- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Signet Book (Mar 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451203801
- ISBN-13: 978-0451203809
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 9.7 x 3.8 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,419,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Romantic Times says, "You'll be looking for a young man after reading this unforgettable anthology!" Top Pick.
The first story, A Man Who Can Dance (Maxwell), suffered first and foremost from being far too short; approximately 60 pages is not long enough to develop characters to the point where I could care what happens to them. Besides that, the story was unconvincing and badly written. Since the hero was Scottish, Maxwell seemed to feel the need to ape Scottish inflexions in her dialogue - this chiefly manifested itself by use of 'Tis here and there, which felt extremely false. She compounded this irritant by using 'Tis and 'Twas in *narrative*, which made me want to stop reading the story. One star.
Moving on rapidly. The second story, Forevermore (Royal), is actually the second in a series by this author, thus putting at a disadvantage anyone who has not read the first book. Besides that, it also suffered from 'anthology-itis', in that it was too short and the characters and plot insufficiently well developed. Again, I didn't really care whether the characters got together or not. That apart, I found the ending very unsatisfying. One star.
The third story, Written in the Stars (Reding), was better written than either of the first two, and actually a little more interesting. The plot - young woman has been in love with her brother's best friend almost all his life, and now that he's home from the war he realises that he loves her too - was good and interesting. However, the 'magical' elements which surrounded it: dreams, 'signs', storms and portents, were very off-putting. Two stars, perhaps.
And then we have Beverley's The Demon's Mistress. I wanted this story because it's actually the first in her Three Georges series, and I'd read The Dragon's Bride a few months ago without realising that there was another story preceding it. This one is about George Vandeimen, known as Van, who returns from Waterloo to find his father having committed suicide and his estates in ruins. In an attempt to recoup his fortune, he loses a fortune at the gaming tables, and attempts suicide. However, the widow of the man who was chiefly responsible for Van's father's misfortunes wants to help, and in order to do so in a manner which she knows Van will accept, she offers him a bargain. Act as her fiance for six weeks in order to deter fortune-hunters, and she will pay him twenty thousand pounds...
This, in typical Beverley fashion, is a beautifully-written story, with compelling plot and excellent characterisation. My only complaint is that I think it would have been better as a full-length novel instead of a 100-page novella; I would have liked to see much more exploration of both Van's and Maria's feelings as they fell in love, and more history of the three George's friendship would have been good. Four/five stars.
The first, by Cathy Maxwell, was so bad that I'd like to give it no stars. This is the first thing I've read by her and I certainly hope she normally writes better. The characters were poorly developed; she really didn't deal with the age difference; and the entire story was superficial. As a reader, I felt only 1-2 moments of empathy with the characters. The idea of a new doctor and a governess was excellent, but the warm and wise doctor was very foolish with regard to his uncle and cousin and to falling in "love" at first sight. The way in which he gains his uncle's favor was highly predictable. And how on earth did he learn to dance, especially all the steps of the quadrille, in only a few days? The real kicker, though, was Maxwell's use of "tone deaf" as explaining the hero's inability to dance. Dancing is about rhythm, not pitch (which applies to tone deafness). Tone deaf people can dance but not sing. Frankly, even people who can sing beautifully may not be able to dance, since it involves a physical use of rhythm. 1 star.
Lauren Royal's story fairs somewhat better. I am not as familiar with this historical period (the 1660s) and so cannot say how accurate it is, especially regarding social conventions. However, the time period seems to have little to do with the actual story other than an irrelevant song. The hero is pleasant but superficial; the heroine seemed deeper but we are given few details; the child is adorable. Evidently, these characters were introduced in other books and may be more fully developed there. However, someone just reading this story will be left wanting to learn more about them. The age differences are dealt with in a minor but realistic way. 2 & 1/2 stars.
At least each story is better than the last. The third, by Jaclyn Reding, uses a welcome twist on the age issue: she must marry a younger man or face dire consequences, and the hero and her lifelong love is not younger. The characters are engaging, and there are nice historical touches in which the setting provides additional flavor. The reader gets a better sense of Scotland in this tale than in the last which relied too heavily on the Scottish dialect. 3 & 1/2, maybe 4, stars.
Definitely saving the best for last with Jo Beverley's novella. This is JB at her best, covering all the bases necessary for an excellent romance. This work is the first of her Georges series (a corollary to the Company of Rogues series). I just happened to read them in reverse order, but it would benefit the reader to read them in the correct order with this one first. Van really stays with you, poor man, and the heroine saves him, quite literally. They are indeed just what the other needs.
If you buy this book, buy it for Beverley's novella alone. Otherwise borrow it from the library and read her story. 5 stars! Better yet, get "Three Heroes" & have the stories of all three Georges in one book.
Averaging the individual scores, the book as a whole comes out to 3 stars.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions