Publish Date: December 26, 2012
How I got this book: eARC from publisher
Step into the glittering world of Regency and prepare to have your hearts warmed by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway…
During their annual Christmas pilgrimage to Scotland to visit their aged uncle in his decrepit castle, the Comte de Rocheforte and his cousin, Earl of Oakley, are presented with unique gifts: their uncle has raided an English lord’s Christmas party and kidnapped four lovely would-be brides for his heirs to choose from…as well as one very angry duke, Lord Bretton. As snow isolates the castle, and as hours grow into days, the most honorable intentions give away to temptations as surprising as they are irresistible.
*blurb from Goodreads
When I was a little girl, we didn’t have much. We spent a lot of time in the library. The idea that there were books and other forms of entertainment available just for the asking made every trip to the library feel like Christmas. The library, its doors open and inviting, was always warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We would take our stacks of books and records home to compare, swap, and share. One of our favorite pastimes was listening to audio recordings of musicals. Camelot. Oklahoma. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Over and over and over. To this day, these musicals hold a warm fuzzy place in my memory. So, as I began this book and quickly realized I was about to embark on a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers inspired story, it instantly put me in a happy place. I knew I would be entering into a slightly surreal story of enchantment, so I expected a story that didn’t take itself too seriously. I poured a glass (or two or three) of Vegan N’egg Nog and settled in.
The Lady Most Willing… definitely captured the flavor of Seven Brides: similar set-up, witty dialogue, fun characters (and caricatures) and a fairy tale-esque setting in which strangers who would likely never have met, find love while holed-up in a castle cut-off from the world. It is a delightful story of love-at-first-sight (or at least love-at-first-meaningful-conversation) told in three distinct parts. This is not an anthology in its traditional sense as it is written as a complete novel. Each of the three parts is its own novella with a complete romance, but the overall story is built upon successive events. This is the second collaborative novel for Quinn, James and Brockway. Two years ago, they released The Lady Most Likely….
I think the authors did a great job of blending their voices, even if I could tell a difference in writing style as I went through each romance. However, I think the genius in how this novel was put together was that the writing style first and foremost seemed to match the couple in question. So, while I enjoyed the first part the most, some of that had to do with the fact that the particular couple in question had a sense of humor and that played into the narrative making for witty dialogue and amusing scenes. The couple in the second part of the story were a bit more subdued and yet revealed themselves to be more than what others thought them to be. And the same held true for the third part where the characters highlighted in that romance were a bit more angst ridden and therefore needed more coaxing and well, more angsting. Even the castle took on a personality. I liked the juxtaposition between the decrepitude of the drafty, icy-cold castle and the blooming of new love within its walls. To say who ended up with whom would spoil a bit of the fun;-)
It was a solid read and a fun romp with some good writing and storytelling that had the air of enchantment and an HEA for all. While Christmas as a theme does not really play into the story, the story itself does take place the week before Christmas and was a great read for this time of year.
I give The Lady Most Willing… a B.
This holiday season, I plan on showing some love to my local library. Our new community library was recently completed (after fifteen-plus long years of planning) and I’m so excited to visit! They are more than just a place to house books. They can also be a safe refuge and a place where imaginations are set free. So, what’s your library story? I’d love to hear about it.