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Ratings and Reviews (5 19 star ratings
5 reviews
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3.8 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    What fabulous romance!

    DRESSED TO KISS is an anthology based around a modiste shop and four of historical romance’s best authors contribute to this excellent book. So far, I have had the time to read only Ms. Linden’s and Ms. Frampton’s novellas, but I cannot wait to read the other two, as the two I’ve read are fabulous! A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden Those of you who have read Caroline Linden’s books know what an exceptionally gifted writer she is, you who have not will need to read this novella to truly appreciate the Ms. Linden’s rare talent. Evan Hewes, the Earl of Carmathen, is bent on modernising and beautifying the area where Madame Follette’s shop stands. Madame Follette’s is located near Bond Street, business is doing alright, but could be better. Feliticy Dawkins is managing the modiste shop for her mother, while the latter is away. Madame Follette’s has been in the family for several years, but when Carmathen tells Felicity Dawkins that she must vacate the premises, she bluntly refuses. And so begins one of the most wonderful love stories ever written. When Carmathen goes to Madame Follette’s, he expects the mother, not breathtakingly beautiful Felicity, but still he won’t budge either. Until Felicity starts to get under his skin, and he decides to help her, whichever way he can. While they agree to disagree, Felicity warms up to the Earl, until she realises that she wants to be his, whatever the consequences; he will not marry a mere shop girl, surely. And oh how exquisitely Ms. Linden conveys those feelings of falling in love, of being in love! I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything, anywhere that describes what love is more accurately, more emotionally. Ms. Linden’s lush and sumptuous prose is so evocative that the words become images; the dialogues are brilliantly simple and historically accurate. Felicity and Carmathen discuss things rationally instead of bickering, they reach compromises. And when the delicious flirtation becomes more, well, one almost wishes that smelling salts hadn’t gone out of fashion, because that’s how it made me feel. What a glorious romance. Felicity and Carmathen’s passion becomes all-encompassing, so beautiful, so touching, and it all feels so real. A FASHIONABLE AFFAIR is a triumph of exquisite, sublime writing, blistering sensuality, and a love so true, it takes a few moments to come back to reality. A FASHIONABLE AFFAIR is a magnificent novella, the epitome of fine writing, and the joy of experiencing love. I believe I have run out of superlatives, but this story deserves them all! No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton Miss Katherine Grant, whose honourable family is in dire circumstances, needed a paid occupation, and so she is now a paid companion to the spoiled Lady Ephemia, who does however mean well. Katherine is chaperoning Effie on her first season, hoping that the latter doesn’t get into trouble. Effie has gotten into her beautiful blond head that Mr. Henry Dawkins, the bookkeeper for Madame Follette’s, is the man for her. When Effie drags Katherine to the modiste’s, Katherine has a shock: Mr. Dawkins is the hugest man she has ever seen, and by Jove, he does something to her Other Parts as well! Henry has already rebuffed Effie’s advances, but she won’t take no for an answer, while Henry has seen someone who nearly makes him forget his numbers and order! NO ACCOUNTING FOR LOVE is Megan Frampton at her wittiest and most delightful! Henry is a sweet, shy klutz who is totally smitten by the voluptuous Katherine, whose sparkling personality is hidden behind her drab clothes, and they form a wonderful pair. NO ACCOUNTING FOR LOVE is a charming, lovely, sunny story filled with vividly drawn characters, and such glorious fun! Ms. Frampton writes the most fabulous sentences, very matter-of-factly, and you catch yourself laughing hysterically! This romance between a bespectacled, blushing giant and the woman he thinks is one hot number (nudge, wink!) perfectly conveys the dizzying, heady feeling of falling in love and left me sighing and smiling contentedly. Another splendid read by the amazing Megan Frampton! I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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    Regency romance with a common theme

    Four Regency romances from four different authors, each telling a love story with one commonality, namely Madame Follette's dressmaking shop. The Duke's Dressmaker evokes all the angst and trauma of the past when the Duke of Barrowmore unexpectedly encounters the dressmaker Selina Fontaine. Whilst Rand is delighted that an opportunity to resolve the mistakes of the past has presented itself, Selina is terrified that he will destroy her. A story of second chances and learning to trust again. In The Colors of Love, the irrepressible Delyth Owens discovers a client that shares her joy in exuberant colors. Unfortunately, not everyone is delighted with her color choices. The story is lighthearted with quirky characters. No Accounting for Love brings two awkward characters together. Katherine Grant is a destitute lady's companion and when she meets the accountant at Madame Follette's, she experiences an attraction that is quite unlike her. Henry Dawkins is stunned when he first sees Katherine, despite her dowdy clothing. As they fumble their way through their meetings one can only trust that they will get their fairytale ending. In A Fashionable Affair, Caroline Linden brings together all four stories as well as the outcome for the doomed dressmaking shop. Felicity Dawkins is desperate to save her mother's business but when the Earl of Carmarthen lays out his plans for tearing down all the buildings in Vine Street and rebuilding the area, she has to face facts. Compromise leads to romance and old secrets being exposed. The story brings out not only the attraction between the main characters but also the stress they were both experiencing from opposite sides of the same problem. In this themed romance box set, I enjoyed the first and last stories more than the other two. I felt there was some artistic license taken for the era, but if you don't take your history too seriously, you will enjoy this book.
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    A unique setting which I personally loved.

    What a fabulous anthology consisting of 4 stories by some incredibly talented authors! I absolutely loved that all the stories were focused on characters from the one dressmaker's shop. A unique setting which I personally loved. Two of our heroines were seamstresses from the dressmaker's shop and the last two stories were of the shop owners son an accountant and the daughter who worked with her mother as a seamstress. Each author gave their own unique twist to their individual story and I think they all did a wonderful job of making each story unique but yet flow together as a group. Well done ladies!
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    Gave me great pleasure, full of romance and beauty

    I've received this book in exachange for a honest review. This book is an anthology with four stories, all of them connected by Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop. I’ll give my opinion about each of the stories individually and then I’ll bundle them all up. First, I just want to say that I’ve only read books by Madeline Hunter (one of my auto-buy authors), from whom I got this review copy, so the other three writers were a complete novelty for me. The first story, written by Madeline Hunter, is about the Duke of Barrowmore and Selina Fontaine, one of the dressmakers. Selina already has a story connected with the Duke, and when he enters the shop, she became scared that he’ll reveal that she is gentry, and most importantly, that she had been practically abandoned by her almost fiancé. As you can imagine, the stories aren’t very long, so I won’t dwell on them, or I risk telling you everything. It’s a sweet romance, with witty and sexy scenes and, as always, Madeline Hunter’s writing creates an atmosphere that leads to a well-spent time reading one of her stories. It was one of my favourites of the anthology. (3.75*). The second story, by Myretta Robens, was my favourite probably because it was a bit different than what I’m used to – not that that means that it’s not a Regency romance that ends well, it is, but it shows the two main characters, Delyth Owen and Simon Merrithew, in a different light that I enjoyed (an example is the way the two of them meet). Delyth is the most recent dressmaker at Follete’s, and her style is, at the very least, irreverent. This doesn’t mean that she has a bad sense of style or that she is cruel to her costumers (in the way that she would be dressing them poorly and making fun of them), like Simon initially thinks. I really liked seeing Simon changing and, consequently the reader, which led to an understanding of Delyth’s love for colour and fashion, making Simon fall in love with her, and the way she loves life itself. I think that was my favourite part, the fact that it had so much life, so much colour, so much… of everything! And in so few pages. (4*) The third story, by Megan Frampton, ended up being the one I liked least. Not that it wasn’t sweet (in some way it may even be the sweetest of them all), but it lacked credibility regarding the characters, which made me feel quite distanced from them. Although I did like Henry Dawlkins, son of the owner, Madame Follete, and brother of Felicity Dawkins, the current store manager, the image that came to mind was that he looked like a giant teddy bear, that was afraid he was going to hurt someone just by being who he was. Katherine Grant, the female leading character, wasn’t my favourite. I don’t think she was created in a very coherent way, regarding what she was in the beginning and at the end of the story – I’m sorry for repeating myself, but I think it lacked credibility. (3.25*) The last plot is by Caroline Linden, and it’s the story of Felicity Dawkins and the Earl of Carmarthen. Felicity, which showed up briefly in the other stories, seemed more interesting there than here, she seemed to have a bit more wit and a stronger character, which is too bad because it raised my expectations for her story and when I read it, it didn’t quite reach them. However, I would like to mention that Felicity is the kind of woman that takes matters into her own hands, and can deal with whatever problems that shows up, no matter how difficult they are. About Carmarthen there’s not much to say, which is sad, because I think he could have been much more developed and explored, making him a more interesting character. Although it was a good story, it left too many unanswered questions for my taste, because this story was where I thought we would actually know what would happen to everyone, but that did not happen. (3.5*) By this, I mean that even though I actually enjoyed reading this book, it left me a bit disappointed, because I wanted to know what would happen to Follete’s, after two of the dressmakers married a Duke and an Earl. Because if Henry could still be Follette’s accountant, and Delyth a dressmaker, I’m not sure if Katherine would still be a chaperone or now just a wife, if Selina becomes a Duchess and stops all work at Follete’s and becomes a patron or if she’s still part of the shop, creating models, for example, or even if Felicity stayed running the store but now from the backstage because of her position or even if her mother was again the face of the shop or was pushed aside for ever. These are questions I would have liked to see handled, but that, sadly, I’ll never know the answer. In conclusion, a reading that gave me great pleasure, full of romance and beauty, that showed a turning point in the history of fashion, regarding styles and colour, bringing at the same time a regency love story that will please the readers.
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    Dressed to kiss

    Madeline's Hunter novella is super as usual, the others are OK. It makes the whole book ok. I enjoyed Hunter's novella the most.
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