Genre: historical romance
Cover: Lovely when you really look at it.
Thanks to Pippa Middleton, we are more fascinated than ever by bridesmaids . . . especially the ones in Royal Weddings.
In this revealing anthology, we learn what it really takes to get the bride to the royal altar. They need to do more than "smile, wave, and look delighted"!
Stephanie Laurens: A Return Engagement
Lady Nell Daughtry has her hands full getting her reluctant bride sister safely married to the Prince of Lautenberg. Then she learns she's paired with Robert Knightley . . . the fiancé who walked away.
Lady Cornelia (Nell) Daughtry is accompanying her your sister Frances and her parents to the small country of Lautenberg, where her sister will marry its Prince. To her surprise, the man she never stopped loving in nine years, Lord Robert Knightly is working as an aide to the Prince. The marriage is very important to the British Foreign Affairs Ministry, and Robert and all his family, are highly appreciated diplomats. Nine years ago, Nell and Robert were a very nice couple, but to her surprise, Robert suddenly withdrew himself and never proposed to her, as she was expecting. So far, no man has tempted her into marriage.
And now they will have to work closely together, as Nell will be her sister’s chaperone, and Robert will go wherever the Prince goes.
But nothing is as simple as it seems, all the women in Nell’s extended family suffer from some strange kind of curse, severe wedding nerves to the point of running away, even when they are very much in love. As her sister is with her Prince, and Prince Frederick is with Frances. So every time Nell sees those signs of stress in Frances, she steps in and steers her sister clear by distracting her. Of course Robert notices these strange occurrences as well, and he demands an explanation.
Robert ensures Fredericks’s help in keeping his lovely bride distracted, and all goes well, the couple grows even closer together because of this. But Robert also suddenly understands Nell’s behaviour, why she seemed to change her mind about their courtship, and he is determined to make her his wife. For in his heart, he never stopped loving her, and he never considered marrying someone else.
A lovely short story, I really enjoyed this. This case of nerves was fun and original, and it explained what happened, as the woman who has those nerves, also doesn’t know when it happens to her or what she does when it strikes. So both parties thought the other was withdrawing and of course a real gentleman does not pursue where he is not wanted. When Robert understands what has happened, he knows what he has to do, and this time, he will not be a gentleman if it comes to that …
I liked how Nell cared about her sister, how she encouraged her and loved her and was there for her. As the bride to be, her sister was the main focus, and Nell had only a few moments with Robert together, but it was enough for me to believe in them as a couple that really belonged together. I always like my main characters a bit older than debutantes as they are just mature adults and behave like such.
Gaelen Foley: The Imposter Bride
Lady Minerva must ensure her country's princess is wed to handsome Prince Tor. Then the bride bolts, and bridesmaid becomes - bride!
I disliked this story from the first page. Two European countries at war with each other. One in the Alps, the other near the coast. Okay, I can go for that. One country is inhabited by Vikings though, who are warriors through and through, and emotionless. Hmm Vikings living in the Swiss/Italian/Austrian mountain range. No. The other country with passionate people, where men have multiple wives. At first described like Venetia, so, no. The Bride goes to her Bridegroom on the back of an elephant. No. There are also camels. No. The females remain completely veiled until they are married. No.
They also have a custom of being half naked acrobats doing acrobatic things with long silk banners hanging from the ceiling. Both men and women do that when they are young. Really? Never heard of that except in the circus.
The Vikings have a lot of horses, described like the famous Spanish horses and how they perform with them. No. The Viking prince has a hobby of plants, and how to “crossbreed” them for better crops. No.
The Bride runs away on the night before her wedding, her guard sets out to find her, and is looking for her day after day. Her best maid marries the prince in her stead, and they fall in love. Until the Bride’s brother shows up, something he swore he would never do, and knows this is not his sister, but her best friend. How did he know who she is if he has never seen her unveiled? But the plot is destroyed, the fake Bride locked in the tower, where she promptly escapes with the help of her husband’s sister, with one of those famous silk banners. No. And within hours she finds the missing princess, while riding a strange horse through a completely unknown country side, while dozens of men did not find a trail off her at all. No.
And she then persuades the spoiled princess to come back with her and prevent the duel between her brother and her groom.
I don’t buy anything about this story and all those inaccuracies spoiled what could have been a pleasant little story. The author did not do any research about European countries at all, mixing European people and some Eastern desert people or something like that. Perhaps because I am European it hit me all wrong, if you know nothing about us at all, you might find this entertaining.
I really liked the prince, he was not a fierce warrior after all, he was kind and gentle with his wife. And Minerva was a good friend who wanted to go to university and become a doctor, but she sacrificed her future for her country and married the Viking prince Tor instead.
Loretta Chase: Lord Lovedon's Duel
When Chloe Sharp hears the handsome Earl of Lovedon say her sister's royal marriage is a match made in money, she challenges him to a duel - for love and honor.
Chloe’s sister Althea has just gotten married to her own Prince Charming, when the two sisters overhear Lord Lovedon tell his friends that this is not a match made in love, but in money. Her prince needs money to fix his castles, and he has forsaken a sweetheart back home in order to marry Althea. Of course it is rubbish, but it takes Chloe a lot of time to get Althea back to being happy in love with her Prince, as much as he is in love with her. So when Althea is back inside the ballroom with their guests, the feisty and slightly drunken Chloe goes of in search of the nasty Lord Lovedon. Finding him in the picture gallery, she then slaps him in the face with her glove, throws a glass of champagne in his face, and challenges him to a duel for ruining her sisters’ weddingday.
Lord Lovedon is slightly drunk as well, but he suddenly notices Chloe and becomes interested in her. Of course he won’t agree to a duel with a lady, but when Chloe’s best friend and an other sister drag her away from him and his friends, he knows he has to make repairs before this story gets into royal ears.
I had fun reading this story. Of course it is slightly ridiculous, but it was short and well written and I could understand Lord Lovedon becoming interested in this little miss who shows a lot of character. And for Chloe, she is not used to interacting with the ton, her father is a lawyer, her sister really did make a lovematch. So when Lord Lovedon helps her get home without embarrassing her family for being drunk, and for arranging for a fake duel the next day, she is intrigued with him as well.
Very short, but characters I did like, and well, just fun.
So, 2 nice stories, and one very bad one. There are also some excerpts about other books by these authors, so the stories are even shorter than you think they are. If you are a die hard fan of one of these authors, I say go for it. I am a big Stephanie Laurens fan, and I am glad I read her story. I don’t think Gaelen Foley is for me at all, but I might try another Loretta Chase book some day.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian