These three Regency novellas, each featuring a young, wealthy duke who must spend two weeks masquerading as a commoner in the bucolic backwater of Lesser Puddlebury. Disaster will rain down if their graces’ titled status become public knowledge. Fortunately for our heroes, true love is no respecter of rank.
STORY: His Grace of Lesser Puddlebury by Grace Burrowes
Connor, Duke of Mowne, has been injured in a most delicate location, and needs a place to heal far from the eyes of Polite Society. When he takes refuge with the independent and impecunious Julianna St. Bellan, he suspects his wound was in truth caused by Cupid’s arrow!
REVIEW: I am one of those Grace Burrowes fans that if she wrote on a paper bag, I’d gobble it up. As for the other two authors, I’ve read some of their book and liked them. I’m not sure who came up with this anthology premise, but whoever did, it was a good one.
Grace Burrowes sets the anthology up with three friends and all of them dukes, in dire need of disguise as one of them needs to convalesce. All three decide to travel to different locations and to stay incognito. What can go wrong while they ‘lay low’? Well, a lot can and it does.
I loved this first story and as usual, Grace Burrowes delivers on all fronts. This novella might as well been the full length book. It read as such. The characters were fully developed and for the chemistry between the two leads, I must credit the wonderful dialogue, making those two jump off the pages. The plot was entertaining and the pace was just right.
The second book was by Ms. Ives and it was my least favorite. I can’t quiet put my finger on it, but the story, despite being written well, just didn’t touch me as much as the first novella. I believe this one just demanded too much of my suspension of belief and had me questioning the behavior of the heroine on too many occasions.
Third story was also well written and characterized but I thought its complexity had me enjoying it less.
In the end, I do recommend it because all three stories were fast paced and each was fun in its own way.
Melanie for b2b
Over the clip-clop of the coach horses’ hooves and the incessant throbbing of his arse, Coinneach Callum Amadour Ives St. Bellan, ninth Duke of Mowne, endured that form of affection which—among grown men at least—traveled under the sobriquet of teasing.
More honest company would call it making sport of a fellow in a misguided attempt to cheer him up.
“Mowed down, they’ll say, like so much wheat,” Starlingham quipped. “One stray bullet and the great duke is hors de combat.”
Lucere was not to be outdone. “The moon sets, as it were.”
They went off into whoops, endlessly entertained, as always, by a play on the title Mowne, which was an old Scottish term for the lunar satellite… and thus a cognate for a reference to the human fundament.
“If the Sun and Stars had not tarried with a pair of tavern maids, we would have reached the dueling ground sooner,” Con groused. “This whole imbroglio is your fault, you two.”
There was simply no getting comfortable in a coach after being shot in the arse. No getting comfortable anywhere.
AUTHOR BIO: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.
The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012.
Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews fromPublishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
STORY: Duchess of Light by Susanna Ives
In a tangle of lies and disguises, a brokenhearted duke and a desperate miss find truth in love.
The old duke released his last breath in the early morning. The new duke had walked to the empty nursery at the top of the house where Catherine, his favorite childhood nurse, and he had shared so many hours. He had squatted onto the cold, bare floor planks and imagined she was with him, embracing him and whispering that all would be well when he knew it wouldn’t be.
Even as a grown man, Lucere desperately missed her abundant smiles and the way she embraced him without reserve—so different from his cold parents, or the grasping courtesans who would later decorate his adult nights. How readily Catherine praised his childish drawings and songs he made up—all created to worship her. No night of wild passion had ever surpassed the gentle, warm feeling of when she had tucked him into bed, singing a lovely song meant to lull him to sleep. He had heard enough false I love you’s dripping from ambitious women’s lips. But Catherine had truly meant it when she’d said, “I love my sweet, sweet boy.”
Catherine was the only person who had ever truly cared for him.
And he had killed her.
AUTHOR BIO: I am a mother to fabulous, brilliant, gorgeous children. When I am not writing, I am a part-time web developer. I listen to Brazilian Jazz, Wynton Marsalis, Astrud Gilberto, Bruce Hornsby, Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Willie Nelson and Ella Fitzgerald.
I can cook some mean Southern butter beans. I love my children, that guy I married, running, my smart phone, the sound of rain, and poems by Billy Collins. In fact, I love poetry in general, but don’t write a word of it. I’ve followed my crazy Viking husband through Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, England, and Scotland.
STORY: Kiss Me, Your Grace by Emily Greenwood
Rowan, Duke of Starlingham, thinks love is for fools, though when he arrives at his hunting box to find an alluring but puzzlingly uncooperative woman pretending to be his cousin, he realizes he may be a victim of the most absurd malady of all: love at first sight.
The knocking, which had paused briefly, started again as they reached the door, heavy and bold, like a highwayman shouting his demands at terrified travelers. Clearly, Clare read too many gothic novels, nonetheless steadying her grip on the poker.
Louisa opened the door. The light from the candelabrum illuminated only an expanse of dark coat until Louisa raised the candles much higher to reveal a man’s face.
Claire’s first impression was of a square jaw, then of a mouth set in a firm line. Her gaze crept upward, taking in features made with bold strokes. In the shadowy light, his eyes were black, but she had a feeling they’d look that way in the daytime, too. His hair was dark and longish, its spiky waves brushing the collar of his dark coat and slashing across his forehead.
He was moderately tall and rather hulking. His shoulders were unfashionably brawny, and his expensive-looking tailcoat must have needed an entire bolt of fabric. And what kind of gentleman had arm muscles that showed under his coat? This man might be a gentleman—and there was little doubt of that from the cut of his clothes—but the bold jut of his chin and the leashed strength of his body spoke not of drawing rooms and dance floors but sweat and force.
He would not have looked out of place swinging a hammer in a blacksmith’s forge, and Claire imagined fire reflected in those intense black orbs while sweat trickled down the rough angles of his cheeks…the Roman god Vulcan at his work.
She needed to stop reading those mythology books as well.
“Good evening,” the man said in deep, cultured tones. “I am Mr. Fitzwilliam, cousin to his grace, the Duke of Starlingham.”
Claire and Louisa gasped at the same time.
To order your copy of this Regency novella anthology, you can go here.
AUTHOR BIO: Emily Greenwood has a degree in French and worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures. But she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance is the chocolate of literature.
A Golden Heart finalist, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.