Wow like, I will suspend disbelief for books but like these stories were R I D I C U L O U S. I was also really jonesing for some historical romance (especially after reading bits of, and then re-reading all of Lord Perfect) but I think I have utterly gotten over that desire after sort of forcing myself to read these four short stories.
I have read, I think, longer novels written by each of these authors. Maybe not Sophie Jordan? But definitely Tessa Dare (recently read two of her Spindle Cove books), Sarah MacLean (some about Rogues) and Joanna Shupe (who has carved out a niche about Olde New Yorke). So I knew what I was getting into, and I enjoyed the ideas that went into setting up these little plots. You must be really imaginative to be a productive romance novelist in a specific genre, to consistently come up with characterizations and moderately different plots that get readers engaged enough to read your next work.
The issue here, I think, is that the stories just went from 0 to 10000000000000000 in NO TIME FLAT. In ways that made NO SENSE AT ALL. Like, I am very aware that Ladies of Quality are never to spend Any Time with men alone and yet here we have women! constantly alone! with all sorts of men! and it’s okay???? How many completely unbelievable situations are required before enough is enough?
Clearly the answer is four, because I read all four of these.
If I had to rank: I liked “The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean the best, because I am a sucker for any sort of “former loves” story, and this one at least had some semblance (??) of reasonability in that everyone knew she came back just to win him. “Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe was probably my least favorite, because I didn’t understand the attraction timeline at all given that our female lead is meant to be “married” for most of the time that the male lead is with her? The other two are just head scratchingly ridiculous, I cannot even.