You know, when I buy an anthology I just never know what I will come up with. It's like going to the county fair. You pays your money and you takes your chance. Luckily for me, two out of three was not bad except that the "bad" one was officially called a novella and took up most of the book.
---4.5 stars, Stephanie Laurens, "Lost and Found"
At less than 80 pages this was a very good story. Why this was so short I don't know but it would have done well as a longer offering. Anne Ashford and Reggie Carmarthen were very good lead characters and complimented each other admirably. He seemed to instantly realize how serious she was about finding a solution to Benjamin's parental (or lack of) situation and I liked seeing them work together. A feel good ending all around.
---2 stars, Elizabeth Boyle, "The Matchmaker's Bargain"
This was the novella of the trio and I just can't make out why. Why was this author chosen to write the longest portion of this anthology? Is it mandatory that they be over 370 pages long? Do readers demand quantity instead of quality? For me, it was trite, contrived, unweildy and had very poor dialogue. Try an experiment some time when you are reading. Say the dialogue out loud. This was riddled with lines spoken by our heroine, Amanda Farleigh (masquerading as Miss Smythe to protect her identity) such as, "Sir, I must away", and "Sir, I beseech you to leave" and "Please, sir, unhand me". And our hero. Oh, yes, our hero! Mr James Reyburn (Jemmy to his friends and family) must have said "demmit" either aloud or to himself once on each page (somethimes more than once per page). Gosh how I grew to hate that word! I think the whole thing was drawn out just to make for more pages in the book. I felt that nothing was added to the story by having it that long..over 155 pages.
---4.5 stars, Christina Dodd, "The Third Suitor"
A very good story. Needed to be longer. (Say, what if we take away about half from EB?) It was well thought out, it had wonderful characters who were likeable and realistic and the plot was interesting, tight, and workable. Lady Jessica Macmillian and Edmund Kennard Henry Chamberlain, Earl of Granville (posing as just regular Mr Harry Windberry) have not come to this out-of-the-way place by accident and therein lies this delightful tale. He doesn't remember her, she doesn't recognize him, but they have met before and she is actually the reason his nose was broken all those years ago. A true delight to watch them rediscover each other and fall in love in the process. This one was 112 pages but seemed much shorter because I was so interested in it.
This book also contained 18 pages at the end selling stories available from this publisher which (stupid piled on top of stupid) actually included the three stories included in this very book! (Please, people, is there really not an editor in the house any more????)
I had never read the three books which contained these three heros so they didn't actually "come back" for me but I really enjoyed getting to know two of them. I will probably search out the originals to read just so I can get to know these guys a little better.