AN AUTUMN KISS, by Laura Rollins , Annette Lyon , Lisa H. Catmull, Mirror Press, Sept. 1, 2022, Paperback, $6.99 (young adult/ new adult/ adult fiction)
Three women discover a kiss can change everything in An Autumn Kiss, a collection of three novellas by Laura Rollins, Annette Lyon and Lisa H. Catmull.
An Autumn Kiss is the seventh book in Mirror Press’ Timeless Victorian Collection, which features a collection of short stories and novellas written by best-selling authors. These are chaste historical romances that feature predictable outcomes and entertaining journeys.
The three novellas in An Autumn Kiss are The Plucky Miss Ruth Mr. Dowling’s Remedy and A Railway Through the Roses.
The Plucky Miss Ruth, by Laura Rollins
Miss Ruth Hughes is certain she’s caught in a time loop — every day she wakes to find it exactly as the one before. A thrilling prospect to be sure. If the many books she reads on time travel has taught her anything, it is that to break free she must complete an all-important task. For Ruth the task is straightforward: reunite a couple, once desperately in love but forced apart by society.
Unfortunately, things are not always as easy as they first appear. Struggling, Ruth opens up to the handsome Lord Lambert and he readily agrees to help. With autumn on the brink of turning into winter, time is running out for Ruth to help the ones who need her most. And, with a bit of luck, perhaps she can even find a little time for her own happily ever after. —Synopsis provided by Mirror Press
The Plucky Miss Ruth leads off. It’s a smart choice seeing how it’s the shortest of the three stories and the most placid. It’s a quiet, sweet story that offers readers two romances instead of one. Though there’s nothing particularly dynamic about it, The Plucky Miss Ruth is enjoyable.
Mr. Dowling’s Remedy, by Annette Lyon
Crandall Dowling’s aspirations of becoming a physician collapse when he develops symptoms that land him in an asylum. He’s been at Sherville Retreat long enough for autumn leaves to appear when Beverly Stanton arrives. She’s held under the dubious diagnosis of “hysteria” but seems perfectly sane, unlike Crandall, though his verbal and physical tics don’t seem to scare or even bother her. Beverly and Crandall develop a friendship fueled by an undeniable attraction that under other circumstances could become more. But in an asylum, one cannot plan a future, let alone one of love or marriage. Then tragedy strikes, testing staff and patients beyond anyone’s training. When the dust settles, Beverly’s diagnosis may be reversed, but if she leaves, what will become of her? What of Crandall? And what of their autumn-born love? —Synopsis provided by Mirror Press
Mr. Dowling’s Remedy is a short story that I would have enjoyed expanded to a stand-alone novel. It’s by far the most mysterious and intriguing. Because it’s set in an asylum, there’s a darker, slightly Gothic feel to it perfect for this time of year. While I would have liked to have explored Annette Lyon’s world more, I appreciate the tight editing and attention to detail. This tale moves fast and features action I wasn’t expecting going into it.
A Railway Through the Roses, by Lisa H. Catmull
Mr. Adrian Everard has tried everything to keep his father’s factory open, but a single solution remains. Marry an heiress before Christmas to fund the desperately needed railway. The local landowner, Lady Anne Baxter, will not agree to sell her garden — or her heart. Indeed, his childhood friend is determined to sabotage all his efforts to find a wife. As the deadline for Adrian to choose a bride draws close, one thing becomes painfully obvious. Saving the factory will mean losing the woman he loves forever. —Synopsis provided by Mirror Press
A Railway Through the Roses is another tale that potentially could have been expanded, but instead focuses on a sort of garden party weekend. Lisa H. Catmull’s prose is fresh and familiar, making it easy to slide into her tale. It’s exciting to see two main characters so fully realized in such a short amount of time.
An Autumn Kiss is a well-thought-out compilation of stories that are as unique as they are similar. The order in which they appear is smart and helps draw the reader through. This is an entertaining compilation at a great price.
*Though not written specifically for a young adult audience, there’s nothing objectionable in An Autumn Kiss. This will appeal to teen readers who enjoy Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance series.
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