A MERRY DANCE by Josi S. Kilpack. When Lila overhears her uncle talking about a man coming to look for property in the county, she doesn’t think twice, until her uncle says he hopes Lila will find enough interest to marry the man. How can she marry someone named Mortimer Luthford, not to mention that his advanced age of thirty-three, and especially since she’s already in love with her absent cousin Neville? But when Mortimer arrives, Lila has to try every trick known to women to act not interested in the rather fascinating man, which proves a very difficult façade to maintain.
UNMASKING THE DUKE by Donna Hatch. The last thing Hannah Palmer wants to do is flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister throws a Masquerade Ball, Hannah can’t say no to the invitation and takes comfort behind a mask. She dances with a charming masked man, matching him wit for wit. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and the two remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover the man she’s been flirting with all night is her most despised neighbor, the Duke of Suttenberg. No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she’d ever accept.
WHAT’S IN A NAME by Nancy Campbell Allen. Penelope Timely has a terrible secret. She’s been writing letters to the Duke of Wilmington, pretending to be her ever-proper twin sister, Persephone. Now, the duke has written that he’ll be coming for the Autumn Masquerade Ball and Festival. Penelope will have to continue the charade while the duke is in town in order to protect her sister. The Duke of Wilmington isn’t fooled for a moment, but instead of confessing that he knows about the deception, he finds himself utterly charmed by Penelope and jumps into the game of deception to see how far the twin sisters will take it.
Bubble: We do love our novellas over here at Bubble Bath Books. What’s better than a bite-sized read full of romance, sassy Regency-era women and a dash of seasonal spice? One of my favorite aspects of the Autumn Collection is all the vintage names. Mortimer, Persephone, Neville…something about those names just tickles my fancy. Even though I had the misfortune of having to read this collection in bits and pieces when I could catch a moment, you should read it all at once (or at least a story at a time) whilst sitting near a roaring fire, a cup of spiced cider on the table next to you and a pumpkin spice muffin in your non-book-holding hand.
Sissy: Book and a bite! That should be a thing. Bubby, let’s make it a thing! There are people who look down their noses and quirk their broad, erudite brows at Regency Romances. But Bubby and I appreciate moments of fluffery in which to escape the burdens and drudgeries of daily life. After I hear about the Syrian refugees, the Chilean earthquakes, and Donald Trump’s latest hair faux pas on NPR I need to fluff out for a bit. The common thread woven through these novellas was that they each had an Autumn Masquerade Ball and that was really fun. I’m just glad that I don’t have to push my bosoms into one of those empire-waisted chest mashing dresses and actually go to the ball.
Bubby: A ball sounds like fun! We should have one!
Sissy: Not if I have to wear a boob-smasher outfit. Only if I can come in my sweats and a hoodie.
Bubby: You are seriously no fun. My favorite story in the bunch was A Merry Dance by Josi S. Kilpack. Poor Lila is scheming so hard to not have to be matched up with the wrong man. Her plots to make Mortimer Luthford (love the name!) disgusted and uninterested are so convoluted and hilarious. I loved watching it all blow up in her face. It reminds me of the plans my friends and I use to make back in Jr. High to attract the attention of THAT BOY. I can’t remember now if they worked or not – honestly, I can’t remember who THAT BOY even was…
Sissy: He was some pimply faced idiot. They all are in Jr. High. I enjoyed all three novellas. In fact, when I got done with What’s In A Name by Nancy Campbell Allen, I was like “What? There aren’t more?”. In that last novella, I was amused by Penelope and the Duke’s shared nerdiness and how Penelope puts her nasty bucket aunt right in her place at the end. In the second novella, Unmasking The Duke by Donna Hatch, I appreciated the bond formed between Hannah and the Ellis, Duke of Suttenberg. They both had secret insecurities and worries and found that they could be their true selves with each other. Reminded me of Bubby and her husband.
Bubby: Really. I can’t wait for this. How so, dearest sister?
Sissy: You and all your boob-smashing outfits and your husband with his secret fear of not being the perfect software nerd.
Bubby: Wow. That’s the best you could come up with? You’re off your game today. Must not have taken enough Metamucil last night. Anyway, Autumn Masquerade is a delicious collection of stories that all feature a heroine who is not your average simpering fan-flapping Regency girl. They have depth and life and you’ll love them. And don’t forget your muffin and cider!
Sissy: I’m quite regular, in case anyone wanted to know. If you need a little mid-week getaway, (and really, who doesn’t) curl up with A Merry Dance, Unmasking The Duke and What’s In A Name. I guarantee that it’s just what you need.
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We received this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.