Overall a 4. I didn’t feel it was as strong as The Last Chance Christmas Ball (an anthology with the same authors), but I gave it the same number of stars because it did have several strong stories in it. One of the main differences between this and The Last Chance Christmas Ball is that these stories in no way connect and all stand alone, whereas in TLCCB, all the stories connected not only in location and event, but also in cross-referencing characters within stories. Below is the critique for each story. The top story was, hands down, by Gracie.
Putney--3 stars. I expected more from a headlining author. While the plot was interesting, there honestly wasn’t much of a story. This felt like a single scene in a 400 pg novel rather than a full story with an arc. The hero illogically leapt from reclusive and cold to friendly and chatty in a matter of a few pages. The heroine didn't do much in the story except listen to the hero reminisce. I never got a feel for either character. Everything felt flat, as though this were a rough brainstorm for a potential story rather than the final story.
Beverly--5 stars. This is written only from the heroine's perspective, which added a bit of mystery to the hero. The heroine's character was rich with depth. The writing style fit her personality, which was clever. The plot was funny and strewn with anticipation. My only complaint is that I never got a sense of the hero. His personality was flat, and he felt more like an on-scene extra than the hero. The final scene did give him personality, but by then, the game was won, so too little, too late.
Bourne—1.5 stars. This story felt like an excerpt of a longer work, and not in a good way. Instead of building intrigue at the beginning, the reader was tossed into total confusion as if reading a book from the middle onward. Parts of it felt a bit like the old Clue movie with Tim Curry, especially when they were gathered around the burned objects, moving one by one through the people in the inn to figure out their backstory in hopes to discover the culprit. There was little to no romance, the whole story focused on finding a mystery villain. There was no spark between the hero and heroine, and it wasn't even clear the hero was meant to be a romantic interest. No real sense of it being historical. There wasn't much of a plot to begin with, but the ending offered no resolution--the spy got away, and the hero was in the process of making arrangements for the chase but pauses to confess love for the heroine. End story.
Rice--5 stars. Given her story in The Last Chance Christmas Ball also included a head injury, I’m curious if this is a plot preference in her books. I didn't care much for her short story in TLCCB, but this one won me over. 5 stars for sure. The mistaken identity and reasons for a button-lipped heroine were comical and reasonable. The hero was interesting with a fully-fleshed out personality. The story line followed a traditional arc including the climactic crisis where we think the woman won't get her man. I love the way the heroine handles the moment of crisis, building more depth to her. The fact that the hero has to then win her over is even better. Beautifully done story arc. Would love for this to have been a full-length novel. My only complaint with the story was the hero never showed romantic interest in the heroine, rather he seemed only to want a glorified babysitter. His whole attraction was based on her interest and ability to care for children. I would have liked to see this as his initial interest in her, and then watch it blossom into love.
Cornick--5 stars. Immersive description. Love the plot. Well thought out with a rich backstory. Would make a great novel but well done as a short story. The hero’s character acted and spoke true to his character build from beginning to end, and the story revealed his development and maturity over time. I love the climactic conflict and how it fits the historical mores of the time. Too many authors sweep under the rug the reality of the time for the convenience of a HEA, not dealing with how it would have or could have really worked or not worked during the time period. This story handles that beautifully. Kudos to this author! My only complaint was the heroine’s inconsistency in why she resisted the hero. If it had just been better explained in her pov sections, that would have been great, but she oscillated in her reasons for resistance, sometimes knowing he was attracted to her, sometimes not knowing he was attracted her. Enough to cause whiplash. What could have been stronger established is that she did not trust him to be sincere in his attraction, maybe thinking him a rake in want of used goods, eager to use her and leave, or that even if he was interest she was too afraid of being burned twice she didn't care if he was sincere, something... anything… to make more sense of her resistance. As it was, her thoughts were inconsistent. She does explain to him her resistance in the end, but even her explanation doesn’t fit her own thoughts throughout the story. The heroine was my only contention with the tale.
Elliott--1 star. This story was a waste of pages. There was no plot, a wimpy and personality-less hero who may or may not have been English, and a butch and vulgar heroine who may or may not have been American. The majority of the story read like a Navy dictionary rather than a romance. So, let’s break down this mess: (a) The heroine had a foul mouth for the time period, cursing constantly at the hero. The words, of course, wouldn't be seen as curse words to today's standards, but her language was EXTREMELY foul for that time period. (b) The hero was a useless fop. (c) The descriptions were random and as useless as the hero. While there were random scene descriptions, nothing was described to create a visual. For instance, there would be a paragraph of info about the sea splashing, but no description of the boat, the hero or heroine, the scene itself, just some purple prose of the water, exaggerated in phrasing in an attempt to sound poetic without achieving immersive imagery. I couldn't visualize anything that was happening without having a navy term website in front of me, and even then, what was the point of knowing which rope or sail or whatever was being pulled? (d) The plot was nonexistent with a series of random events. It seemed like there was a rich backstory buried somewhere, but never was any of it explained to the reader or built into the story. (e) The heroine seemed only to be able to talk in sailor terms, which not only was annoying but alienated the hero from helping her even when she was asking him for help. Anyone of sense who realized he didn't understand boat terminology would have spoken in layman terms so he could help. I started skimming when all the heroine could do was shout curse words and navy terms. (f) The whole story felt like a foppish Englishman stuck on a boat with a gruff American navy sailor. Rename the heroine Sam instead of Sophie and the story would make more sense. (g) Never was a romance built. (h) After a series of one misadventure after another, enough to cause whiplash, the story ends abruptly. It had seemed there might be a plot somewhere but it never did become clear and became muddled with each page. As far as I could tell, there was no plot, just a series of high-seas shenanigans with a wimpy man and a butch woman. Just a story of gibberish. As one reviewer said, this was a complete waste of pages. Given the author's story in TLCCB was also a waste of pages, I’d HIGHLY recommend the “word wrenches” uninvite her future contributions. I will certainly be skipping all her stories in anthologies.
Gracie--5 stars. Wow. That's what I have to say about that. Wow. I actually forgot I was reading a short story I was so enthralled. Brilliant plot, writing, character development, the works. Hands down the best story in this anthology.
King--3 stars. The plot was good and would have earned a 4 or possibly a 5 star, but every time it turned to the heroine's pov, the narrative became muddled, and the ending was abrupt without a resolution. The hero's sections were great, though, and he was an appealing hero that I would have enjoyed spending more page time with in a longer book. The plot was also interesting with a rich backstory and history. Hero and plot are 5 stars, but the ending and heroine ruined the story for me, so 3 stars it is. The ending felt as though an entire chapter had been deleted. I have no idea if they had a HEA because it ended before anything at all was decided. With a bit of editing, this could have been a 5, but it was unfinished, especially during the heroine’s pov where her thoughts would jump so much from the present to the past to the present of other characters to the past of other characters, etc, that my head spun as to who was who and when was what.
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 142013194X
- 条形码: 9781420131949
- 商品尺寸: 11 x 2.9 x 17.3 cm
- 商品重量: 113 g
- ASIN: 142013194X
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