Where's My Hero, by Kleypas, MacGregor and Quinn

>> Friday, March 12, 2004

I've been very lazy lately. I finished the Where's My Hero? anthology on Monday, and only now do I get around to posting about it :-)

The first story was by Lisa Kleypas, titled AGAINST THE ODDS. This one's related to Dreaming of You (the heroine is the daughter of the protagonists of that one) and to Someone to Watch Over Me (the hero was the yummy doctor who attended the heroine).

Lydia Craven is a beautiful, absent-minded but brilliant mathematician newly betrothed to a handsome, sweet, understanding man. Unfortunately, she doesn't love him. Jake Linley (Someone to Watch Over Me) is a doctor who has been in love with Lydia for longer than he is comfortable with and cannot stand idly by while she makes an enormous mistake in marrying for companionship instead of adoration. When fate lends a helping hand, he eagerly takes advantage of the situation and passionately attempts to convince her of his argument... (blurbs from: Curled Up With a Good Book)
This was one of those stories which should have been a whole novel, or at least a longer novella. At under 100 pages, it felt much to crammed and hurried. It's a testament to Kleypas' talent that she was able to create some poignant moments and made me care enough about the characters to find the love scene steamy. Oh, I would have loved for it to be longer!

Especially irritating, given the fact that the story was already short, was the pages and pages devoted to Derek and Sara, from Dreaming of You. Maybe it's just that though I liked their story, I wasn't bowled over by it, but I could have done without the distraction.

My grade: a B-, verging on a C+, but not quite.

The second story was my least favourite: MIDSUMMER'S KNIGHT, by Kinley MacGregor

Lady Kenna McRyan is not a typical romance heroine. She isn't beautiful, she isn’t tall, she isn't thin. But she is everything Simon of Ravenswood (Born in Sin and Master of Desire) has ever dreamed of. She is equally besotted with him, but because he is writing as his close friend Stryder of Blackmoor, Kenna is convinced it is Stryder she loves. It doesn't take her long to realize that Simon is the sweet, sensitive man she has spent so long corresponding with.
Now, I haven't read Master of Desire but I did read Born in Sin pretty recently and no, it didn't really help me understand this story. I finally did understand a little about the group these men had, but I would have appreciated a little more consideration for readers new to this author.

As for the story itself, so many things happened here that it was hard to get excited about them, because I never really got to know the protagonists. A C.

The third entry, by Julia Quinn, titled A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, was one of the best novellas I've ever read, if not THE best.

Ned Blydon (Splendid, Dancing at Midnight and Minx) is about to marry the wrong woman. In fact, even if he didn't know who the right woman was, Lydia Thornton would still and always be the wrong woman. But he does know. It's her sister, Charlotte. She is certainly intrigued by the dashing lord, but her loyalty to her sister is a constant nagging noise in her head. When Lydia reveals her intention to elope with someone other than Ned, Charlotte suddenly realizes that a future of love and laughter with the man of her dreams is a very real possibility.
Oh, this was a beautiful story. I wouldn't change even a letter of it. I suppose it helped that it was a bit longer than the other 2, and that the author kept the references to characters from Splendid and Dancing at Midnight to the minimum, so as not to overcrowd the story, but that doesn't explain why it was so much better than the other entries.

The characters were real, likeable, and just perfect for each other. Their interactions were full of emotion and poignancy, and the plot was one I really liked. Plus, it was written in Julia Quinn's wonderful style.

I don't want to rave too much *g*, but this story was easily worth the price of the book. An A+.

In spite of the first 2 stories being mediocre, the third one was so good that I'll give the entire anthology a B+.


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