Small disclaimer: I just want to say that it's a very mean thing to make Lisa Kleypas the first author you read when you open this book. It just puts a spotlight on all the flaws the other stories might have.
“I Will” by Lisa Kleypas
How can something so amazing be so short? Damn you, Lisa Kleypas for making me an addict to your writing. I don’t know how she does it but in 106 pages she made me fall in love head over heels with both the hero and the heroine. I thought at first I’d be subjected to instalove but no. The relationship was so well developed, all I could do was just let the feels wash over me like so:
I’ve been reading such lackluster novels lately that I legit rejoiced when I finished this story. Hell, I even teared up at one point. Andrew and Caroline were just fantastic. It’s just so good. I would’ve loved seeing this as a full novel but again, I’m quite happy to say Ms. Kleypas does nothing short of magic in such little pages.
"Puddings, Pastries & Thou” by Lisa Cach
I’ve actually read this story last Christmas and I vaguely remembered it. Kinda spells out how memorable it was. The relationship felt completely rushed to say the least. A serious case of instalove. I mean after just a couple of days you feel you’ve found your soulmate?
Come on now.
It just didn't feel like there was any a real development. Their personalities didn’t jump off the page for me. It also felt like the author couldn’t fully develop their quirks. Take Vivian for example. She is anxious eater, yet it didn’t flow properly off the page. Every time I saw it in the narration, it felt completely tacked on. Even slightly unnecessary.
Richard wasn’t anything to write home about. He was just… okay.
“Union” by Claudia Dain
Never read a story quite like this one. There’s a shitload of characters (10 brothers but only 5 in the story! 1 sister! 1 suitor! 1 spinster!) and not a lot of description. I am weak for descriptions so I’m slightly peeved.
Beau and Clarissa’s banter was cute at times and disconcerting in others. I did like how resolute Beau was. He wanted what he wanted.
That end though. It was the definition of tacked on hot mess. All throughout the story we are told Clarissa calls herself Irish. She refuses to marry an Englishman but she must. I understood it was because she was born in Ireland. However, one of her many brothers I can hardly tell apart (except for Dalton) says that she’s English by birth. I got seriously confused. The reasons for her to deny herenglishness?(show spoiler)
I pretty much stopped caring at this point. Add to the fact that the sex scene was awkward at best.
“All I Want” by Lynsay Sands
Prudence is the exact opposite of her name. She’s crazy and will stop at nothing to make sure her father stops gambling his life and the family money away. Stephen is the owner of Ballard’s, a London club that Prudence’s father frequents. He is of the ton like herself but he isn’t welcomed because he actually works for a living.
The schemes to get her dad to stop were ridiculously over the top. Sad to say, because of the brevity of this story, the instalove phenomena was very present.
While the story in itself was sweet, it felt rushed and I couldn’t find myself connecting with the main characters as I would’ve liked. Stephen felt grossly underdeveloped for my taste.