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Review: Royal Weddings, Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, and Loretta Chase

royal weddingsIn celebration of the Royal Wedding coming up later this month, Avon commissioned this romance anthology from three of the genre’s best authors. Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, and Loretta Chase are all household names in the romance world. Each of these stories revolves around a royal wedding but has the characters finding a bit of love themselves along the way (naturally!).

The first one is “The Wedding Planner” by Stephanie Laurens. In it, Lady Margaret Dawlish is called upon to plan a royal wedding; with her exceptional planning skills, surely such a big event is well within her grasp. Throwing a wrench in her neat plans is the new Duc de Perigord, a man she’d met years ago while still engaged. Now, Meg’s fiance has been killed in the line of duty and Gaston has come to seize her heart for himself.

I quite liked this story; it’s the longest in the book but still very short. Gaston has a few obstacles in his way to winning Meg over finally which make for an engaging read, plus I liked that Meg had a sort of career of her own. It’s a bit rarer in historical novels to find a woman who is actually busy doing something other than waiting for a husband – and she’s good at her job, too. It’s probably not the most memorable story I’ve ever read but was lovely nonetheless.

The second story is “Ever After” by Gaelen Foley. Surprisingly, given my recent history with Gaelen Foley’s novels, I loved this one. It’s about a husband and wife who have grown apart over the years. Eleanor feels that her husband always puts his work first and has recently become convinced that he’s acquired a mistress, while he struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and is perplexed at his wife’s coldness. It was so sweet to watch these two come back to loving one another after an obviously painful separation for both of them and it did a stand-out job of portraying the way misunderstandings can mushroom in a marriage. I really felt like Foley got some of her passionate storytelling back with this novella and I can only hope it comes back to her novels soon, too.

The final story, and my favorite, is “The Jilting of Lord Rothwick” by Loretta Chase. In this very short tale, heiress Barbara has decided that she and her fiance, Lord Rothwick, simply won’t suit, and writes him a letter to that effect. Inspired by the imminent loving nuptials between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Barbara craves a loving relationship and is convinced that Rothwick is only marrying her for her money. But Rothwick has simply been behaving as society expects him to; in reality, he’s head over heels in love.

Much like the last story, this is about a misunderstanding that has completely magnified; it’s obviously an overused trick but here it is also done very well. I have to admit that this story captured me with the sheer romantic appeal of it; the characters’ personalities and emotions just leapt off the page and into my head. Chase has the perfect opportunity to really work this situation and she does a fantastic job – further proof that I should be reading more of her novels. Luckily, I have three in my possession and I suspect it will not be long before I read them now!

This is a lovely anthology celebrating the upcoming royal wedding. If you’re craving a bit of romance, it’s ideal, and at the bargain basement prices of $1.99 and £0.49, there is no reason to resist!

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free for review from Netgalley.

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