Thursday, March 14, 2013

Royal Bridesmaids - Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, Loretta Chase (Avon - Aug 2012)

In this original anthology New York Times bestselling authors Stephanie Laurens Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase tell us what it really takes to get the bride to the royal altar

Good stories.  I would have rated them higher if they hadn't been so very short.

Stephanie Laurens's In A Return Engagement Lady Nell Daughtry has her hands full getting her reluctant bride sister safely married to the Prince of Lautenberg And matters only get worse when she learns she's been paired with Robert Knightley her ex-fiance in the wedding party

Nell has been tasked with getting her sister through the pre-wedding festivities.  The women in the family seem to have some sort of panic disorder relating to weddings causing them to sometimes act irrationally.  Nell has the ability to keep her sister calm.  She was not expecting to see Robert in the prince's wedding party.  They had courted many years ago then he had suddenly pulled away before proposing.  Now they had to work together to make the wedding happen.  I liked them both.  They were able to put the past behind them and do what was needed.  It also gave them a chance to get to know each other again.  I enjoyed their teamwork.  I also liked the way that Robert looked at Nell and their past differently after he learned about the panic attacks.  The shortness of the story didn't allow for much depth, but overall I enjoyed it.

The Imposter Bride is Gaelen Foley's story about Lady Minerva who must make sure that her country's princess weds Prince Tor What can she do when the bride bolts? Since the prince has never set eyes on his betrothed she'll have to marry the prince herself.

This one starts with a war being ended with plans for a royal marriage.  Prince Tor is the cool, always in control Viking-like warrior.  His bride is from a Mediterranean country and known to be hot-headed, spoiled and emotional.  When she runs away it leaves the potential peace at risk, so Minerva marries the prince in her place.  I really liked both these characters.  Tor's traditions are that you don't show your emotions, but it was obvious that he had them.  I liked the way he didn't destroy the other city at the end of the war.  When he had Minerva alone he showed a lot of compassion and patience knowing that the marriage had been a political one.  He came to care for her quite quickly which made her deception that much harder for him to accept when it was found out.  I really enjoyed Minerva's intelligence.  She was a much better match for Tor.  I loved the way that she was so amazed at his activities and came to realize how much she loved him.  The exposing of the deception created a very tense situation and the resolution was pretty well done.  Again, I think the story would have been improved by being a bit longer.

Loretta Chase's contribution Lord Lovedon's Duel tells the tale of Chloe Sharp When Chloe hears the handsome Earl of Lovedon say her sister's royal marriage is a match made in money, she challenges him to a duel—for love and honor.

I think this one was my favorite.   When Chloe and her sister hear Lord Lovedon's disparaging remarks, first she  has to calm her sister down.  Once she has done that she goes back to confront him.  I loved the way that she called him on his obnoxious behavior.  She even goes so far as to challenge him to a duel.  Unfortunately she has had a bit too much champagne with predictable results.  I liked the way that he stepped up to help her.  Until she confronted him he hadn't really paid much attention to her but he likes her courage and loyalty to her sister.  They have a rather witty correspondence the next day as they set up their duel.  I loved the actual duel and the way that they then continued their interest in each other.  Even this one would have benefited from a longer length, but it was still good.

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