Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology

Something Old by Julia Quinn
The set up of the book. Four girls meet at Madame Rochambeaux's Gentle School for Girls (perfect name for a book about fate and working to choose your own). One day, they discover a sixpence in a mattress and come to decide that it must bring luck. Anne, claims it first even though she's the youngest by two years, because she needs to be married before she's twenty-one (though in the ARC, it says twenty-five in the intro and twenty-one in the story, I assume that will be fixed) leading us into...

Four Weddings and a Sixpence by Julia QuinnSomething New by Stefanie Sloane
I hadn't read Ms. Sloane before but am delighted that I haven't missed many books. As far as novellas go, I'm usually very disappointed in how fast characters have to fall in love to make the story work but she played this meeting and relationship beautifully.
The beginning was a bit rough with the exposition being told to a dog but Anne is delightful as is Rhys, the Duke of Dorset. He respects her and she is smitten with him though neither wants to marry the other, he being far too young (a familiar trope) and she being leery of love after seeing her parents' tempestuous match but they spend more and more time together, eventually falling in love.

Four stars

Something Borrowed by Elizabeth Boyle
In the opening, Cordelia was a wealthy young woman but by the time we get to her story, most of her family's wealth has been squandered by her father who has since died. She has been putting off her aunts' urgings to marry by saying that she's engaged. Of course, that's not true. But her rather unorthodox companion has a solution, just ask her childhood friend Kipp, now the fourteenth Earl of Thornton.
Kipp remembers Cordelia well. He also remembers their hope for adventure in the future. But when his older brother died, Kipp had to step up to try and save the family estate. To that end, he's all but proposed to a wealthy and beautiful cit's daughter. But when Cordelia calls on their childhood promise, he's ready to help.
A little too love-at-first-sight for me but generally a good story.

Four stars

<i>Something Blue</i> by Laura Lee Guhrke
Lawrence Blackthorne is not only friends with Kipp, he is long acquainted with the Daventry family. More specifically, Elinor (Ellie) Daventry. It seems her father is something of a scoundrel and Lawrence wants to make sure that Ellie isn't going to try and ride to his rescue. Especially since she's already given up Lawrence, her childhood sweetheart, because he wouldn't stop from prosecuting her father for his crimes. But that doesn't mean he wants to see her married to a pompous ass just because the ass's father sits on the review board.
I didn't like Lawrence as much as the other heroes we've seen thus far. He is very dictatorial and autocratic. Still, a readable story from an author I enjoy.

Three stars

... And a Sixpence in Her Shoe by Julia Quinn
Beatrice (Bea) was the skeptic among the girls. She didn't think that the coin had any powers and definitely doesn't want to get married; it would mean leaving her aunts on their own. But one day she bumps into a man in the street as she's studying the heavens. It's not the eye patch that startles her, but rather the fact that his uncovered eye is the exact color of the sky.
Lord Frederick doesn't realize this. He assumes she's aghast by his disfigurement. When he then meets her again in a paper shop, the encounter goes a little better but it is outside the the butcher that he shows himself to his best form, thwarting a would-be sixpence thief.
The two start to spend more time together and realize how much they have in common.
A little too insta-lovey for me and I didn't feel like we got to know Bea and Frederick as well as the characters in the other stories but I don't think it will spoil the tale for Ms. Quinn's regular readers.

Three and a half stars

Overall 4 stars
This book comes out December 27

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