This review (more like book synopsis) is for a collection of four books all rolled in to one. I didn’t read them all at once (or even in proper order), but overall the things I liked and disliked about them apply to the whole series, so I’m rolling them in to one. FYI: I started picking these books up at Mrs. Julien‘s suggestion when one was free. Then I collected the others over time and ending up spending only $1 to own the whole series. I don’t think any are worth full price, but if they go on sale/free at least two are worth the time. You do not need to read them in order, and only in the last two are there any characters that overlap. This is really a ‘collection’ not a ‘series’.
I like this author’s voice overall. I think she writes pretty good dialog, even if it is not wholly accurate for the time period. These are all set in the Regency, but pretty loosely. I appreciate historical accuracy, but am definitely not a stickler for it if I otherwise enjoy the story. These are fairly ‘clean’ romances. Mostly kissing to closed door situations. This not my usual preference, but I will allow it. The one overarching problem I felt was that the books each felt unfinished. Like there were scenes left out. They were each pretty short – I think clocking in under 300 pages each. I love a good novella, but not if the story feels rushed or like important things were skipped over. Particularly in the first book, I actually wondered if there were scenes I had accidentally forgotten because of weird references to things that never happened. I suspect those scenes were left on the cutting room floor.
To Catch a Spinster
This was by far the worst of the series, though I started here and it did not deter me from reading the rest. I don’t remember it too clearly at this point. The heroine was a ‘confirmed spinster’ but decided that she wanted to experience sex even if she wasn’t married. She propositions the hero (who she has just met) and gets lucky in that he feels protective and doesn’t want her going to someone else, so he reluctantly agrees. Of course, he falls for her and decides they should get married. She disagrees and wants to stay single. He withholds sex to try and get her to agree. All in all, silliness. And, the heroine was really immature.
To Tame a Lady
This is a very good book. The hero and heroine have been friends since childhood and neither has ever been interested in the other romantically. Heroine was nearly ‘ruined’ in the past and is an heiress who is very smart and take-no-nonsense. So, she gets a lot of proposals from men looking for her money and the challenge. The hero is getting out of an engagement and the heroine helps smooth over the whole situation. He plans to avoid marriage after that, but suddenly decides that someone like his best friend is perfect for him because she calls him out on his nonsense and knows exactly who he is. He then has to convince her this is an excellent idea. Very sweet friends to lovers story.
To Wed the Widow
This was my favorite of the bunch. The heroine has been married five times and each of her husbands has died. She is looking for another husband because she desperately wants companionship and children, although she is also terrified that she will never have children. The hero is the heir to his brother, an earl, who has only daughters. He is expected to marry a young woman who can give him children and keep the title in the family. He meets the heroine and only wants her. She knows she is not acceptable marriage material for him. This book made me cry over and over. Trigger warning for issues about infertility. Not only is it something the heroine thinks about all the time, but there is a secondary romance with the brother and his wife that also touches on childbirth issues. All the characters felt very real to me.
To Tempt the Saint
The heroine goes around getting engaged to men, forcing them into calling it off, and then getting a settlement from them. She is trying to save up money so she can be an independent woman and never have to marry. The hero was burned by love in the past one freaking time and yet has sworn off all relationships forever (can you tell this wasn’t my favorite?). They meet and like to antagonize each other. He ends up as her latest target, but she also falls in love. They learn each others’ secrets and still decide to be together. The backstory on these two was just too much for me. Based on the backstories I had trouble accepting that their actions made any sense.