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Three Weddings and a Kiss [Mass Market Paperback]

Kathleen Woodiwiss , Catherine Anderson , Loretta Chase , Lisa Kleypas
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £4.81 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Three Weddings and a Kiss + Married at Midnight + A Season Beyond a Kiss
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books (31 Dec 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380781220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380781225
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.6 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Featuring three unlikely wedding couples, an enthralling romance anthology includes the beginning of a sequel to Kathleen E. Woodwiss's best-selling romance classic, The Flame and the Flower, along with works by Catherine Anderson, Loretta Chase, and Lisa Kleypas. Reissue.

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Clint Rafferty strode across the worn boardwalk in front of the Golden Goose Saloon and shove open the bat-wing doors. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One good story, three also-rans 2 Aug 2007
By Helen Hancox TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Anthologies are curious things. With different authors you often find you're reading several entirely unrelated stories, possibly linked around a theme but with little else to enable them to sit happily together. This book is the same, with two stories set in America and two in England, most around the English Regency period (although I'm not sure of the dating of the two set in America) and all featuring a wedding but apart from that there seems little to tie them together. As an introduction to the works of these authors this is a useful book but sadly this reader only found one story worthwhile in the collection.

FANCY FREE
The first story, "Fancy Free", by Catherine Anderson surprised me by not being set in the Regency period in England, which is what I thought this book was about (although this was my mistake as it doesn't specify English Regency on the cover, it was just the featured authors that made me assume this). Instead it was set in America in some unspecified time in history (my knowledge of American history isn't enough for me to know when) and features Clint Rafferty, a cattle rancher, and his family of seven younger brothers who finds himself getting married, rather unexpectedly, and at the end of a pistol, to Rachel Constantine. So how can people settle down after a shotgun marriage when they know very little about each other and when Rachel is well aware she's not want Clint wanted? He wants someone to make a home but her cooking skills are somewhat lacking, especially as she can't see anything due to excessive short-sight and that she believes if she wears her spectacles men will be appalled by her ugliness.
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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star 31 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
All the same story line.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 7 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 7 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chase and Kleypas save the day! 17 Jun 2002
By Gigimomma - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first of the four stories is by Catherine Anderson an author I wasn't familiar with until now. Honestly, I did not care at all for the plot, the characters or her style of writing. The plot is
contrived and flimsy at best ( even for a short story ).The heroine ( she was so unremarkable I can't even recall her name) is out to get revenge against the man she thinks broke her sister's heart. She ends up taking revenge on the wrong brother and they're caught in a compromising position by her father and they're forced to marry. This is basically the only interesting part to this story as the rest is extremely unimaginative and boring.
The second story The Mad Earl's Bride by Loretta Chase is the real gem of this collection. The hero is diagnosed with a deadly brain disease that will not only ultimately kill him but will also cause him to lose his sanity. Having no immediate relatives he's forced to marry and produce an heir so the title will stay in the family. He agrees to marry Gwendolyn after a memorable meeting with her. She's a total bluestocking and not a great beauty so she doesnt have any illusions as to why the marriage is taking place. She's extremely levelheaded and also ambitious she dreams of building her own hospital and that's her reason for marrying a man with a death sentence. However, destiny has other plans for her and she ends up crazy in love with her mad earl. She becomes obsessed with finding the cause of her husband's deadly ailment. Can this obsession ultimately destroy what little time these two star- crossed lovers have left?
Read and find out! You will not be dissapointed.
Lisa Kleypas short story "Promises" is also entertaining although not as intriguing and romantic as Chase's. The real reason I loved this story was the hero Eric De Gray is absolutely delicious (He calls to mind the delectable oh-so tortured Derek Craven). The heroine thinks herself in love with another man who promised to come back after leaving to tour the continent. One small quibble: I got a little annoyed with the heroine about this obsession with waiting for this man whom she has not seen or heard from in over a year. She has underestimated Eric, whom she wants nothing to do with, and he sets out to charm and disarm her. This is a delightful story with a hero that's to die for.
Kathleen Woodiwiss "The Kiss" I didn't even finish reading. One of my first romances was actually KW's Shanna. This was many years ago and I loved it.However, Ms Woodiwiss writing hasn't aged very well. I found her style overblown and the dialogue stilted. Halfway through it I asked myself "who talks like that?" and gave up and closed the book.
As far as anthologies go I've read far better but it is recommended if only for Chase's refreshing and romantic story. :)
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT read this one for Woodiwiss 19 Jan 2005
By S. Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Her very short story was not worth the time to read it. Flimsy, contrived, and boring, without interesting characters or a well-defined setting. Perhaps those who have read whatever book these characters come from would appreciate it, but I can't imagine anyone else doing so.

Anderson's Old West story was somewhat contrived, but humorous and engaging. It made a nice change of pace for me; I rather enjoyed it. The title's a mystery.

Kleypas' story was not her best effort and featured a rather dull hero and an irritating heroine, but the tale was mildly entertaining.

The real treat in this set of short stories was Chase's tale of the mad earl. It was populated with vivid characters, realistic settings, a tightly woven plot, and emotional range. Read this book if you read it for this story alone. I'll be finding more by Loretta Chase thanks to this story.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One good story, three also-rans 2 Aug 2007
By Helen Hancox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Anthologies are curious things. With different authors you often find you're reading several entirely unrelated stories, possibly linked around a theme but with little else to enable them to sit happily together. This book is the same, with two stories set in America and two in England, most around the English Regency period (although I'm not sure of the dating of the two set in America) and all featuring a wedding but apart from that there seems little to tie them together. As an introduction to the works of these authors this is a useful book but sadly this reader only found one story worthwhile in the collection.

FANCY FREE
The first story, "Fancy Free", by Catherine Anderson surprised me by not being set in the Regency period in England, which is what I thought this book was about (although this was my mistake as it doesn't specify English Regency on the cover, it was just the featured authors that made me assume this). Instead it was set in America in some unspecified time in history (my knowledge of American history isn't enough for me to know when) and features Clint Rafferty, a cattle rancher, and his family of seven younger brothers who finds himself getting married, rather unexpectedly, and at the end of a pistol, to Rachel Constantine. So how can people settle down after a shotgun marriage when they know very little about each other and when Rachel is well aware she's not want Clint wanted? He wants someone to make a home but her cooking skills are somewhat lacking, especially as she can't see anything due to excessive short-sight and that she believes if she wears her spectacles men will be appalled by her ugliness. I felt the realism of this story was sorely lacking in terms of how Rachel could cope with her short-sight, especially when we learn she couldn't read a recipe - short sight would meant that she COULD read paper close to, it's distance things that would be a problem. Somehow Clint and the boys don't seem to mind her disasters and very quickly she becomes important to them. But Rachel has a low self image and doesn't understand this and when another woman comes to the house she can't handle it and runs away - Clint and she have to decide what is important to them.

This was a pleasant enough story but there wasn't any great character depth and I did have some problems overall with Rachel's domestic skills, especially bearing in mind her eyesight problems. Sometimes she seemed almost blind, other times it was clear she must have been able to see reasonably in order to function in public without her spectacles. It was an OK read but nothing that special and didn't inspire me to read anything more from this author.

THE MAD EARL'S BRIDE
The second story, "The Mad Earl's Bride" by Loretta Chase, was rather more engaging. We are given a brief history of Dorian Camoys' youth under his autocratic grandfather. Dorian knows that he is beginning to succumb to the same brain disorder that killed his mother - after she had spent some time in a lunatic asylum. He returns to Dartmoor to live his last months in peace but his peace is shattered when the other close members of his family die and he inherits the title of Earl of Rawnsley and finds one of his distant relatives trying to help arrange the succession. Dorian is asked to marry Gwendolyn, a young woman who badly needs his money in order to build a hospital. Gwendolyn wishes she had been born a man as she wants to be a doctor but no men except for one doctor ever take her seriously. Her experiences in learning about medicine mean that she can help Dorian in his last months and so they marry. However there is much research to be done about his condition and as it begins to worsen they begin to plan for the future and to learn about each other.

This story has links to "Lord of Scoundrels" and some of the characters from that story appear in this. It's a very enjoyable read and although a short story it seems surprisingly detailed. I very much enjoy Loretta Chase's writing style although her Regencies occasionally slip into Americanisms, but overall this is a good story with a likeable hero and heroine and a rather different theme from the norm.

PROMISES
"Promises" by Lisa Kleypas is another story set in England in the Regency period. Lidian Acland, our heroine, has been holding a torch for the improbably named Chance Spencer for a year whilst he does the Grand Tour. However her mother (along with pretty much everyone else) thinks Chance isn't worth her devotion and tries to encourage Lidian to look at other men. None interests her until she meets Eric de Gray, heir to an Earldom and squiring his sister at various parties. She and Eric clash a number of times as he tries to get her to see Chance for who he really is and Lidian wants to hang on to her dream. There's another mini romance within this story which isn't particularly detailed but is enjoyable.

The writing in this story was fine and the setting (for example the hero and heroine take a walk in Vauxhall Gardens) was well described but unfortunately I didn't get into the characters in this story. Eric seemed over-harsh and not very warm to Lidian, Lidian seemed rather stupid about Chance when we are told she is intelligent. Her behaviour is also not appropriate for a woman in her situation, going out unchaperoned etc, and her supposed constancy towards Chance is also dropped surprisingly quickly. Still it was a reasonable enough read if not particularly deep.

THE KISS
The final story is much shorter than all the rest (the first two accounted for over two thirds of the book) at only 29 pages. Written by Kathleen E Woodiwiss it was evidently a follow-up to another previous story (which I haven't read) which detailed the relationship between Brandon and Heather Birmingham. This couple's relationship is referred to repeatedly in this story and we also meet them in this tale.

"The Kiss" takes place in Charleston, America, and is about Brandon's brother Jeffrey who finds himself unexpectedly coming to the aid of a woman whose guardian is about to sell her to a man. Jeffrey buys her instead, takes her home and then realises that he hasn't necessarily helped her situation as he will have compromised her by buying her in public. He resolves this in a fairly obvious way and then the story ends. It's a 'love at first sight' story which I couldn't always believe but then a story this short can't go too much in depth. However there was one significant irritant - the author seems to have rather a small stock of adjectives and she massively over-used the adjective 'manly'. We had 'manly shoulders', 'manly scent of his cologne', 'manly form', 'manly costume', 'manly desires' and the rather bizarre 'manly tread' as he walks across the room - all in 29 pages. The other descriptions were all rather basic, 'narrow hips', 'slender waist', that kind of thing. This writing style proved rather irritating to this reader and the rest of the story wasn't really engaging enough to make it truly enjoyable.

In conclusion this is a rather bitty collection of stories. The only real stand-out story is Loretta Chase's one, the other three are ultimately fairly forgettable and seem to have either plot problems or writing disappointments. I understand this book won a number of awards but I'm not really sure why as I felt it was rather a disappointment.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag -There are better anthologies out there 28 Jun 2006
By Misuzmama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoy reading anthologies. It gives me the opportunity to sample several authors at a time. This one, unfortunately, is not so good. The only reason I gave three stars is due to Chase's The Mad Earl's Bride -an excellent story which saves this anthology. The others are just blah. I've read Kleypas (she's one of my fav's) before and Promises is not her best work. The same could be said for the others. Woodiwiss The Kiss was good but ended very abrubtly.

So if you want to read a good anothology get Where's My Hero (Kleypas is excellent in this) and Scottish Brides. They are both really well written romantic historicals.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chase's Story Is The Only Reason This Anthology Deserves 4 stars 19 Feb 2007
By H. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This anthology contains stories from Kathleen Woodwiss, Catherine Anderson, Loretta Chase and Lisa Kleypas. The cover shows Woodwiss as the marquee author in the anthology. However, once you read the stories, it is clear that Loretta Chase's The Mad Earl's Bride is the shining star in an otherwise banal collection. I'm giving this review 4 stars because of Chase's story. For those who have never read Chase's books, this is a great example of her talent. For those who are already fans, you will not be disappointed.

The anthology starts with Catherine Anderson's Fancy Free. I like westerns and I had high hopes for this one. However, it is forgettable. The heroine is irritating and the situation which leads to the wedding was inane. The heroine was so inept at everything, it was incomprehensible that the hero and his family, who desperately needed a competent woman to help at the family farm, would grow so attached to her. This story merits only one star.

Loretta Chase's The Mad Earl's Bride, by itself, is worth the price of the anthology. The story is unique and so are the characters. As with many of Chase's novels, the heroine is smart and capable and the hero is flawed but compelling. The romance between them is gripping and it is marvelous how Chase is able to capture this in a short story. This story deserves more than 5 stars.

Lisa Kleypas' Promises is adequate. I am a fan of Kleypas and I thought that this was not one of her better efforts. After reading Kleypas' story "I will" in the Wish List anthology and many of her other books, I had higher hopes. In "I Will" Kleypas described an interesting and steamy romance in a short story. Unfortunately, Promises lacked interesting and compelling characters. The story line was also boring. I still give this story 3 stars purely on Kleypas writing ability.

The worst of the stories was Woodwiss' The Kiss. I do not understand why she is the marquee author. The story just sucked. It seemed unfinished. There was absolutely no romance or chemistry between the two characters and I wasn't sure why it was published. It is absolutely the worst story I have read and if not for Chase's story, I would've demanded my money back from the publishers. I give this no stars.
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