A Midwinter Ball - Perfect for Your Midwinter ReadingFriday, January 15, 2016
A Midwinter Ball
A collection of 3 novellas
Winter is in full force. There is nothing like the freezing wind to greet you as you open the door in the morning to get to work, school, or even to let the dog out. The bone chilling cold calls for a warm cup of something, a cozy blanket and a good read.
What? You simply have no time to read?
Alright, fair enough. Everyone has busy lives. And yet there is a part of us that desires to sit still and soak in the words of another's imagination to allow our bodies to relax and our minds to expand. So what are we supposed to do to balance the busy and calling to soak in the calm?
Might I suggest that we return to the quick reads? Maybe pick up a collection of poetry... or how about a novella?
Remember in school when teachers would pull out a massive book and excitedly say that they were going to share a short story? Or how about those children's books that are full of short fairy tales and stories? Well for us "grown ups" today, the current thing is the novella, especially in digital form.
And I would love to introduce you to a fabulous collection of short historical romance novellas today, A Midwinter Ball **.
Much Ado About Dancing
By Heidi Ashworth
In Heidi Ashworth's novella, Much Ado About Dancing, we meet Analisa who has spent the last three seasons waiting for her promised man to return to her, while still keeping a presence in society and its seasons. This promised suitor, is Lord Northrup, who stated his desire to propose then had to leave the country, leaving Analise for years to feel forgotten. When he returns just as Analisa has decided to act boldly and get attention from some new suitors there are sure to be some entertaining moments.
I was surprised that I enjoyed this story as much as I did. Yes, there are a ton of stereotypical scenes for a regency romance - and yet I found myself interested in Analisa's history and her desire for one true love. There were also some very intriguing scenes with Lord Northrup right at the beginning of the story that piqued my curiosity so completely. While there were a good amount of characters for a novella, some how Ashworth crafted enough mystery around the situation and Lord Northrup that I had to read this one quickly!
Sweeter Than Any Dream
By Annette Lyon
Olivia Wallington has just about officially been given the title of a spinster as she has spent years caring for her mother and not being able to get out into society. When her brother and sister-in-law visit and help her sneak out to a special ball her life matches up with her dreams of becoming a desired young lady who attracts the eye of a gentleman. Edward Blakemoore, a gentleman who has decided most young ladies are not interesting, attends his friends ball simply to be polite, little does he know how attracted he will be to a certain young lady. Of course there is the issue of Olivia's mother, and Olivia's own expectations of how her life will go.
This second story did not grab a hold of me like the first one. There were just too many characters for a novella. The first chapter or two I had to skim as Olivia's mother was hard to read, and my patience couldn't take it. Granted, I did make it to the meeting of Olivia and Edward, as well as the night of the ball - and in those moments, with only two characters, the story was interesting. The ending, of course, was great.
An Invitation to Dance
By Michele Paige Holmes
Lady Ella runs her father's house now that her mother has passed away as well as her fiance. As a widow she is secure with her life for now, just dreaming of the day when her father would call her to join him in his world travels. When a mystery letter from her dead fiance is delivered to her, along with a request to visit his home in London, Ella leaves the home she has spent her life at to see what promises might be waiting for her in London.
This is one that I would have wanted more back story on. There are so many details that are glossed over to make this novella short and sweet, yet I wanted so much more! Alex Darling is a character that has a ton of history, and while we get enough to make the story complete and interesting, I really enjoyed his vantage and wanted more. Ella is also a fun character, while she knows how to act like a lady, she is used to living alone away from society, so the rules are not her first instinct like so many females in this genre. Over all this last story was my favorite of the three. So glad I stuck it out!
Reasons to Read
If you are a historical fiction/romance fan, then you should totally pick this one up. The joy of the novella, as I have mentioned, is that they are quick reads. Sure you won't get the in depth story that novels and series provide, but there is a satisfaction in sitting down with a book and finishing the story in one sitting. Also if you are looking to try a new genre, a novella is a great way to take a baby step into it. If you don't like it, no need to worry, you've only spent a little bit of time. Another plus is that if you decide not to finish a novella, you are left with a million questions of what could have happened - the nature of the novella means there is really only one story line and a small handful of characters.
Reading List Rating
As a whole I enjoyed this collection - yes there was one I could have done without, but it was a quick read, and two out of three is pretty good! So as a whole I'm giving this a three heart rating.
My Suggested Audience
While there is nothing over the top in these stories, I would suggest an adult audience. Mostly because the authors were writing for an adult audience. All of the stories are completely clean (as much as I read - like I said I didn't finish story number two), but there are plenty of innuendos and for the period some "racy" moments. But again, nothing that would spark controversy in our society.
A Midwinter Ball is a fun pick for cold midwinter reading sessions. #WinterReads @Reading_List1
Are you into the Regency Romance/Historical Fiction genre? Do you have a favorite book or author in the genre? What genre would you recommend to a clean romance fan to help them take a baby step into a new genre?
I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!
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