My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
MUCH ADO ABOUT DANCING by Heidi Ashworth. Two years have passed since Lord Northrup declared his intentions for Miss Analisa Lloyd-Jones and forbade any other man to court her. Angry at the neglect, Analisa stopped reading his letters, never even breaking the seals. Tired of waiting, Analisa joins the house party at Mrs. Smith’s famous country home, determined to find a beau. When Lord Northrup unexpectedly joins the party, Analisa discovers she is no longer repulsed by the man who first laid claim to her hand.
SWEETER THAN ANY DREAM by Annette Lyon. Olivia Wallington is firmly established as a spinster, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the perfect man. Ever since her father’s death, Olivia has been forced into seclusion by her mother. When her brother and his wife come for a visit, they discover the extent to which she lives under their mother’s thumb. With their help, Olivia sneaks out to attend a local ball, where she meets Edward Blakemoore. For a few divine moments, all of her dreams seem possible. But even someone like Mr. Blakemoore would be hard pressed to get past Mrs. Wallington’s fortress of protection—or past Olivia’s pride.
AN INVITATION TO DANCE by Michele Paige Holmes. Lady Ella has been isolated on her father’s estate since her mother’s death as her father travels the world. When Alex Darling arrives with a letter from her long-dead fiancé, and a demand that she travel to London for a series of engagements, Ella thinks her father instigated the strange demands and agrees. In London, she discovers the truth behind her fiancé’s death, and that new love might be possible in the arms of the most unexpected man.
This is a wonderful compilation of novellas that involve a winter ball in the setting. In each story the event propels the plot forward and serves as a catalyst for change in the relationship between the main characters. There's something special and almost magical about the energy of a dance that is so looked forward to, especially in those times. I enjoyed all the stories and felt drawn into the conflict and resolution each presented. The first story was a bit choppy, but I really liked the premise of the long absent fiancè making a sudden reappearance in Analisa's life. Daydreaming Olivia from the second story was easy to relate to with her imagination, but I could never have the patience she did with her abusive relatives! I loved the adventurous spirit of Ella in the last story and the hesitant relationship with her former fiancé’s grumpy friend. This is a collection I will be re-reading for sure!
(Thank you to Ebooks For Review for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)