Wednesday 13 April 2022

Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles Collection With Friends - various authors

Authors: Caroline Warfield; Rue Allyn; Mary Lancaster; Jude Knight; Elizabeth Ellen Carter; Alina K Field; Meara Platt; Sherry Ewing; Ella Quinn.


Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon AU

Regency romance / short stories

"The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage. The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven's dear girls a chance at happiness.
When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.
They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.
So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close?"

If you love a meaty Regency romance, this book is not to be missed. It was like sitting by a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night with a platter of divine cheeses and a glass of wine.

Henry Bigglesworth, Earl of Seahaven, was desperate for a son. He was up to wife No. 5 when he popped his mortal coil, leaving 22-year-old Patience as step-mother to nine girls, some of them older than her, plus a baby daughter of her own.

Enter a nasty distant cousin, heir to the title and estate, and his equally avaricious wife. He evicted the family from their gracious, stately home, leaving them very limited income and a totally inadequate trust for the girls’ dowries. Genteel poverty, it was politely called; we might say they were just above the breadline.

The only home available was a simple cottage left to Patience by her parents, but she and the seven older girls had to work to survive. (Oh no! They had to earn money by their own fair hands! But needs must, and no-one was looking.) Her next problem was, how could she ensure these gently-bred girls met suitable husbands when there was NO money for a London season?

Then a letter arrived from York. A kindly cousin was offering the use of her town house during the York season while she went adventuring to Egypt. The adventures and mis-adventures began. 

Diving into this exceptional collection of novellas, each story based on one of the marriageable girls, was an unexpected delight, not because I don’t enjoy Regency romances, but because I rarely read novellas or short stories. The Bluestocking Belles have almost seamlessly woven their individual tales into an integrated tapestry. Their formula works for both lovers of full-length books and readers who enjoy shorter fiction. Each author is an expert in the genre and an accomplished writer. I have only one tiny quibble; Ella Quinn’s story did not blend as smoothly. However, her fans will delight in reconnecting with some of her regular characters as they intertwine with the Seahaven family.

I loved this book, and what great value! A delicious smorgasbord of stories for one small investment! I’m off to grab their other collections.

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Robyn Pearce
 e-version reviewed

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