by Sabrina Jeffries, Liz Carlyle, Julia London, Renee Bernard

January 2007
ISBN: 1-4165-1611-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

In this enchanting anthology, four lucky heiresses are about to find love in some very unexpected situations.

Sabrina Jeffries starts off this collection with her story, Ten Reasons to Stay. Newly arrived in England from India, Colin Hunt, the Earl of Monteith, is settling into his estate when he spies trouble. Someone is stealing his new prize horse!

Eliza Crenshawe is irate when Colin bungles her attempt to escape from her uncle. If she doesn’t get out of his clutches, he’ll force her into a marriage she doesn’t want. All Eliza wants is to escape to her friends in London where she can petition them for help; instead she gets Colin, a man who only sees Eliza’s impulsiveness and crazy desperation, not the truly devastating circumstances surrounding her plea for help. Will he turn her over to her uncle or perhaps, mete out another form of justice?

As always, Sabrina Jeffries pens compelling characters with bravery and fearlessness. Eliza needs help and Colin proves to be just the man to assist her. However, her kind soul also proves to be the healing power Colin needs to move on with his new life in England. Powerful emotions and determination make this story a tempting read.

In After Midnight by Liz Carlyle, the sensual and unique Martinique is caught in a tryst with the daring and troubled Lord St. Vrain. Suddenly, her dream of going back to Barbados to help with her late stepfather’s shipping business is disappearing right before her eyes. Martinique hoped to marry for love one day, the kind of love her mother and stepfather shared, not a sham marriage. St. Vrain proposes an intriguing idea, but will it be enough to stop a marriage from happening?

With inherent sensuality built right into her character, Martinique and the worldly St. Vrain steam the pages as they play a dangerous game with each other’s heart. Who will be the victor? Martinique is a truly refreshing Regency heroine, definitely a different flavor than the typical English Miss. She is a delightful reason to savor After Midnight.

Julia London’s The Merchant’s Gift features the courtship of the wealthy heiress, Grace Holcomb. Her father, a wool producer, is determined to see her married into the aristocracy, but after two unsuccessful seasons, he is losing hope.

Grace knows her duty, and it is to marry well, even as her heart longs for Mr. Barrett Adlaine, a prosperous textile merchant. However, she’ll put those feelings aside for her family. Barrett isn’t willing to forsake Grace though. He’ll show her that to marry for love is the best reason to marry at all, even if it means hurting one’s family. Can he convince her to give him her heart?

Julia London steals the show with this sweet courtship. Grace and Barrett have a deep connection that comes through on every page. Tempting dialogue, laughter, and amusing moments draw them closer together and help to entwine their hearts.

Finally, Renee Bernard closes out this collection with her story, Mischief’s Holiday. Alyssa Martin is an accident-prone girl whose exploits have earned her quite the reputation at Mrs. Harris’s School for Young Ladies. She’s about to embark on her first season, but first, she’s going home to spend the holiday with her beloved father. It is there that she meets reserved businessman Leland Yates. And what a first meeting! A carriage accident throws them together and despite Alyssa’s best efforts, she can’t seem to show him what a proper young lady she is. Will Mr. Yates be able to see past her troubled exterior to the heart of gold that lurks beneath?

The shy and tender chemistry between the protagonists will charm readers. Ms. Bernard keeps the story lively with Alyssa’s mishaps but also adds in special moments between Mr. Yates and Alyssa to show the growth in their relationship. Warmth and humor are the foundations for their love and it shows in their exchanges and glances. Very well-done!

The School for Heiresses is a lovely collection that encapsulates all that is wonderful about the Regency period.

Reviewed in December 2006 by Sarah.