Three Weddings and a Murder by Tessa Dare, Leigh Lavalle, Courtney Milan, and Carey Baldwin
Reviewed by May
So often anthologies feel like promotions for the authors other books, or just a teaser to get you interested in a current series. This anthology was a rare treat – all four stories within felt like complete stories, and stood alone beautifully. Each was a solid, well written story. The profits from this collection go to a great cause as well- I recommend buying it and enjoying some short summer reads.
Each story has a dead person that factors into the plot in some way, and each is a romance story as well. The first three stories are very straight forward historical romances, the fourth is a contemporary romantic suspense. I did not realize was the case this while reading and it took a few minutes of adjustment for me to get into that last story.
I ended up grading each story within the anthology "B". I liked that each was strong and held its own weight within the anthology, and that there was not one weak story. I will now talk about the individual novellas:
The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright
By Tessa Dare
“I’m not a child,” Eliza argued with the closed double doors. “I’m a grown woman. With accomplishments and bosoms and everything.”
Eliza and Mr. J Harrison Wright meet one night in the morning room of her home while he awaits a lady friend, and she tries to sneak peeks at the festivities. She is not allowed out in society, won’t get her debut until all her other sisters are married off because her parents believe at the first available chance she will fall into scandal and ruin the chances for her sisters.
Over the next few years Eliza and Mr. Wright meet, verbally spar, kiss, and fall in love. I really loved the development of their relationship, and the glimpses into their encounters. I just wasn’t entirely convinced of more than mutual love of adventure and lust for one another, despite the years that this story spans.
The Misbehaving Marquess
By Leigh Lavalle
On every piece of land he’d visited, no matter how breathtakingly beautiful, he’d missed the rolling hills and familiar hearths of his childhood home.
Catherine Meredith Carthwick Raybourne, Marchioness of Forester, and woman who has singlehandedly run her estate for five years now is stunned speechless to find Jamie, her estranged husband, home in their library. No warning, no notice, as if he’d never been gone at all. He had not written once, and in fact would not allow the family solicitor to divulge his location or activities.
The Marquess of Forester has been in a snit for five years because he believed his wife made him look like a cuckold. He knew she did not cheat on him, but he was so upset over the scandal that he left without a word, only coming back because he now needs an heir.
This was a really good story, and I really liked the reunited spouse story as well as how Catherine has come into her own and stands up to her husband. What I didn’t like is the premise that he’s been gone five years on little more than a stubborn, selfish snit. That didn’t sit well with me, and I didn’t like Jamie as a leading man which hurt my overall enjoyment of the story.
The Lady Always Wins
By Courtney Milan
“I suppose I must gird myself to suffer through an orgasm for the sake of revenge.”
“Faugh.” Simon traced a sinuous line down her belly. “Who said you’d only have the one?”
Simon and Ginny were childhood friends, and as they grew up they also developed a deep love for one another. Verbally sparring and challenging one another constantly, always pushing. Their relationship is one that only they truly understand – and one that was broken apart seven years ago when Simon demanded that Ginny marry him despite his parent’s promise to disown him if he did.
Ginny has a deep fear, a terror really, of being poor. She rejected Simon, married a wealthy older man, and the pair has not seen each other since. Our story begins after her husband has passed away and Simon returns, determined to win his lady love back.
It’s a good story, but it is also the first Milan story I’ve read that did not wow me completely. I really liked the ending, but found myself uninterested and rather bored during some other parts.
By Carey Baldwin
“You’re not the girl next door anymore, Anna. You’re the hot librarian.”
Anna and Charlie knew each other as teenagers, but after his ex-girlfriend killed herself Charlie left town and never looked back – leaving Anna broken hearted and in love with him. Set in modern day Texas, this is the story of their reunion about twelve years later – as well as how the pair solves a mystery. When Anna’s friend and her baby seem to run away, they do what they can to help her and figure out what is going on in this small town.
Baldwin does a great job of building a suspenseful story here, but I couldn’t understand or believe the romance part. They have a lot of baggage, and I never really felt like I got enough explanation or was shown enough reason as to why these two are meant for one another. Likewise with all of the action going on in such a short story, there just wasn’t a lot of room for romance.
My grade for this anthology is also the same for my grade for each novella within it. I recommend it for good reading this summer.
Note: All proceeds from this anthology go to Avon Walk For Breast Cancer. You can read more at Tessa Dare’s site.