A LORD’S CHANCE by Anthea Lawson: After her first romance ends in disaster, Miss Isabelle Strathmore vows never to fall in love again. She will travel, certainly, and see the world, but it will be a spinster’s life for her. She has learned the most painful lesson of all—that her heart simply cannot be trusted. Gavin Reed, the Earl of Jasper, is unexpectedly charmed by Isabelle. Past encounters have made him wary of taking a chance on love, but by the end of the Grand Tour, he is determined to make Miss Strathmore his wife. But fate has more in store than either of them guesses. Beneath the Mediterranean sun, can Isabelle and Lord Jasper find their happily ever after before disaster strikes?
FALLING IN ROME by Jennifer Moore: Chaperoning two young women on their grand tour is the opportunity of a lifetime for Eleanor Doyle. Although she’s an expert in many languages, her gender has made further education impossible. If the tour is successful, the young women’s parents have promised her a position at a university in London. Eleanor hopes to instill her charges with a love of Rome, but not until they meet up with a group of young gentlemen and their fascinating professor, Russell Kendrick, do the young ladies show any interest at all. Attraction blossoms between Eleanor and Ken, but Eleanor’s future depends on maintaining propriety. The headstrong charges have other ideas, and Ken and Eleanor will have to decide which is most important, accolades in the academic world, or being with the one they love.
A SECRET ARRANGEMENT by Heather B. Moore: Evelyn Tucker has finally graduated from finishing school, but dreads living with her widowed aunt. On the appointed day, Aunt Margaret comes to collection Evelyn, and Margaret informs her that they’re going on a Grand Tour to spend as much of the estate money they can before a distant cousin inherits all. When Henry Gaiman discovers he’s inherited his distant uncle’s estate, he loathes the thought of returning to England since he’d rather continue with his archaeology dig in Egypt. Return he must, and there, he meets Evelyn, a woman who will change his world in more ways than one.
Ah, those were the days. Back when it was customary for wealthy young women and their chaperones to go travel about Europe for weeks on end. What happened to that idea? I would totally have chaperoned rich girls around Europe!
You and me could ditch the rich girls and be two spinsters traveling about Europe by ourselves. No, even better: whilst our husbands, (who are part of the peerage) do their thing at Parliament, we take their money and go toot around Europe. But that’s hardly an empowering thought for women, and these stories star young women who are fighting societal restraints.
Well, we’re not spinsters. And our husbands aren’t nobility and have limited funds, so that’s out. And we ARE empowered women, just like Isabel, Eleanor, and Evelyn are trying to be. So I guess we’ll have to do like we did with the UK and just take ourselves. No rich girls, no husbands, no chaperones. We also don’t have a rich Aunt Margaret like Evelyn does in A Secret Arrangement, so we’re really on our own.
A Grand Tour reminded me of some of the Agatha Christie tales set in exotic locales or maybe Mrs. Pollifax, but without all the mystery. Although there was some mystery and intrigue, now that I think of it. Each of our leading ladies had common sense and the urge to be more than society would allow them at the time. And just possibly, on their collective travels, they might find a romantic other who has more progressive views.
I can’t pick a favorite out of the three novellas in A Grand Tour, but I love that each of them was set somewhere warm. It’s so ding dang cold outside here. It was nice to pretend for awhile that I was somewhere tropical, with no responsibilities.
Well I did have a favorite, and it may have had something to do with Rome. I enjoyed the highly educated Eleanor and her possible love interest, professor Kendrick, who were attracted to each other for their mutual interests and fine minds. The other novellas were well written as well, and read like full length stories with developed characters.
And each story had a satisfying, happy ending. Take a few minutes for yourself during this busy holiday season to relax, read a couple novellas, and pretend you’re basking in the warm sun somewhere.
I am always really happy to see a new installment in one of the Timeless Romance Collections. It means I will have a couple hours of guaranteed happy relaxation ahead of me. A Grand Tour is a very worthy addition!
Click HERE to buy A Grand Tour (Timeless Victorian Collection book 2)