What I Read This Weekend . . .A Winter Kiss by Lynn Collum, Jo Ann Ferguson and Isobel Linton -- Regency Romances
The first story is "A Winter Courtship" by Lynn Collum. Lord Major Marcus Grey, Earl Crandall receives a surprise visit from a late friend's sister, Miss Pamela Reed, who is fleeing an unwanted marriage to her cousin. Not knowing what to do with her, his friend Sir Norton Stickey volunteers his sister, a respectable widow, as chaperone. Mrs. Alison Prescott is happy to help a young lady in distress. She fell prey to a man's charm and found herself trapped in a horrible marriage. She refuses to allow another to make the same mistake. She agrees to take Pamela to Scotland to stay with Pamela and Norton's grandmother until Marcus can sort out the problem of Pamela's relatives. Lord Crandall finds himself increasingly attracted to Alison but she is reluctant to let him get close. Her companion, sensing romance in the air, has her own motives for not wanting a match suggests Pamela . Sir Norton finds himself trying to protect Pamela from making a marriage of convenience. Will they untangle the love knots and thaw Alison's icy heart?
This is a road trip novella which is always different and fun. The story is a little dark but there are lots of funny moments, especially involving animals and Pamela. Pamela is the comic relief of the story. The romance is sweet. There are kisses and a tiny bit of sensuality. The romance begins with love at first sight but develops into more. The plot was predictable but I liked it. I liked Alison and felt sorry for her. At first I didn't like Pamela but she was so artless, she was charming. The men aren't developed super well but Sir Norton is a typical sidekick. Major Grey/Lord Crandall is an amazing hero. He's practically Lord Perfect. He's a war hero, a nice guy and romantic. What more could a girl want? I would have liked this story developed into a longer story to really get a feel for who he really is. This is my favorite of the three stories.
In "The Winter Heart" by Jo Ann Ferguson, Joyce Stuart is forced by her aunt to play host to a young teenage boy, Charles Everett, whose parents have gone to France. Upon returning home with the boy, she discovers another unexpected guest, Geoffrey Wilcox, Lord Dartmouth (along with his bird and cat). Geoffrey is entirely unexpected in more ways than one: he's a rattle and an adventurer. He manages to make young Charles happy but Joyce is not amused by his antics. Joyce is a respectable lady, done with having adventures. She's had enough adventure to last a lifetime and not interested in more. Geoffrey makes a point of trying to get her to share in his adventures and Joyce finds herself wanting to give in.
This is a story of opposites attract. The plot is strange. At first the romance is based on physical attraction. They get to know each other's personalities but never fully open up so the romance remains a little superficial. The ending is kind of cute though. The romance is clean but not exactly kisses only. There's kissing not on the lips and some sensuality. The plot also contains some element of danger. I absolutely did not like Geoffrey. I hate man-child men. It's a personal thing and some may find Geoffrey charming. To me, he's just immature and not hero worthy. I liked Joyce and could relate to her. Napoleon is the best character but he doesn't have enough dialogue. He's very funny when he does speak. The story may be a companion to another story because there's a lot of back story that isn't explained fully. I was also confused by the characters. Is Oliver her brother or brother-in-law or step-brother? If he's her brother-in-law, she shouldn't call him by his first name. It's confusing. There's too much period slang. I couldn't understand what half the words were. They're not in the Georgette Heyer dictionary. They're randomly tossed in and even Joyce uses and understands slang which seems out of character for her. This wasn't my favorite story. It could have been a little better.
The last story, "The Winter Wager" by Isobel Linton, begins with a wager. Sir Philip Lansdowne loses a "Favor or Fifty" wager to Lord Adrian Hensley at the Raffles Club. Hensley demands a favor. He lost his heart to Lady Davina Hampton and she rejected him. His heart is broken and he desires revenge. He proposes that Sir Philip make Lady Davina fall in love with him and then break her heart. It should be an easy task, after all Sir Philip is a notorious heartbreaker. Many ladies have gone into a decline from love for Sir Philip. When he meets Lady Davina, he fears he may have met his match at last. He's a man or honor. How can he go back on his wager and find happiness?
This story starts out with a despicable wager. I hated the premise. Then the meet cute was so wonderful, I thought I would love this story. Lady Davina is intelligent and witty. She doesn't like Byron and thinks the ladies who do make much ado over nothing. She exchanges witty dialogue with Sir Philip the first time they meet. Then the author does too much telling and Lady Davina does an about face. She turns into a lovesick watering pot. She is no better than the other ladies she thinks poorly of. I hated her after that. It seemed like she would improve and go back to her normal self. I also expected a dramatic turn but the story doesn't live up to it's promise. It would have worked better as a full length novel. The plot turns into something from a melodramatic romance novel that Davina likes to read. She forgives Sir Philip way too easily. I wouldn't have given in so easily. Sir Philip is not an admirable hero. He could have had potential if he had met his equal in Lady Davina but as he stands in the story, I just didn't like him. Lord Adrian is crazy. He's just as bad as the lovesick ladies but also dangerous. The right thing for Sir Philip to do is to get Lord Adrian's brother to send him to the country to recover. I found him very creepy. The romance doesn't develop nicely with too much telling. There's some subtle sensuality and a scene that might have been "fade to black" but from the dialogue following, I guess it was just kissing. I liked this story least of the three. It failed to live up to potential.