Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Summons From Yorkshire by Ava Stone, Aileen Fish & Julie Johnstone

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Author
Read: Nov. 7, 2011 

The powerful Duke of Danby summons all of his wayward grandchildren home for the holidays. Book one of the Regency Christmas Summons Collection.

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This review is different than most of the books I feature here as it is an anthology collection. I feel commenting on the entire book as I do with most of my reviews would be unfair so I have opted to review each piece individually. My overall rating reflects my opinion of the book in its entirety.

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The Counterfeit Christmas Summons by Ava Stone
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I don’t consider myself well versed in the genre but from time to time I’ve been known to pick up the odd regency romance. Occasionally one will surprise me, but by and large I find the stories altogether fluffy. Case and point, the opening chapter of the Regency Christmas Summons Collection. Stone does a wonderful job introducing the premise of the series, but I wasn’t really impressed by the details of her contribution. Emma and Heathfield felt like the stereotypical regency couple. They just didn’t jump off the page for me. Neither did the events of their story for that matter. It started out strong with Emma luring the viscount to Danby Castle under false pretense but the simple misunderstandings between the couple weren’t exactly unique. The short is well-constructed and I appreciate the light humor but not a particularly noteworthy piece. 

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The Viscount’s Sweet Temptation by Aileen Fish
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It is a universal truth that regency lit always ends with a happy couple. Not a lot of suspense there. That being said I really liked the premise of Fish’s contribution. Harriet’s flight from what she assumes to be a loveless marriage is a plot much to my liking and Morley’s lack of enthusiasm regarding his forced involvement in her escape offered an amusing twist to the story. The romance felt a bit contrived but a cute piece nonetheless. 

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Gift of Seduction by Julie Johnstone
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Easily the strongest of the three shorts that make up book one of the Collection. I’m not an editor and I have absolutely no expertise but I would have opened the volume with this piece. Neither of the other two contributions came close to including this much plot, characterization or depth. Personal opinion of course, but Johnstone shines by comparison. Charlotte is determined and strong despite the tragic romance that determined the direction her life was to take. Drew is heartbroken and full of remorse as he returns to Danby Castle having never settled his feelings regarding the woman he abandoned. Their whole situation, ripped apart by societal expectation, as well as their reintroduction caught me hook, line and sinker. 


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She was not above the need to be admired and wanted. She had earned that small bit of vanity the day she had picked up the millions of jagged pieces of her broken heart that Drew had left on his bedroom floor.
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