by Anthology

January 2004
ISBN: 0-8217-7617-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Where Kate Huntingtonís contribution to the A Valentine Waltz anthology succeeds in sweeping me of my feet, the other two leave me wishing for a different tune.

Daisy Kendall is well mannered, but not a known member of the ton. She is beautiful, but unwilling to dance at society balls. Joshua, Lord Tremont, is intrigued. Determined to secure her secrets, he pursues her. And nothing will discourage him, not even her constant refusal to spend any time with him. Daisy is in love, but being handicapped and the niece of an actress, she doesnít dare to dream of a future with Lord Tremont and tries her utmost to keep him at bay.

My Dearest Daisy with its witty dialogue and original character is charming, but sadly not all story elements in Jo Ann Fergusonís tale add up or make sense. And even though I like the Valentine letters, they werenít enough to overcome the rushed ending, and the solution to all their problems. It was a little bit too convenient to really satisfy.

In Maria Greeneís story Cupidís Arrow Lucien Montclair reluctantly participates in a wager that will have him court the unforthcoming and hostile Angela Valentine. Heated exchanges and an even hotter kiss have him soon wishing for the real thing. Of course Angela finds out about the wager and to thwart his efforts she turns herself into a swan and lets him eat crow.

I might have liked this story as a full-length novel. Maybe it would have allowed for Angelaís kinder side and for Lucienís more honorable one to shine through. In this short format, I didnít like either of them. First, their heated exchanges are fun, but soon they become too wordy and too repetitive. Far too much is inserted into too few pages.

Knowing that loving Count Antonio Zarcone can only lead to heartache, widowed Caroline Benningham escapes his advances into an engagement with virtuous and elderly Lord Madleton. But Count Zarcone is not someone to give up so easily. He is Italian and he knows that his love is so much superior to the cold fish she is shackling herself to. Encouraged by an unexpected ally in Lord Mandletonís young and spoiled daughter, he sets out to win her back.

Kate Huntington jumps right into the story of My Wicked Valentine and never allows for a moment of boredom. Even in the novella format she creates genuine characters, which come to life and touch the heart. The right balance of witty dialogue, well-drawn characters, perfect pacing and the little details that turn a good story into a special one prove once more that Kate Huntington knows her craft. She uses it with heart and passion and keeps on creating the entertaining and charming stories I love to read.

Once again an anthology earns a place on my keeper shelf due to Kate Huntingtonís superb writing.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Kris Alice.

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