Connealy, Mary, et. al. All for Love: Three Historical Romance Novellas of Love and Laughter. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2018. ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-3102-5.
As a fan of Kristi Ann Hunter’s books, I was dismayed when she initially chose to go the free, ebook-only route for her prequel novellas, but strangely surprised and excited when I heard about the print collection, even if it would involve paying to get something in print that was already available digitally for free. And in the process, I ended up discovering work by two other authors I definitely will be reading more of.
The Boden Birthright (The Cimarron Legacy 0.5, 2016)
This was an ok read, but it definitely feels more like setup for the series it’s a prequel to than a story that can stand on its own. While there is nothing wrong with a story that carries over through multiple books, I wish I had known that prior to reading this novella. Not to mention that while the hero, Chance, and his motivations, are easy to understand, I found Veronica hard to like, and found the romance too rushed, especially given everything else the story seemed to try to accomplish to set the stage for the actual novels in the series.
A Lady of Esteem by Kristi Ann Hunter (Hawthorne House 0.5, 2015)
There’s nothing quite like going back to the beginning and seeing how two characters who served a central role in a series fell in love, and that is the case with this novella. I already knew I liked the characters of Anthony and Amelia, but going back and exploring the reason for Amelia’s close connection with the servants and the circumstances of her becoming connected to the Hawthornes, and by extension, Anthony, was heartwarming. And it was great to have more insight into Anthony’s own journey as a character as well, given that he had been a rake and is now reformed. And perhaps the most compelling bit, having gone through the novels first, was seeing the circumstances regarding Anthony and Georgina only alluded to in her book play out, and reflecting on how far she has come as a character.
At Your Request (Apart from the Crowd 0.5, 2017)
This was a delightful novella and series introduction. While it deals with the common trope of the reversal of fortunes between the hero and heroine who have a shared past, it does so in such a way that feels original and focused more on Wilhelmina and Edgar’s feelings then and now, with them reflecting on the fact that they weren’t mature enough, and thought more about themselves than each other, and how they’ve each grown since then to think of the other’s feelings as well.