July 10, 2013
Novella: a fictional prose narrative that is longer and more complex than a short story; a short novel.
At the Duke’s Wedding is a compilation of four short stories/novellas by Maya Rodale,
The first story in the batch was That Rogue Jack by Maya Rodale. Jack was the typical cardboard romance rake, who only seems to like his yellow-wheeled phaeton. He’s an irresponsible rascal who for some reason has been given the job of picking up the wedding ring - the family heirloom wedding ring. Why the groom didn’t do this, I don’t know. Needless to say, the ring comes up missing. Jack’s heroine is Henrietta, the staid companion of the standard romance old-woman-who-says-snarky-things-and-everybody-loves. Jack also pulled Henrietta’s hair when they were young; now he just wants to pull other things. This story was all over the place – wagers – sex – misunderstandings – drinking – sex. It was a basic Regency romance story, nothing special, and a couple I didn’t care for.
P.S. I Love You by Miranda Neville was the retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. Why Ms. Neville chose one of my least favorite pieces of classical literature is beyond me. She must not have received my memo. There are no honorable men in Cyrano and there are none in Ms. Neville’s version. I wish just once, the heroine in this story would catch on to these two guys right away. Anyway, unlike Cyrano – the ugly guy gets the girl. He’s doesn’t have a big nose, but he does have a hero scar. And, we get to have more gratuitous sex.
When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden may have been my favorite story in the book. This couple didn’t deliberately set out to hurt anyone. The tale is about the Duke of Wessex, who is engaged to the nice quiet sister, but falls in love with the outspoken-hated-by-her-parents older sister. In this story we have some really nice people who try to do what is best – try to resist temptation but eventually fail. (Thank goodness they didn’t hop into bed with each other until after the engagement was broken.)
How Angela Got Her Rogue Back by Katharine Ashe is a time-travel story. Angela is zapped back in time and ends up at the Duke’s wedding being saved by Lord Trenton Ascot. Lord Ascot, by the way, has been appearing to Angela in visions saying things like, “come back to me.” There is a mystery that only she can solve, the dilemma being that when she solves the mystery she will be returned to her time period and never more be with her soul mate, Lord Ascot. Actually, I would have enjoyed this story more if it had been longer.
Overall, the stories are sweet, but nothing exciting or new. Most of the main characters lacked chemistry, which made the sex seem out of place. Only one couple from When I Met My Duchess had any spark. Even though this book was 963 Nook pages, it had a rushed feel about it. I like the idea of four authors writing about the same event from various perspectives. I just wish there had been more substance in this really big book.
Time/Place: Regency England