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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review: The Wedding of the Century & Other Stories

Book cover of The Wedding of the Century & Other Stories Harlequin romance anthology
Romance anthologies have their advantages and disadvantages.  The novellas are generally short – often a little over 100 pages – so they can be read quickly if you’re short on reading time.  They’re also great because popular authors use them as a vehicle to republish their backlist and new authors get a chance to show off their stuff.  On the other hand, the abbreviated length of these novellas often doesn’t contain the emotional punch and character development of a full-length book.

The Wedding of the Century & Other Stories, HQN's (Harlequin) most recent anthology of historical romances, definitely reflects all of the above.  Star authors Mary Jo Putney and Kristin James (pseudonym for Candace Camp) are featured alongside newcomer Charlotte Featherstone.

  • The Wedding of the Century by Mary Jo Putney (originally published 1994) – This Gilded Age story was my favorite story in the book.  New York heiress Sunny Vangelder is wedded to Justin, Duke of Thornborough, in a marriage of convenience: She gains a title and he replenishes his estate’s coffers.  Most of the story focuses on Justin and Sunny’s attempts to make their arranged marriage work. 
  • Jesse’s Wife by Kristin James (originally published 1994) – I usually love Westerns, but this one just didn’t do it for me – I didn’t think the hero and heroine and had any chemistry together.  When a traveling ne’er-do-well compromises Amy McAlistair, her future seems completely ruined.  Her father’s employee Jesse Tyler steps in with an offer of marriage, though, and saves Amy’s reputation.  Again, this is a marriage of convenience story, and I liked that Jesse was in love with Amy long before their wedding took place, but I couldn’t really get into it.
  • Seduced by Starlight by Charlotte Featherstone (published 2011) – Blossom is the only daughter of the Duke of Torrington, and she’s been betrothed to the son of a neighboring landowner since both were children.  When Samuel elopes with someone else, though, Blossom is left to deal with the consequences.  Enter Samuel’s older brother, Jase, who’s always had a thing for Blossom but obviously could never act on it.  I didn’t love this story – the characters were a bit too self-centered and eccentric for me to really care about – but Featherstone intrigues me and I’m eager to read her other published works.
The Wedding of the Century & Other Stories wasn’t my favorite romance anthology, but it’s a decent and varied collection.  If you’re looking for a fantastic collection of romantic stories, try It Happened One Night, featuring novellas by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandro and Candice Hern.

Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
Length: 384 pages

Romance novel book reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm (The Wedding of The Century and Other Stories)

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.

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Romance novel book review