Welcome to Doyle’s Grange, a charming house near the hills of Exmoor, where the garden is beautiful in every season, and the residents are respectable year-round.
Except when the clock strikes midnight…
One Starlit Night by Carolyn Jewel
Ten years away from Doyle’s Grange isn’t quite long enough for Viscount Northword to forget Portia Temple, or their passionate adolescent affair. Portia, however, is about to marry another man. Northword tells himself it is wrong to interfere in her life at this late hour, but interfere he cannot help, with his words, his body, and the truths of his heart.
What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan
Fleeing the consequences of her father’s embezzlement, Mary Chartley takes a position as a lady’s companion, only to find herself a virtual prisoner at Doyle’s Grange, her employer’s house. And then the nightmare truly begins: the man she loves, who also happens to be the man from whom her father stole, shows up at her door seeking recompense. And not merely in pound sterling…
A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas
After losing her childhood sweetheart to another woman, Isabelle Englewood is heartsick. But then something remarkable happens: Upon arriving at Doyle’s Grange, her new home, she meets Ralston Fitzwilliam, who looks almost exactly like the man she cannot have. Come late at night, she tells him, so I can make love to you pretending that you are the one I love.
Little does she realize what she is about to unleash...
I picked up this anthology because I have been curious about Courtney Milan. I read a few reviews that made it sound interesting and I thought I would give it a go. I was quite surprised to see that the stories were very intense. I guess I'm not used to see this kind of emotions in short stories. Unfortunately I wasn't entirely convinced by them. It might be that I wasn't in the best mood for this as I have been more into light and sunny reads lately...
Carolyn Jewel's story about a couple who once had a relationship was well written but I felt the characters were cold and unfeeling; I couldn't feel any empathy with them and was never engaged in the story. From the very beginning all I could think about was that if they just talked to each other they would realise they were still in love. I never really felt the angst and sorrow that they were supposedly feeling and that prevented from enjoying it. Grade: 2/5
In Milan's story I did love that she gives us different characters with different, real life worries but I had some trouble buying the relationship between the hero and the heroine. I had some trouble believing that the heroine would skip off at night so easily and especially that she would just appear naked in front of the hero trying to make amends. I did like the premise very much, I especially liked the secondary story about marriage and how one's husband could control the wife so completely and when that stopped happening but I guess I need a longer story to have the action develop a bit slower in the bedroom department. Grade 3/5
In the Sherry Thomas story I didn't like that the hero resembled the heroine's former love so much. I kept waiting for it to be revealed that he was a long lost twin or cousin or something... I wanted to be interested in the story but that resemblance kept putting me off. I am now curious about the story of said former love which I think is told in Ravishing the Heiress. Grade 2/5
The three stories are connected by the fact that they all take place in the same house - Doyle's Grange - in different periods. I thought that was a nice touch.