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The Lady Most Likely...: A Novel in Three Parts Kindle Edition
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|Length: 385 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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1) As other reviewers have noted, this is a three-part novel written by three different authors. I found the transition from one author to the next smoother than I'd feared it would be and even thought it was somewhat interesting to compare the slightly different writing styles, but if that kind of thing is jarring for you, I'd give this one a pass.
2) In order to derive much enjoyment from this collection, you should be a romance reader who buys into "instant love" without much (okay, any!) difficulty. Even as someone who can often merrily go along for the ride much when two strangers allegedly fall in love within a VERY, very short period of time, the stories here involve three couples who move with such supersonic speed from "who the hell are you?" to "Please marry me, my one true love!", and with so little transpiring other than a very quick conversation or two, that it was really, REALLY difficult to suspend my disbelief. On a related note, the character depth is minimal to nonexistent. Skillfully written short stories and novellas can create distinct, vibrant characters in impressively few pages; in these stories, only one of the heroes and one of the heroines truly came to life for me.
3) You should be craving a light, frothy, if-it-were-any-less-substantive-it-would-float-away read! I'm an ardent fan of witty, lighthearted romances that are low on angst and high on blissfully escapist fun, but even for me this one felt fairly hollow, shallow and so-what?!-ish.
On a brighter note, I really do like all of these authors' writing styles and found it a mildly to moderately engaging read---albeit a forgettable one. I hope this was helpful, and happy reading!
Alas, I didn't especially like THIS anthology. The three authors' writing styles were all enjoyable enough, and I actually felt their three contributions blended together rather well. Sadly, I just didn't care much about any of the characters or couples they happened to be writing about. And I can't blame my indifference on the relatively modest length of each novella: for one thing, the three novellas total a generous 387 pages, which in my experience is more than enough to satisfy a short story/novella lover like yours truly. I've read far shorter stories that instantly reel me in, making me feel as if I know and care about the characters, themes and storylines in just a few effective pages. In this case, though, the main characters were fairly generic in a 'you'll forget about them the millisecond you close the book' sort of way, and a couple of the people we were supposed to root for were even vaguely unlikable.
The premise revolves around a bachelor (er...Hugh? Hugo? See, I really DID forget about him already!) deciding he wants to acquire a wife and requesting that his sister---who I found highly annoying, by the way---draw him up a list of prospects. The thing is, it's very, very obvious from page two who he's meant to be with. While none of us probably expect much unpredictability from romances and it's certainly not unusual to know from the very beginning who will get their happily together ever after by the end, in this case it's sort of irritating to wait around for our clueless, strangely arrogant hero, who's obsessed with horses and seems to rank women far below our four-legged friends in the amount of importance and respect he accords them, to figure out what the rest of us know *immediately.* In the meantime, two of the women (un?!)lucky enough to be considered for Hugh's newest possession---er, wife----fall predictably in love with other blandly inoffensive 'heroes', and we're also shown quite a bit of Hugh's sister (did I mention she's annoying?!) and her allegedly idyllic marriage with her husband as well. So maybe if there were one or two fewer couples, I would have cared more about the ones that remained, but, again, I've fallen in immediate love with short stories/novellas by writers like Lisa Kleypas, Courtney Milan, Loretta Chase and even Julia Quinn herself that manage to do a lot more with fewer pages. And, honestly, rather than feeling cheated by the length, I was a little relieved not to spend much more time in some of these characters' company anyway :)
The writing itself ranges from pretty good to a bit better than pretty good across all three novellas, and there were a few witty lines and moments of sweetness that made me feel I hadn't completely wasted the money I spent to buy this one. Of the many recent anthologies and novellas I've devoured, though, this is among the ones I'm least likely to reread. I'd recommend it more as a library book than one fellow romance addicts should spend your hard earned money on, though obviously issues of characterization and chemistry between couples are so wildly subjective that you might find yourself more enchanted with it than I was!