by Catherine Anderson, Connie Brockway, Casey Claybourne, Barbara Metzger

November 2005
ISBN: 0-451-41199-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Onyx
Mass Market Paperback

With the holidays fast approaching I’m always left gathering together a few special books as treats for myself. After all there is no better way to break of the routine of shopping, cleaning, cooking, and wrapping better than a good read. The True Love Wedding Dress will guarantee you’ll make time for yourself as you’re transported back in time with this charming anthology.

A prelude by one of my favorite authors, Catherine Anderson, tells the fairy tale-like story of a common servant girl, Aileanna MacEwan creating the wedding gown that she can only wish was her own. Upon completion the dress will be worn by her mistress, who happens to be marrying the man Aileanna loves but can never have. Before completing the final stitch Aileanna uses her skills as a witch to cast a spell upon the gown. Instead of using her skills to cause unhappiness for the intended bride, she instead assures that the man she loves will have happiness. So the spell goes that any owner of her beloved creation will be forever blessed with true love.

The spell works exactly as planned for the intended groom however it seems his true happiness will happen with the most unexpected bride of all and then…the dress vanishes. Whose hands will it fall into next?

New (to me) author Barbara Metzger takes the dress into England during the 1800’s where a poor but determined mother, Katie Cole, tries to persuade her daughter that it can be the dress of her dreams. Her daughter is not so thrilled with a gown that she considers old and outdated. This story offers readers several laughs as the gown survives several attempts to alter its appearance. Things get even better when it seems instead of bringing a happily ever after ending for the daughter it sets its sights on the mother and a most unlikely groom.

Famed author Connie Brockway spins her own tale that she also sets in London. Now it is the height of the season. Readers will love reading how a night of gambling between friends ends up with Alex Thorpe entering a ballroom in a wedding dress! It seems that Brockway’s talent for storytelling will allow her to take a handsome man in a wedding dress and turn it into a very sensual love story. Long time fans won't be disappointed with this contribution.

Something Special by Casey Claybourne is just that as the dress arrives in Washington Territory. The year is 1864. Penelope Martin arrives thinking she’s been hired as a schoolteacher only to find she’ll be a governess for eleven year old Eliza. It seems Eliza’s scheme is to find a new wife for her father and with the help of an old gown packed away in a trunk; she may just get her wish.

Finally Catherine Anderson rounds out the book with her offering entitled Beautiful Gifts. When Faith Randolph and her young daughter Charity sneak away in order to escape a planned marriage for Faith, they have no idea they’ll end up destitute in No Name, Colorado. After several days of scouring through garbage for food and sleeping in the livery at night they are met by a peddler who offers Faith’s daughter a peppermint stick and gives Faith an old wedding dress that he’s tried unsuccessfully to sell. Their lives quickly change after the chance meeting and Faith finds an ad for a housekeeper.

Patrick O’Shannessy had posted the sign months ago and had given up hope of ever hearing from anyone when suddenly Faith and her daughter with gown in tow literally fall into his life. When it becomes apparent that Faith’s skills as a prospective housekeeper are slim, she plans to pack up her daughter and leave until Patrick offers to teach her the skills needed. What they don’t expect is that they’ll fall in love. Once again Anderson weaves the most tender of love stories that will warm any reader’s heart. The connection to this story and her earlier Keegan’s Lady makes this an extra special read.

I’ve long ago discovered that anything involving Catherine Anderson is something I want to read. I’m happy to say the other offerings in The True Love Wedding Dress were not disappointing. Readers wanting a fairy tale feel to their romances will find this one will be the perfect read for a cold winter’s night.

Reviewed in November 2005 by Shelby.