and I found it be a welcome addition. The story did keep my interest and I did enjoy the ending.
The Disappearing Ship by Lena Nelson Dooley
Our journey finds us next in Upper Michigan in 1902. Norma is a female doctor who has found out that not many if anyone really welcomes a woman doctor. She feels like a failure and decides to go home to her aunt and uncle. This story was fun to read as a mysterious ship has disappeared . Did someone sabotage it or was the ship stolen because of what cargo it was carrying. Norma and Drake hit it off right away and she decides to help him find out what happened to the ship. The story is good and I loved how Drake trusted Norma by taking her with him as he looks for the whereabouts of his cargo. It's s a nice and tidy ending.
The Wrong Survivor by Marilyn Turk
We end our trip in 1911 at Au Sable Lighthouse. Jesse and Nathan go off to sea but only one brother returns. i could feel how guilty Jesse felt being the brother who survived. It reminds me of survivors guilt. You feel horrible that everyone you were with didn't make it and you wonder why you were spared. I liked how the author showed the bitterness Lydia had toward Jesse. it is a good story about forgiveness and I enjoyed reading how the characters found a way to overcome their guilt and try to become friends again.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Barbour Publishing. The review is my own opinion.
While I wasn't a fan of all of the writing styles (some of the stories were a little description heavy for me -- I prefer deeper character development), overall I enjoyed reading about the different lighthouses, characters, and situations. My favorite two stories were Anna's Tower by Pegg Thomas and Beneath a Michigan Moon by Candice Sue Patterson. Thomas and Patterson both created characters that I wanted to know and heroes that I may have developed little crushes on.
With the variety of writing styles and stories, I'm comfortable recommending this book to any lover of historical romance -- you're bound to find a novella in here that will make you sigh.