by Victoria Alexander, Liz Carlyle, Eloisa James, Cathy Maxwell

November 2004
ISBN: 0-06-054026-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

That first mad crush, the bad boy who wouldn’t be tamed, the one who didn’t realize that you were worth keeping - how would your life be different if they had stayed? This question has intrigued romance authors since the genre was born. Now, four stellar historical romance authors offer up their notions of fateful re-encounters. Be prepared to laugh, sigh and cry when you sit down to enjoy The One That Got Away.

My personal favorite, The Trouble With Charlotte, is a witty escapade based on the “assumption” that someone is dead. Charlotte Robb has mourned the loss of her husband, Captain Hugh Robb, for six years, but after such a long time, has decided that she must remarry. She has set her sights on Marcus Holcroft, Earl of Pennington. She finds the most pleasure in his company, and it appears that he is thinking along matrimonial lines as well. They are both in for a shock when Hugh returns. Gravely wounded, he was affected by amnesia for a number of years and was living abroad until his memory was restored. A changed man, he wants to resume his old life, minus the scandals, and especially wants to win back his lovely bride. Author Victoria Alexander is an expert at wringing a reader’s emotions with unforgettable characters. I hope we will be seeing Marcus and his friend Reggie again soon.

Liz Carlyle takes a few pages from Shakespeare with Much Ado about Twelfth Night. In a case where eavesdropping leads to all the wrong conclusions, the new Marquess of Rythorpe, thinks that the only reason Lady Sophie St. John is interested in him now is because of his fortune. He is so far off base that readers will giggle their way through this comedy of errors. With an excellent supporting cast, Ms. Carlyle presents a farce worthy of Masterpiece Theatre.

In A Fool Again, Following the death of her miserly husband, Lady Genevieve Mulcaster must choose between two suitors. She thinks that she has things well in hand, when the rogue from her past returns to tempt her once again. Normally I enjoy author Eloisa James, but this story left me lukewarm. I did not care for either potential husband, and thought that Genevieve was a bit of a ninny.

Sir Dane Pendleton has been challenged to a duel. Notwithstanding that his opponent was very drunk and equally stupid, Dane feels he must hold to his honor. As he sits alone, making sure that his affairs are in order, he is visited by his adversary’s sister - the only woman he has ever loved. She begs him to reconsider the challenge, asking him to focus his anger on her since she spurned him in their youth. Jemma is desperate. If her brother dies, she and her mother will be ruined and impoverished. She hopes that Dane will hear her plea and spare her family. Author Cathy Maxwell once again shows us why she is one of the stars of the genre with this emotional story. Short, but definitely sweet, Nightingale will hold your interest and engage your emotions.

Reviewed in October 2004 by Paula.