It Happened One Season Mass Market Paperback – Mar 29 2011
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From the Back Cover
We asked our readers what story they would most like to see from four bestselling authors. They responded . . .
A handsome hero returns from war, battle-scarred and world-weary. But family duty calls and he must find a bride.
A young lady facing yet another season without a suitor never expects to find herself the object of his affections.
It Happened One Season
Four amazing talents
have come together to create one of the most unforgettable events of the year. The results are spectacular—each story is as unique as a lover's first kiss.
About the Author
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.
Growing up on Long Island, New York, Jacquie D'Alessandro fell in love with romance at an early age. She dreamed of being swept away by a dashing rogue riding a spirited stallion. When her hero finally showed up, he was dressed in jeans and drove a Volkswagen, but she recognized him anyway. They married after both graduating from Hofstra University and are now living their happily-ever-afters in Atlanta, Georgia. They have one grown son, who is a dashing rogue in the making. The author of more than thirty historical and contemporary romances, Jacquie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website.
Candice Hern is the award-winning author of historical romances set during the English Regency, a period she knows well through years of collecting antiques and fashion prints of the era. She travels to England regularly, always in search of more historical and local color to help bring her books to life.
New York Times bestselling, multi-award-winning author Mary Balogh grew up in Wales, land of sea and mountains, song and legend. She brought music and a vivid imagination with her when she came to Canada to teach. There she began a second career as a writer of books that always end happily and always celebrate the power of love.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Seduction of Sebastian Trantor by Stephanie Laurens - Sebastian Trantor has no choice but to find himself a wife. His older brother has just had his fifth daughter and he knows that he is the only one that can ensure the succession of the family line. When he meets Tabitha Makepeace she is trying to break into a desk at a ball that they are both attending. He immediately knows that the feisty and clever young lady is "wife material". He just has to convince her of that.
Only Love by Mary Balogh - Cleo Pritchard is making the best out of her widowhood. Her belated husband was not a very nice man and she has found that, although she is alone, she can live with that. Plus, there is always the thought of a memorable kiss she shared years ago with Major Jack Gilchrist to keep her warm at night. When by chance Cleo bumps into Jack at a ball, she fibs, giving him the impression that she is content with her life. Jack, on the other hand, can't stop thinking about Cleo and that kiss they shared. Knowing that he must find a wife, he tries to woo Cleo into that role, but Cleo knows that Jack only wants an heir and she is not sure that she can have children. It will be up to Jack to convince Cleo that his feelings for her are true and an heir is the least of his worries.
Hope Springs Eternal by Jacquie D'Alessandro - Alec Trentwell is still plagued by guilt over the death of Edward Markham. In fact, he feels that to make up for it, he must take care of Edward's sister, Penelope. But Penelope is nothing like what Alec imagined. She is a beautiful woman, an artist surrounded by scandal and in dire need of funds. Since she refuses his charity, Alec commissions her to paint his portrait, but when she is threatened by more scandal and ruin he does the only thing a gentleman would.. he proposes. But how will she feel about him once she learns the part that Alec played in her brother's death?
Fate Strikes a Bargain by Candice Hern - Nathaniel Beckwith is in no mood to court the young ladies and their mama's in order to find himself a bride... thus he finds himself hiding behind a strategically-placed orange tree. But to his surprise, he meets Philippa Reynolds... also hiding behind said orange tree. Phillippa is there for different reasons... she has a disability that renders her unable to walk or dance without a severe limp. Nat can't help but find himself enchanted by her friendly and kind demeanor... so he finds himself striking a bargain... an engagement.
I thought the premise of these stories was so fun. I was interested in seeing if these authors would be able to use the same plot points and come up with different stories and I was not disappointed. These stories could not be any more different. I think out of the four, Fate Strikes a Bargain, was my favorite. I loved the sweet tale of a handicapped heroine and her brave hero. I also enjoyed the introduction to mostly all new authors - since I had only read Mary Balogh in the past.
These four stories will leave you feeling satisfied with their enchanting heroes, delightful heroines and requisite happy ever afters. Fans of historical romance will rejoice over this wonderful anthology.
"The Seduction of Sebastian Trantor" by Stephanie Laurens
After his fifth niece is born, Sebastian Trantor agrees to marry and beget himself an heir. The only problem? He can't seem to find a tolerable prospective bride. Until one night at a ball he catches Tabitha Makepeace breaking into a desk in their host's library. Tabitha's headstrong nature and determination to catch a blackmailer targeting her friends captures Sebastian's attention. And when the two are caught in the library, Sebastian saves Tabitha's reputation by claiming they're engaged. Though he tells Tabitha their "engagement" will only last while he helps her catch the blackmailer, in truth, Sebastian is sure that Tabitha is the perfect bride for him. He just has to convince her of that.
Of all the stories in the anthology, "The Seduction of Sebastian Trantor" feels the most blatantly constructed, as if the elements of the common plot were listed to be taken care of. However, once Sebastian and Tabitha's story hits its stride, the awkwardness of the setup vanishes and a fun Regency romp is left in its stead. Tabitha is endearingly quirky and Sebastian both seductive and scholarly. They make a good team as they hunt down the blackmailer and they fit equally well as a couple. While there's a bit of an awkward start to "The Seduction of Sebastian Trantor," in the end Stephanie Laurens delivers her usual entertaining brand of romance.
"Only Love" by Mary Balogh
Cleo Pritchard has been married and widowed, but she's never truly had a lover or a suitor. In fact, the only man who has ever truly "seen" her was Major Jack Gilchrist. But of course, though Cleo treasures the memory of her one brief glimpse of love, she has no delusions that Jack even remembers her.
Jack may not have remembered Cleo until he sees her once more, but once he does he can't get his mind off of her. Cleo seems so content with her life and Jack knows he should be courting some young debutante whom he can wed and bed...yet the only woman he wants is Cleo. Cleo, however, doesn't want to marry him when his sole reason for marriage is to produce an heir and she's not certain she can have children. Can Jack convince her that, no matter what, Cleo is the bride for him?
Mary Balogh had me sighing from the first page of "Only Love." Cleo is the embodiment of the average woman - one who isn't beautiful or bold or extraordinary - and her realistic take on her own life both tugged at my heartstrings and helped me become invested in her story. It's impossible not to fall into "Only Love," for you want to see Cleo come out of her shell a bit and find happiness. Jack, who is handsome and kind, is just the man to make Cleo happy. He sees the beauty in her and appreciates Cleo for all that she is. How can you resist a hero like that? By turns sweet and softly sensual, "Only Love" is a treat to read.
"Hope Springs Eternal" by Jacquie D'Alessandro
Alec Trentwell is riddled with guilt over the death of Edward Markham. As such, he is determined to keep watch over Edward's sister, Penelope. The beautiful artist is everything Alec desires and, most importantly, she seems to be desperately in need of funds. Since she won't take charity, Alec commissions her to paint his portrait. His plan hits a snag when scandal threatens to ruin Penelope. Since Alec must wed anyway, he does the one thing he can to solve her plan and his: he proposes. But what will happen when Penelope learns of the role Alec played in her brother's death?
Likeable protagonists bring life to "Hope Springs Eternal." Penelope is an endearing, straightforward heroine that seems almost tailor-made to suit Alec, the tortured soul hero. While I liked these two together, there was a lot of buildup to Alec telling Penelope how her brother died. Yet, almost from the first it's clear to readers that Alec's guilt is misplaced. This doesn't invalidate his feelings, but it does lessen the impact of "Hope Springs Eternal." I liked "Hope Springs Eternal," but something about the story just felt a touch short for me.
"Fate Strikes a Bargain" by Candice Hern
Nathaniel Beckwith has no desire to be out and about in society. Unfortunately, he has to find a suitable wife, which means the retired soldier must brush off his rusty manners and brave the Marriage Mart. Fate - and a strategically-placed orange tree - looks kindly on Nat when he meets the lovely Philippa Reynolds. With a disability that leaves her unable to dance or walk without a pronounced limp, Philippa is a perpetual wallflower. She also happens to be clever and kind, both traits which attract Nat immediately. He doesn't want to deal with the insanity that is courting a girl of the ton and she has no suitors in sight. What better solution can there be than an engagement between the pair?
If I were pressed to pick a favorite story in this anthology, "Fate Strikes a Bargain" would win, hands-down. Candice Hern charmed me from the very first page with the dynamic between Philippa and Nat. Both of them are part and yet apart from the rest of society, a fact which helps them bond rather quickly. Where most people only see Nat's military career and the fact that his son will one day be an earl, Philipa sees the man himself. Nat, too, sees beyond the surface. In Philippa's case, almost everybody - including those that love her best - sees only her disability. Nat sees her, listens to her, and, quite naturally, falls for her. I confess, Ms. Hern made me both smile and positively melt with their romance and I finished "Fate Strikes a Bargain" an incredibly satisfied reader.
Can four different authors take the same plot elements and create four very different stories? Yes. The stories by Mses. Laurens, Balogh, D'Alessandro, and Hern are all unique, entertaining tales. It Happened One Season is a wonderful anthology and fans of historical romance are sure to be delighted by this book.
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
The publishers asked readers what they wanted to read (love that idea!), and the plots for the four stories are virtually identical - wounded soldier has to get married for the family's sake and finds a woman who doesn't recognize her own worth to be his bride. I really like that plot, but it reading it over four times got pretty boring. It Happened One Night asked each author to write on the same theme, but the plot structure there was much less stringent - single woman stuck at a hotel on a snowy evening. Each author was able to work their own angle on that theme in a way they weren't on this one.
The best of the bunch was Balogh's 'Only Love,' but it was pretty much just a mash-up of two of her novels - Simply Love and Irresistible (Berkley Sensation Historical Romance), both of which were done better.
If you haven't read It Happened One Night, go for that one and skip this. And if you have read that one and were anticipating It Happened One Season the way I was...well, I guess we'll have to wait till each of these authors publishes their next full-length novel.
"Only Love" by Mary Balogh. Cleo the Widow and Jack the Major met before the war and meet again after. His brother orders Jack to marry in order to sire the male heir he cannot. Jack wants Cleo, but she agrees to be his mistress until she proves whether she can carry a child.
"Hope Springs Eternal" by Jacquie D'Alessandro. Alex has vowed to care for Penelope, whose brother died under his command. He locates her after a scandalous work she created leaves her with her reputation tattered. He offers marriage, but needs to tell her the truth about her brother.
"Fate Strikes a Bargain" by Candice Hern. Having just returned from the war, Nathanial is told by his brother to marry and sire children so the title remains in the family. He meets Phillippa who has a severe limp and is overly protected by her loving caring family. Nathanial has his own issues from the war that haunts him, but proposes marriage.
Using the same historical theme of second son bachelors returning from the war needing to sire heirs as the title older brother has no male offspring; It Happened One Season is a wonderful collection with four engaging diverse renditions to the premise. Ironically the females make each tale as they are not diamonds to the Ton but are to the men who love them.
This is the number of order in which I enjoyed the stories: 1. Hern 2. Balogh 3. D'alessandro 4. Laurens
Overall though I did enjoy "it happened one night," better than this one, but I was glad that 3/4 novellas had an epilogue (dont know why the first one didnt though) which gave a more satisfying close, something IHON did not have. Still though, an enjoyable read and one that I do recommend.