Thursday, April 25, 2013

REVIEW: "The Lady Most Willing" by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway

The Lady Most Willing...: A Novel in Three Parts
The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway
For Ages 18+
Historical Romance
Avon -- December 26, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Purchased from Amazon

During their annual Christmas pilgrimage to Scotland to visit their aged uncle in his decrepit castle, the Comte de Rocheforte and his cousin, Earl of Oakley, are presented with unique gifts: their uncle has raided an English lord's Christmas party and kidnapped four lovely would-be brides for his heirs to choose from well as one very angry duke, Lord Bretton. As snow isolates the castle, and as hours grow into days, the most honourable intentions give away to temptations as surprising as they are irresistible.

Some said the legendary storm of 1819 that screamed down from the north pushed madness ahead of it.

The Lady Most Willing is another joint effort of three of my favorite historical writers (Quinn, James, and Brockway) to create one full-length novel with three different romances.  Their previous collaboration was enjoyable so I had some decent expectations for this book.  And, thankfully, these ladies accomplished what I wanted them to by, once again, combining their very distinct writing styles into a story that flowed pretty well...though I could easily identify who wrote which section. 

This book was not anything groundbreaking in terms of plot or even characters, but it was still an entertaining way to spend a few nights.  The main problem I had was the utilization of insta-love, but that is one of the main pitfalls of novellas where there just isn't time for the romances to be developed like in full-length stories.  But, I thought all three authors handled that plot point pretty well and tried to help the audience see that these couples would work well together.

This time the ladies were obviously inspired by the plot of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, one of my favorite musicals of all time.  A Scottish landowner named Taran is tired of his nephews, and heirs, refusing to "do their duty" and get married.  So he devises a plan (with the help of some of his clansmen and alcohol) to invade a neighboring castle during a ball and kidnap women for them to choose from.  From there, readers receive three different love stories (and hints of a fourth) set in the backdrop of the aftermath of the kidnapping when a snowstorm strands everyone into Taran's castle.

Our first story was written by Julia Quinn and involved Catriona Burns, a Scottish squire's daughter, and the Duke of Bretton, a lofty British lord.  Both of these characters were kidnapped by Taran's men by mistake which meant they were treated in a different way from the others.  I thought this story was sweet and romantic.  It followed a typical "across the tracks" storyline, but kept things interesting by forcing them into some pretty funny situations during their courtship.  I do wish there had been a bit more spice to go along with the sweetness of the love story, but I appreciated Julia Quinn not throwing these two into bed with each other quickly.

Next, we have Eloisa James's contribution and she concentrated on one of Taran's nephews, the Earl of Oakley, and Fiona Chisolm, the oldest and most scandalous of the sisters that were captured.  This was easily my favorite of the trio.  I love the satirical undertones that Ms. James's brings to her writing and it is in full force with this short, but funny story.  I thought both Fiona and Oakley were intriguing characters who were coming to the table with differing experiences on society's notion of pride and censure.  I especially love it when a stoic, stubborn hero falls head over heels for a woman that logically would be completely wrong for him.  This was just tons of fun to read!

And, finally, readers get to experience the love story between a quiet British lady, Cecily, and Taran's direct heir, the Comte de Rochforte written by Connie Brockway.  This was another sweet story though there were quite a few steamy moments to keep readers on their toes.  I absolutely loved the Rochforte character and wish we could have spent more time on his past and how difficult it was growing up the poverty-stricken son of a disgraced French comte.  I would probably say that this story was the weakest of the three, mostly because I thought this one more than the others had the potential to be a full-length novel and suffered from the short page-length.

All in all, I thought The Lady Most Willing was a nice collaboration between three well-known writers and would probably provide new readers with a great introduction to their styles.  The overall setting was unique and provided as realistic a background as it could with something inspired by Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  I definitely look forward to any future plans these ladies have for writing another "novel in three parts."

***4 STARS***

"I cannot be left alone with that woman," he said, and he felt no remorse at the low desperation in his voice. "Please, if you have any care for your fellow man."
Her lips clamped together in a suspicious line, "I’m not certain what I get out of the equation."
"You mean besides the joy of my delightful company?"
"Yes," she said, with an impressive lack of inflection, "Besides that..."



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! I have this book on my kindle ready to read, but I have hesitated to start it because while I LOVE all of these authors' books, I haven't been as big of a fan of their novellas. I was a bit worried to give this a try, but your review tipped the scale, and I think I'll go ahead and read. :)


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