Sunday, March 6, 2011

It Happened One Season- Anthology

We asked our readers what story they would most like to see from four bestselling authors. They responded . . .
A handsome hero returns from war, battle-scarred and world-weary. But family duty calls and he must find a bride.
A young lady facing yet another season without a suitor never expects to find herself the object of his affections.
It Happened One Season
Four amazing talents

Stephanie Laurens Mary Balogh Jacquie D'Alessandro and Candice Hern
have come together to create one of the most unforgettable events of the year. The results are spectacular—each story is as unique as a lover's first kiss. (Synopsis from Barnes & Noble. com)

It happened one Season is an anthology of stories from four historical romance writers. The basic premise for all of the stories is the same. All of the hero’s are second sons and heirs, their older brothers have only daughters, and there can be no more children.  The younger son’s must all go on the marriage mart and marry quickly to ensure the succession away from an unworthy relative.  It could have been a boring book but all four authors came through with a unique spin on the story that made it enjoyable to read.
The first story is The Seduction of Sebastian Trantor by Stephanie Laurens.  Sebastian, who was a code reader in the army, is taking a respite from a crowded ballroom. Into the study where he sits, sneaks in Miss Tabitha Makepeace. She is looking for information about a blackmailer who is threatening two of her friends and wonders aloud about a sequence of letters she finds. When Sebastian speaks up and states that it is a code, the relationship begins. In order to work together, they must become engaged in order to spend time together.
The second story is Only Love by Mary Balogh. Widow Cleo Pritchard believes her future is set with no happy marriage in sight and a life of being alone and unloved. Major Jack Gilchrist has been charged by his older brother to find a wife. Both had met before during the wars and never forgot each other.  It seems the perfect solution to get married, but she has doubts about her ability to conceive after five years in a childless marriage.  She proposes that they get engaged but call it off if she cannot prove her ability to have a child.
In  Hope Springs Eternal by Jacquie D’Alessandro, Alex Trentwell has taken a secret caretaker role with Miss Penelope Markham after the death of her brother under his command.  After she loses her governess position due to the discovery of a scandalous art work she made, he makes a point of finding her and trying to help.  Her reputation precludes any other offers of a position. His guilt over the circumstances of her brother’s death prods him to offer marriage. 
The final story is Fate Strikes a Bargain by Candice Hern. Nathanial Beckwith has been told by his older brother that he must take a bride and have children to secure the inheritance. At a ton event he meets Phillippa Reynolds a young lady with a noticeable limp. Despite her physical difficulties she is a charming young lady and Nathanial decides to propose to her. She is anxious to live a full life in spite of her family smothering her with concern.  He is having a hard time getting used to civilian life and has residual issues due to his wartime experiences.
All of the novellas work together. The book was a good read with each story offering something different. The plot device works in all of the stories without being stale. There wasn’t a weak offering in any of the four parts. I have long been a fan of Stephanie Laurens and Mary Balogh. I own all of their books. I am new to Jacquie D’Alessandro and Candice Hern.  The great thing about an anthology is that it gives you a chance to read a new author.  I am adding two new ones to my must read list.  Thanks to Netgalley for the advance eBook.
Library note: This  book will be available at RPL after 4-1-11. Books by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, and Jacquie D'Alessandro may be checked out now.

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