January 7, 2013
No Shakespeare in sight.
What can I say about The Lady Most Willing? Well, first of all it's an anthology/novella, aka 3 short stories by three of the better romance authors around today. Connie Brockway, Eloisa James, and Julia Quinn all make a contribution to this book. Secondly, while the book is a charming, fast read, there isn't any earth-shattering new ground broken and once you put it down it is easy to forget.
I found all the stories pretty much feel good stories and all rather similar in the telling. And, this time because Eloisa James didn't mention Shakespeare I also had a hard time identifying the authors of each story. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I also didn't prefer one story over the other; I enjoyed all three. Also, the three stories were woven together almost seamlessly and the authors did a wonderful job of creating characters who were able to move from story to story without changing their personalities. I especially enjoyed the obnoxious Uncle Taran Ferguson.
If anyone is familiar with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or Roman/Sabine women mythology/history then you know the plot of this story. Taran kidnaps four women for his two nephews to choose from to marry. Oh, he also accidentally kidnaps the Duke of Bretton who was asleep in the carriage at the time.
All the stories have bits of humor in them, although the first one, by Julia Quinn, seems to have more than the others. Julia Quinn's characters, the Duke of Bretton and plain Catriona Burns, were a great couple. I liked this couple a lot - they also provided me with a few chuckles along the way to their HEA. Some fun dialog.
Eloisa James' story is the second in the book. Her characters are the Earl of Oakley and Fiona. Since I have mentioned Fiona, I also need to mention Marilla. Marilla is Fiona's narcissistic sister and she is sort of the bad girl throughout all three stories. The bad girl with a giant chest. I did notice a slight difference from author to author with the writing of Marilla. Eloisa James' Marilla was a little darker in tone than Julia Quinn's Marilla. Back to the Earl of Oakley and Fiona. Their story was probably the most sensual of the three and, once again it was a quick read.
The last story in the group is by Connie Brockway and is about Lord Rocheforte and quiet Lady Cecila. Lord Rocheforte has a bad boy reputation to overcome and I have a feeling that if the story had been a full-size novel we would have had a "poor me, I'm not good enough" hero to contend with. Thank goodness this was a short story and we didn't have to put up with that nonsense for too long. And, this couple was also adorable.
So, if I had to grade each story separately they would all be in the B's. Overall the entire book was cute. Yes, cute is the word I'd use to describe The Lady Most Willing and if you want a book that will lighten you mood, this one will fit the bill. I was impressed with the way the stories melded together. There was no clear-cut stand-out. And, in the end, I'm not sure that's necessary. This anthology was a clever blending of authors, and although I eventually identified Eloisa James' writing, it was hard work and the other two eluded me.
Time/Place: Regency but Scotland
Sensuality: Warm - Hot - Warm