On Bended Knee
by Anthology Holden, Huntington, Paquet
I have found most of the anthologies that come from the Regency publishers to be quite enjoyable, and this one is no exception. The stories, which focus on romance in the world of the Regency beau monde, are of the style that long-time Regency readers seem to prefer: fresh, sparkling, and undiluted by elements of other genres. I found myself engaged by all of the offerings in this anthology.
The cover blurb quoted above tells you all you need to know about the plots, so I'll give you my reactions to the individual stories.
“One True Love” by Alice Holden is about a young woman who seems doomed to a life as a governess--then suddenly finds herself with two suitors to choose from. It won't take you long to decide which one is right for her; then you will have the pleasure of watching her figure it out.
“The Husband Hunt” by Kate Huntington, one of the top writers in the field, is the story of a proud aristocrat who has to deal with a messy situation caused by his younger brother. He doesn't look forward to explaining to a young lady that his brother has heartlessly jilted her, but when he undertakes this sad duty, he finds a most unusual female who shakes up his comfortable and rather smug existence. The interaction between these two characters is quite entertaining!
“Trusting Lady Lucy” by Laura Paquet also presents a humorous story, as a gentleman playwright learns that his jaded view of the female sex is in need of editing--and he finds just the young lady to help him revise his opinion. I love a story with a sexy writer in it, and the heroine is amusing as she manages to put her foot in her mouth several times, yet triumph at the end.
Those who love traditional Regencies can be assured of a pleasurable experience with this anthology.
“If you like sparkling novellas about romance in the Regency, you're in luck--this anthology gives you three winners.”
July 2003, 284 pages
"One True Love" by Alice Holden: With only a meager competence and no prospects, Kate Hamilton must make her own way as a governess. Her good friend, veterinarian Daniel Nealy, offers to help her acquire a position with a local wealthy family, where she meets the irrepressible Lord Percy. . . . "The Husband Hunt" by Kate Huntington: Everard Montclair is ready to throttle his younger brother for returning from the war with a foreign bride. Michael has a long-standing engagement to Lady Linnea, and its sundering is sure to result in a scandal. Worse, Linnea's father has gambled away her dowry. Only a cad would desert a female in such a predicament, so Everard offers to find her an acceptable husband. . . . "Trusting Lady Lucy" by Laura Paquet: Lady Lucinda Denham yearns to be taken seriously by the sophisticated writers who flock to her mother's parties. All the more humiliating, then, when Stephen Charleton, London's most daring playwright, overhears Lucy tell a female friend that his female characters just don't seem believable! (Paquet has written other stories about members of the Denham family; you might want to consult her backlist.)