Sunday, March 04, 2007

The School for Heiresses Anthology

Inspired by New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries's School for Heiresses series, this delightful anthology features four young women who learn that there's nothing textbook about love. .

"It is better not to marry at all than to marry badly."

-- Mrs. Charlotte Harris, headmistress

At the School for Heiresses, the lessons go far beyond etiquette and needlepoint. In addition to teaching her students how to avoid fortune hunters, headmistress and founder Charlotte Harris proposes the radical notion that women of means need not shackle themselves to men at all -- unless they find a suitable, desirable mate. So lessons in the fine art of acquiring a loving and passionate husband are part of the curriculum at this highly unusual school. And as the holidays approach, Mrs. Harris sends her young ladies home with personally tailored lessons to work on. Will they return any closer to finding the perfect husband?

Join this dazzling roster of authors as they put their own spin on the School for Heiresses in four spirited tales of passion!

My dilemma about reading this anthology was one that I mentioned in this post, mainly, how do reading anthologies fitting in with reading series in order!

Four lessons on love from four extraordinary authors!

From Sabrina Jeffries...Look before you leap

When Eliza flees her evil guardian, she unwittingly steals (oops!) a horse from Colin Hunt, a newly minted earl who wants nothing more than to send her home....or to keep her forever.

This novella, Ten Reasons to Stay, fits into the School for Heiresses series after the second book. Now I haven't read the other two books, and I gather that we would learn more about Colin Hunt in particular in at least one of the other books. I didn't feel like I was missing out, although I am sure that that opinion will change once I do actually get to the other books.

I liked the fact that Colin wasn't a cookie-cutter standard romanceland Earl. He had an Indian heritage, something that I don't think I have seen previously. Eliza is caught stealing his horse when she is trying to flee from her uncle who is trying to marry her off in order to pay off a debt, which is something that I have seen before, but it was still well written and entertaining.

From Liz Carlyle...At least pretend to be innocent

After a passionate encounter between Martinique - the daughter of a French courtesan - and the notorious rake Lord St Vrain, there is talk of a proper courtship...though there's nothing proper about either of them!

This novella, called After Midnight, is the introduction for the new series by Liz Carlyle. The first full sized book comes out in July, and I for one cannot wait.

Once again we have a character that is not the norm in historical romances. Martinique is the daughter of a French courtesan. She was adopted into the Neville family when her mother married into the family, and she is now very much treated as one of the family by them, despite the fact that she doesn't always feel as though she is. She is spending the holidays with distant relatives, when she meets Lord St Vrain - a man who is the subject of many rumours!

They are caught in a compromising position when he sneaks into her room, thinking that it belongs to another woman. Martinique is determined to not marry just because of this, as is St Vrain, for reasons that become clear once we find out what it was exactly that he did to deserve his reputation!

Great story from Liz Carlyle, and I cannot wait to read more about the Neville family, in particular the seemingly grim Rothewell.

From Julia London...Don't be naive

Sent to London to attract a match among the ton, Grace finds herself drawn to rugged Barrett Adlaine - an entirely inappropriate mate who will never meet with her father's approval.

I think that this story fits within the Desperate Debutantes series. This novella is called The Merchant's Gift and features Grace Holcomb, daughter of a successful wool merchant, who has been sent to London by her father to find a match amongst the gentlemen of the ton. Unfortunately that is harder than it would seem given the ton's lack of acceptance towards people who's money comes from trade, no matter how rich they are. The other problem is that Grace is extremely attracted to Barrett Adlaine, a well off merchant from Leeds - plenty of money, but definitely not good ton.

I really, really liked Barrett - he was an ordinary man, who had worked hard to get what he had, and knew what it was that he wanted out of life, and that was Grace. Grace, on the other hand, I wasn't quite so keen on. She seemed to be very changeable in terms of what she wanted, but she did almost redeem herself with the end of the story!

Whenever I read Julia London's historicals, it always puzzles me that I don't like them more. I guess I just really prefer her voice in her contemporary novels, which I always really enjoy.

From Renee Bernard....Break free of the gods of mischief.

With her constant mishaps and chaotic ways, Alyssa is no match for Mr Leland Yates, who is ruled by logic and reason - or is she?

Renee Bernard is a new to me author, and this novella titled Mischief's Holiday features Alyssa Martin, a young lady with a penchant for getting herself into sticky situations, going home for the holidays to her family. After getting stuck in the open window of her overturned carriage, she meets her rescuer Leland Yates, a young man who is to Alyssa's great embarrassment a guest of her father for the holidays. She had hoped that she would never have to again see the man who found her with her legs sticking out of the window of the carriage. From there Alyssa struggles from one disaster to another, along the way charming the rather somber Leland.

For the most part, I liked this story, although there was too much slapstick involved for me to actually really enjoy it. Leland was another self made man, and I liked him very much.

I haven't figured out my dilemma about reading anthologies and how that impacts on reading stories in order, but I still enjoyed this. Overall, this was an entertaining anthology, with two really good stories and the other two weren't stinkers, so that has to be a pretty good return on an anthology...right?

I have used the descriptions that are given in the book itself, but I think that the descriptions found on Julia London's website are actually better!

Rating: 4/5


  1. I usually prefer Julia London's contemporary more than I do with her historical. I tried one of her historical but I never finish it. I probably get back to it someday. Her contemporary are more entertaining to me. Espcially the new Thrillerseekers Anonymous books. Have you read that one? I like it, if it it a little preditable :)

  2. I have read both of the Thrillseekers books. Can't wait for the third one, but I don't think that the cover of the new one fits with the other ones in the series.

  3. Agree - and plus the third one is going to be in trade size paperback. Which it something I just don't understand the "why". Julia London did said that it was something her publisher wanted to try...*shrug*

    I can't wait for the third one as well :)

  4. Oh that sucks. I'm not buying it in trade paperback. I want it to match the other two in the series.

  5. I know, so do I. It would look funny if the first two is paperback and the third is trade size paperback. I just don't understand why they don't wait to experince the trade paperback with the new series/trilogy and not the one that is already going *shrug*. But I know authors don't have no say in this and that sad.