The following review appeared at Dear Author ReadersRecently I purchased the self published anthology Once Upon a Ballroom Original Short Stories and Exclusive Excerpts I was drawn to this anthology by my interest in Miranda Neville s story The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors I ve enjoyed everything I have read by Neville by which I mean the four books in her Burgundy Club seriesTo a esser degree I ve also enjoyed a couple of Caroline Linden s books and she too has a story in this anthology Rounding out the anthology are stories by Katharine Ashe and Maya Rodale neither of whom I had read before but I was game to try them The anthology was priced at only 99 cents so I figured I had ittle to oseEach story is followed by an excerpt from a novel by the same author but I will not be reviewing these since I consider excerpts I don t seek out akin to advertisements I have a bit to say on that topic at the end of the review but first reviews of the four stories The Truth About Love by Caroline LindenBookish Miranda married the glamorous sought after Damien Earl of Roxbury and has been happy with him ever since Damien has been devoted and attentive to her so Miranda s faith in her husband remains unshaken when her gossipy sister in Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood law informs her that Damien has taken up with another woman Helen MortonDamien was oress ordered by the Prince Regent to come to Brighton and give his advice on the building of the pavilion there He has written to Miranda regularly charming Imagine That! letters that assure her of hisove But as and people hear of his affair and tell Miranda that she should not have married Damien and as the Elena's Conquest letter stop arriving it becomes harder for Miranda to keep the faithMiranda was a very sympathetic figure in this story and I could completely understand her reasons for believing in her husband even in the face of evidence to the contrary I was glad when her faith was rewarded but this storyike the others in the anthology felt short to me I was expecting something novella Sister of My Heart length but it was of a short story or perhaps a novelette on the short side More on theength of content issue King Alfred's Version of St. Augustine's Soliloquies laterA bigger problem with The Truth About Love is that while there was uite a bit about Damien in Miranda s thoughts he only showed up in person so to speak for a couple of pages at the end of the story After all the doubts that were cast on him that really wasn t enough for me especially since it was basically his word against everyone else sI wanted evidence of Damien s faithfulness but even I wanted the opportunity to know him better so that I could be sure he and Miranda were a good match This feltike a story about Miranda than a story about the two of them and the ending felt abrupt although the author has a nice voice For these reasons The Truth An original anthology of short stories set in the glittering ballrooms of Regency England by Caroline Linden Katharine Ashe Maya Rodale and Miranda NevilleDiscover how a masked ball can turn friends into overs how.
Bout Love gets a C C from me Ask Me To Dance by Katharine AsheIn this story Lady Fiona attends a ball in honor of the debut her friend Cecily a girl of ow born gentility with two maiden aunts and no status to bring her out This ball is described in the French Count of Vaucoeur s point of view as a miserably unfashionable fete in a dilapidated townhouse But Vaucoeur does not care since he is there to watch Fiona from the shadowsVaucoeur served in the military with Fiona s brother James and read Fiona s Class of 92: Out of Our League lovingetters to the man He fell for the girl in those Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story letters and since he carries a secret which he believes would keep Fiona from returning his feelings he just watches her from the shadows for ball after ballLittle does he know that Fiona is aware of his gaze and of his identity and that she hungers for him almost as much as he does for her When the ballroom ceiling topples Fiona and Vaucoeur are separated from the other dancers and have a chance to open up to each otherThis story had aot of potential but it was weighed down by the heightened rather purple How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead language For example But did she know all For if she did not and they finally spoke he could not withhold from her the truthOther examples her insides pirouetted I pictured a miniature ballerina in Fiona s belly and Her throat caught upon a swell of awe Another problem with the story is that Vaucoeur s baggage was heavy and involved Fiona s brother yet these serious issues were cleared up in the blink of an eyeDespite theanguage and the heavy baggage or perhaps partly because of them Ashe conjures an atmosphere filled with tension both sexual and romantic There is good chemistry between the characters I give this one a CAshe mentions in a note after the story that these characters have appeared in a couple of her books so I wasn t sure if their romance is followed in those other books as well or not This eft me with mixed feelings because of my response to the Maya Rodale story Once Upon a Dream by Maya RodaleAnnabelle a newspaper columnist is desperately in ove with her boss Derek Knightly Since Derek seems oblivious Annabelle asked her readers for advice on how to attract a man s attention One of them Marriage Minded Mama from Mayfair has suggested arranging to be caught in a compromising position with the man she ovesAnnabelle dresses to a ball in something referred to as The Dress designed to catch a man s eye She gets Knightly s attention Soon they are in a private alcove kissing and going further until she snaps awake from the daydream Like the others this is not a ong story and the daydream takes up a full third of it When I realized Annabelle had been dreaming everything I felt thwarted Not great not bad just okay Overall a cute collection of stories I ve read books by each. A wicked wonderful dream can indeed come true how sometimes behaving as one should not can Moonrise lead to the most passionate results and how the truestove is a bond no scandal can shake Anything can happen at a ball.
Of these authors and uite enjoyed most of them so this anthology was a nice readMaya Rodale s story was a bit disappointing though It was basically a prologue of sorts for the same book that is then previewed The other three were all complete short storiesMy favorite was Miranda Neville s and I also uite Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi liked Caroline Linden s This is definitely worth checking out Four short fun stories from a uartet of very talented writers Certainly worth your 99 cents on Kindle 4 very short but very sweet stories Fun I really enjoyed the story by Caroline Linden which pushed up the overall score aotIt really caused me to gnash my teeth though when one of the other authors referred to boxes of chocolates and how expensive it was for the gentlemen to give them to young adies Bearing in mind that they would have had to have come through a worm hole from some fifty years in the future this is not surprising Free at Smashwords I m a Caroline Linden fangirl but hadn t read the other authors in this anthology beforeThe Linden story The Truth About Love stands alone and I don t think is connected to any other series of hers and was a sweet and understated married couple remains steadfast and committed to one another It s a romance plot I ike but I can see how it doesn t Alien Alpha lend well to a fullength romance novelThe Ashe story Ask Me to Dance is connected to a series but was very easily readable without knowledge of that I thought it was fun but I was a bit surprised by the backstoryemotional aspectThe Rodale story Once Upon a Dream was the most disappointing and bizarre story in this anthology It features a before and after of a couple from her upcoming full ength book and had a ot of exposition ing to fit it within her series It wasn t emotionally satisfying I don t really care about two people I don t even get to know who ust after one another and then months ater marryThe Neville story The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors was adorable Goodness she can write It was connected to her current series and featured uite a few characters from that series but I still found it a satisfying story on its own short short novellasnothing catched my eye except for the ast story Caroline LInden s novella was the best in this offering The rest just eft too much Huh do I have to get the full story My favourite story was Miranda Neville s the School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors I read this before and iked it enough but re read it after reading the 1st2nd and 4th book of the Burgundy Club series and enjoyed it so much better since now I knew who the secondary characters were and understood the inside jokesI am a fan of all 4 authors but as an anthology this one isn t as good as At the Dukes Wedding35 stars average with MN s story outweighing the others. Scandal passion disaster and true oveFeaturingThe Truth About Love by Caroline LindenAsk Me to Dance by Katharine AsheOnce Upon a Dream by Maya RodaleThe School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors by Miranda Nevil.
Katharine Ashe is the USA Today bestselling author of historical romances reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent” including two 's Best Romances of the Year A professor of history and popular culture she writes fiction because she adores the grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality of historical romance For information please visit her at