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Once Upon a Ballroom

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A wicked wonderful dream can indeed come true how sometimes behaving as one should not can lead to the most passionate results and how the truest love is a bond no scandal can shake Anything can happen at a ball Not great not bad just okay

Read Ì PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ´ Katharine Ashe

Scandal passion disaster and true loveFeaturingThe Truth About Love by Caroline LindenAsk Me to Dance by Katharine AsheOnce Upon a Dream by Maya RodaleThe School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors by Miranda Nevil Overall a cute collection of stories I've read books by each of these authors and uite enjoyed most of them so this anthology was a nice readMaya Rodale's story was a bit disappointing though It was basically a prologue of sorts for the same book that is then previewed The other three were all complete short storiesMy favorite was Miranda Neville's and I also uite liked Caroline Linden's This is definitely worth checking out

Katharine Ashe ´ 0 Summary

An original anthology of short stories set in the glittering ballrooms of Regency England by Caroline Linden Katharine Ashe Maya Rodale and Miranda NevilleDiscover how a masked ball can turn friends into lovers how The following review appeared at Dear Author ReadersRecently I purchased the self published anthology Once Upon a Ballroom Original Short Stories and Exclusive Excerpts I was drawn to this anthology by my interest in Miranda Neville’s story “The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” I’ve enjoyed everything I have read by Neville by which I mean the four books in her Burgundy Club seriesTo a lesser degree I’ve also enjoyed a couple of Caroline Linden’s books and she too has a story in this anthology Rounding out the anthology are stories by Katharine Ashe and Maya Rodale neither of whom I had read before but I was game to try them The anthology was priced at only 99 cents so I figured I had little to loseEach story is followed by an excerpt from a novel by the same author but I will not be reviewing these since I consider excerpts I don’t seek out akin to advertisements I have a bit to say on that topic at the end of the review but first reviews of the four stories“The Truth About Love” by Caroline LindenBookish Miranda married the glamorous sought after Damien Earl of Roxbury and has been happy with him ever since Damien has been devoted and attentive to her so Miranda’s faith in her husband remains unshaken when her gossipy sister in law informs her that Damien has “taken up with” another woman Helen MortonDamien was or less ordered by the Prince Regent to come to Brighton and give his advice on the building of the pavilion there He has written to Miranda regularly charming letters that assure her of his love But as and people hear of his affair and tell Miranda that she should not have married Damien and as the letter stop arriving it becomes harder for Miranda to keep the faithMiranda was a very sympathetic figure in this story and I could completely understand her reasons for believing in her husband even in the face of evidence to the contrary I was glad when her faith was rewarded but this story like the others in the anthology felt short to me I was expecting something novella length but it was of a short story or perhaps a novelette on the short side More on the length of content issue laterA bigger problem with “The Truth About Love” is that while there was uite a bit about Damien in Miranda’s thoughts he only showed up in person so to speak for a couple of pages at the end of the story After all the doubts that were cast on him that really wasn’t enough for me especially since it was basically his word against everyone else’sI wanted evidence of Damien’s faithfulness but even I wanted the opportunity to know him better so that I could be sure he and Miranda were a good match This felt like a story about Miranda than a story about the two of them and the ending felt abrupt although the author has a nice voice For these reasons “The Truth About Love” gets a C C from me“Ask Me To Dance” by Katharine AsheIn this story Lady Fiona attends a ball in honor of the debut her friend Cecily a girl “of low born gentility with two maiden aunts and no status to bring her out” This ball is described in the French Count of Vaucoeur’s point of view as “a miserably unfashionable fete in a dilapidated townhouse” But Vaucoeur does not care since he is there to watch Fiona from the shadowsVaucoeur served in the military with Fiona’s brother James and read Fiona’s loving letters to the man He fell for the girl in those letters and since he carries a secret which he believes would keep Fiona from returning his feelings he just watches her from the shadows for ball after ballLittle does he know that Fiona is aware of his gaze and of his identity and that she hungers for him almost as much as he does for her When the ballroom ceiling topples Fiona and Vaucoeur are separated from the other dancers and have a chance to open up to each otherThis story had a lot of potential but it was weighed down by the heightened rather purple language For example But did she know all For if she did not and they finally spoke he could not withhold from her the truthOther examples “her insides pirouetted” I pictured a miniature ballerina in Fiona’s belly and “Her throat caught upon a swell of awe”Another problem with the story is that Vaucoeur’s baggage was heavy and involved Fiona’s brother yet these serious issues were cleared up in the blink of an eyeDespite the language and the heavy baggage or perhaps partly because of them Ashe conjures an atmosphere filled with tension both sexual and romantic There is good chemistry between the characters I give this one a CAshe mentions in a note after the story that these characters have appeared in a couple of her books so I wasn’t sure if their romance is followed in those other books as well or not This left me with mixed feelings because of my response to the Maya Rodale story“Once Upon a Dream” by Maya RodaleAnnabelle a newspaper columnist is desperately in love with her boss Derek Knightly Since Derek seems oblivious Annabelle asked her readers for advice on how to attract a man’s attention One of them “Marriage Minded Mama from Mayfair” has suggested arranging to be caught in a compromising position with the man she lovesAnnabelle dresses to a ball in something referred to as The Dress designed to catch a man’s eye She gets Knightly’s attention Soon they are in a private alcove kissing and going further until she snaps awake from the daydream Like the others this is not a long story and the daydream takes up a full third of it When I realized Annabelle had been dreaming everything I felt thwartedUnfortunately the latter two thirds of the story aren’t any satisfying Another dream takes up another third of the story And in the final third everything is resolved in a rushed unsatisfying wayA second huge issue I had with this story was that it lacked conflict either external or internal Yes we were told that Annabelle couldn’t get Derek’s attention but everything we were shown indicated otherwiseAlmost as soon as Derek appears in this story it’s clear he is attracted to Annabelle and a page or two later he gets very serious about her His commitment to her comes out of nowhere at least to this reader who has not read the books that are linked to this storyFurther since I didn’t know Annabelle or Derek from the previous books I needed a reason to connect with them I wasn’t given one here In a story this short the characters need to uickly become sympathetic or fascinating or at least a little compelling None of that happened here so I was left feeling indifferent to whether or not Derek an Annabelle ended up togetherI was further frustrated when I reached the end of the story and read that Derek and Annabelle have their own book Seducing Mr Knightly That being the case I wasn’t sure if any of the scenes in “Once Upon a Dream” were excerpted from Seducing Mr Knightly Whether or not they were I ended up feeling I had been advertised to rather than entertained D“The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” by Miranda NevilleThis story was the reason I purchased Once Upon a Ballroom After the Rodale story I was half afraid to read it I wondered if it too would feel like a marketing gimmick rather than a work designed to entertain I should have trusted the author Miranda Neville’s Burgundy Club works have all been charming touching and funny and this little story was no exceptionBelinda Lawrence has recently lost her father and wonders what to do with his book collection James Lord Corton a childhood friend whom it was always assumed she’d marry is the one she turns to for adviceBelinda has always loved James but he seems to see her as a sister He calls her Binny and doesn’t look beyond her spectacles When she broaches the topic of the book collection she hopes that James will propose at last If they marry her books will have a loving home and so she hopes will sheJames has actually at last noticed Belinda but he does not know if she wants to marry him or if she’d prefer the freedom to choose another husband He almost works up the nerve to ask her to marry him but at the last minute trepidation gets the better of himWhen he confides this to Taruin Compton a fellow member of the Burgundy Club a society of book collectors Taruin suggests that James needs “the Taruin Compton School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors”Taruin advises James to discard his plan to dress as Henry VIII to an upcoming masuerade and wear a highwayman costume instead Behind his highwayman’s mask Taruin promises James will find it easier to woo BelindaOf course Taruin’s stratagem doesn’t go off without a few hitches The humorous and emotional situations resulting from the change of costume are half the fun but the endearing characters were even central to my enjoyment James and Belinda both felt kind and sympathetic but never ingratiating or cloyingI sometimes think that half the reason I prefer flawed characters is that so many times with sympathetic characters I can see the author’s hand manipulating me to like them The thing I so appreciate about Neville’s writing is that I never get this feeling with her books Her characters are likable and even sweet but in a way that feels fresh and realIn this way they resemble the execution of the storyline in “The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” There is nothing new in a storyline about a heroine who has always loved the hero from afar and a hero who hasn’t noticed her until now It’s the same premise used in Rodale’s “Once Upon a Dream” but whereas in the latter I didn’t care in “The School of Wooing” the same familiar premise sang to meSmall touches such as Belinda’s reminiscence of her father reading Robinson Crusoe to her when she was young and James cradling the same book “as carefully as he would an infant” wit sprinkled here and there and most of all a certain tenderness in the characters make this plot feel as fresh as the Belinda and James doWhat keeps this one from an A range grade is that even here the story feels a touch too short I wish I had the chance to know these two people betterThere are also times when I want just a little emotion There’s a moment near the end of the story when James does something boneheaded that hurts Belinda He apologizes uickly and it’s resolved very fast – a bit too fast for my taste I wanted the chance to feel Belinda’s hurt and anger a little longer since that would have made James’s apology that much sweeter So this story gets a BBefore I close this review I want to say a bit about the length of the stories Again these are not novella length stories but shorter works I was expecting novellas and that led me to disappointmentOnce Upon a Ballroom was 1757 locations long on my Kindle According to this post a location translates to roughly 22 or 23 words If true this means that the anthology is somewhere around 40000 words in length The four stories are each according to my calculations between 7000 28 pages and 9000 36 pages words in length Together they make up about 79% of the anthology while around 16% of the rest is comprised of excerpts from the authors’ upcoming novels and roughly another 5% is “About the Authors” contentI was inspired to get out my calculator and figure all this out because he brevity of the stories and my feeling that three of the four ranged from so so to downright frustrating caused me to feel cheated before I read the Neville story despite the low 99 cent price And even after I read that story I didn’t feel that anthology was the bargain it had seemed to be at firstConsidering that I can spend the same 99 cents on the occasional good full length novel that’s on sale or something like Milan’s The Governess Affair I feel that with this anthology I got less for my dollar and importantly less for the time I put inOnce Upon a Ballroom is also often available free of charge At such lowno cost some readers may find it worth checking out but expectations should be adjusted according to the length of the content and the proportion of excerpts to complete storiesSincerelyJanine Ballard Cains Book unshaken when her gossipy sister in law informs her that Damien has “taken Wie wir älter werden up with” another woman Helen MortonDamien was or less ordered by the Prince Regent to come to Brighton and give his advice on the building of the pavilion there He has written to Miranda regularly charming letters that assure her of his love But as and people hear of his affair and tell Miranda that she should not have married Damien and as the letter stop arriving it becomes harder for Miranda to keep the faithMiranda was a very sympathetic figure in this story and I could completely Reformist Apocalypticism and Piers Plowman understand her reasons for believing in her husband even in the face of evidence to the contrary I was glad when her faith was rewarded but this story like the others in the anthology felt short to me I was expecting something novella length but it was of a short story or perhaps a novelette on the short side More on the length of content issue laterA bigger problem with “The Truth About Love” is that while there was Comanche Moon Rising uite a bit about Damien in Miranda’s thoughts he only showed Antony and Cleopatra (No Fear Shakespeare) up in person so to speak for a couple of pages at the end of the story After all the doubts that were cast on him that really wasn’t enough for me especially since it was basically his word against everyone else’sI wanted evidence of Damien’s faithfulness but even I wanted the opportunity to know him better so that I could be sure he and Miranda were a good match This felt like a story about Miranda than a story about the two of them and the ending felt abrupt although the author has a nice voice For these reasons “The Truth About Love” gets a C C from me“Ask Me To Dance” by Katharine AsheIn this story Lady Fiona attends a ball in honor of the debut her friend Cecily a girl “of low born gentility with two maiden aunts and no status to bring her out” This ball is described in the French Count of Vaucoeur’s point of view as “a miserably The Lake unfashionable fete in a dilapidated townhouse” But Vaucoeur does not care since he is there to watch Fiona from the shadowsVaucoeur served in the military with Fiona’s brother James and read Fiona’s loving letters to the man He fell for the girl in those letters and since he carries a secret which he believes would keep Fiona from returning his feelings he just watches her from the shadows for ball after ballLittle does he know that Fiona is aware of his gaze and of his identity and that she hungers for him almost as much as he does for her When the ballroom ceiling topples Fiona and Vaucoeur are separated from the other dancers and have a chance to open Cain's Book up to each otherThis story had a lot of potential but it was weighed down by the heightened rather purple language For example But did she know all For if she did not and they finally spoke he could not withhold from her the truthOther examples “her insides pirouetted” I pictured a miniature ballerina in Fiona’s belly and “Her throat caught The Flames of Cyzicus (Agent of Rome upon a swell of awe”Another problem with the story is that Vaucoeur’s baggage was heavy and involved Fiona’s brother yet these serious issues were cleared The Flames of Cyzicus up in the blink of an eyeDespite the language and the heavy baggage or perhaps partly because of them Ashe conjures an atmosphere filled with tension both sexual and romantic There is good chemistry between the characters I give this one a CAshe mentions in a note after the story that these characters have appeared in a couple of her books so I wasn’t sure if their romance is followed in those other books as well or not This left me with mixed feelings because of my response to the Maya Rodale story“Once Upon a Dream” by Maya RodaleAnnabelle a newspaper columnist is desperately in love with her boss Derek Knightly Since Derek seems oblivious Annabelle asked her readers for advice on how to attract a man’s attention One of them “Marriage Minded Mama from Mayfair” has suggested arranging to be caught in a compromising position with the man she lovesAnnabelle dresses to a ball in something referred to as The Dress designed to catch a man’s eye She gets Knightly’s attention Soon they are in a private alcove kissing and going further Also Known as Elvis until she snaps awake from the daydream Like the others this is not a long story and the daydream takes Phase up a full third of it When I realized Annabelle had been dreaming everything I felt thwartedUnfortunately the latter two thirds of the story aren’t any satisfying Another dream takes My Playboy Story up another third of the story And in the final third everything is resolved in a rushed Die Hundeesser von Svinia unsatisfying wayA second huge issue I had with this story was that it lacked conflict either external or internal Yes we were told that Annabelle couldn’t get Derek’s attention but everything we were shown indicated otherwiseAlmost as soon as Derek appears in this story it’s clear he is attracted to Annabelle and a page or two later he gets very serious about her His commitment to her comes out of nowhere at least to this reader who has not read the books that are linked to this storyFurther since I didn’t know Annabelle or Derek from the previous books I needed a reason to connect with them I wasn’t given one here In a story this short the characters need to Two Days in Caracas uickly become sympathetic or fascinating or at least a little compelling None of that happened here so I was left feeling indifferent to whether or not Derek an Annabelle ended My Playboy Story: Hopping from Richmond to Hollywood up togetherI was further frustrated when I reached the end of the story and read that Derek and Annabelle have their own book Seducing Mr Knightly That being the case I wasn’t sure if any of the scenes in “Once Upon a Dream” were excerpted from Seducing Mr Knightly Whether or not they were I ended Shift up feeling I had been advertised to rather than entertained D“The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” by Miranda NevilleThis story was the reason I purchased Once Upon a Ballroom After the Rodale story I was half afraid to read it I wondered if it too would feel like a marketing gimmick rather than a work designed to entertain I should have trusted the author Miranda Neville’s Burgundy Club works have all been charming touching and funny and this little story was no exceptionBelinda Lawrence has recently lost her father and wonders what to do with his book collection James Lord Corton a childhood friend whom it was always assumed she’d marry is the one she turns to for adviceBelinda has always loved James but he seems to see her as a sister He calls her Binny and doesn’t look beyond her spectacles When she broaches the topic of the book collection she hopes that James will propose at last If they marry her books will have a loving home and so she hopes will sheJames has actually at last noticed Belinda but he does not know if she wants to marry him or if she’d prefer the freedom to choose another husband He almost works Phase up the nerve to ask her to marry him but at the last minute trepidation gets the better of himWhen he confides this to Taruin Compton a fellow member of the Burgundy Club a society of book collectors Taruin suggests that James needs “the Taruin Compton School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors”Taruin advises James to discard his plan to dress as Henry VIII to an Kage Unleashed upcoming masuerade and wear a highwayman costume instead Behind his highwayman’s mask Taruin promises James will find it easier to woo BelindaOf course Taruin’s stratagem doesn’t go off without a few hitches The humorous and emotional situations resulting from the change of costume are half the fun but the endearing characters were even central to my enjoyment James and Belinda both felt kind and sympathetic but never ingratiating or cloyingI sometimes think that half the reason I prefer flawed characters is that so many times with sympathetic characters I can see the author’s hand manipulating me to like them The thing I so appreciate about Neville’s writing is that I never get this feeling with her books Her characters are likable and even sweet but in a way that feels fresh and realIn this way they resemble the execution of the storyline in “The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” There is nothing new in a storyline about a heroine who has always loved the hero from afar and a hero who hasn’t noticed her Sophie's Rogues until now It’s the same premise Heaven Next Stop: A Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot at War used in Rodale’s “Once Upon a Dream” but whereas in the latter I didn’t care in “The School of Wooing” the same familiar premise sang to meSmall touches such as Belinda’s reminiscence of her father reading Robinson Crusoe to her when she was young and James cradling the same book “as carefully as he would an infant” wit sprinkled here and there and most of all a certain tenderness in the characters make this plot feel as fresh as the Belinda and James doWhat keeps this one from an A range grade is that even here the story feels a touch too short I wish I had the chance to know these two people betterThere are also times when I want just a little emotion There’s a moment near the end of the story when James does something boneheaded that hurts Belinda He apologizes Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II uickly and it’s resolved very fast – a bit too fast for my taste I wanted the chance to feel Belinda’s hurt and anger a little longer since that would have made James’s apology that much sweeter So this story gets a BBefore I close this review I want to say a bit about the length of the stories Again these are not novella length stories but shorter works I was expecting novellas and that led me to disappointmentOnce Upon a Ballroom was 1757 locations long on my Kindle According to this post a location translates to roughly 22 or 23 words If true this means that the anthology is somewhere around 40000 words in length The four stories are each according to my calculations between 7000 28 pages and 9000 36 pages words in length Together they make Un Peacekeeping Doctrine in a New Era: Adapting to Stabilisation, Protection and New Threats up about 79% of the anthology while around 16% of the rest is comprised of excerpts from the authors’ Ich bin für mich der Wahlkampf der Tiere upcoming novels and roughly another 5% is “About the Authors” contentI was inspired to get out my calculator and figure all this out because he brevity of the stories and my feeling that three of the four ranged from so so to downright frustrating caused me to feel cheated before I read the Neville story despite the low 99 cent price And even after I read that story I didn’t feel that anthology was the bargain it had seemed to be at firstConsidering that I can spend the same 99 cents on the occasional good full length novel that’s on sale or something like Milan’s The Governess Affair I feel that with this anthology I got less for my dollar and importantly less for the time I put inOnce Upon a Ballroom is also often available free of charge At such lowno cost some readers may find it worth checking out but expectations should be adjusted according to the length of the content and the proportion of excerpts to complete storiesSincerelyJanine Ballard


10 thoughts on “Once Upon a Ballroom

  1. says:

    Free at Smashwords I'm a Caroline Linden fangirl but hadn't read the other authors in this anthology beforeThe Linden story The Truth About Love stands alone and I don't think is connected to any other series of hers and was a sweet and understated married couple remains steadfast and committed to one another It's a romance plot I like but I can see how it doesn't lend well to a full length romance novelThe Ashe story Ask Me to Dance is connected to a series but was very easily readable without knowledge of that I thought it was fun but I was a bit surprised by the backstoryemotional aspectThe Rodale story Once Upon a Dream was the most disappointing and bizarre story in this anthology It features a before and after of a couple from her upcoming full length book and had a lot of exposition ing to fit it within her series It wasn't emotionally satisfying I don't really care about two people I don't even get to know who lust after one another and then months later marryThe Neville story The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors was adorable Goodness she can write It was connected to her current series and featured uite a few characters from that series but I still found it a satisfying story on its own


  2. says:

    Four short fun stories from a uartet of very talented writers Certainly worth your 99 cents on Kindle


  3. says:

    The following review appeared at Dear Author ReadersRecently I purchased the self published anthology Once Upon a Ballroom Original Short Stories and Exclusive Excerpts I was drawn to this anthology by my interest in Miranda Neville’s story “The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” I’ve enjoyed everything I have read by Neville by which I mean the four books in her Burgundy Club seriesTo a lesser degree I’ve also enjoyed a couple of Caroline Linden’s books and she too has a story in this anthology Rounding out the anthology are stories by Katharine Ashe and Maya Rodale neither of whom I had read before but I was game to try them The anthology was priced at only 99 cents so I figured I had little to loseEach story is followed by an excerpt from a novel by the same author but I will not be reviewing these since I consider excerpts I don’t seek out akin to advertisements I have a bit to say on that topic at the end of the review but first reviews of the four stories“The Truth About Love” by Caroline LindenBookish Miranda married the glamorous sought after Damien Earl of Roxbury and has been happy with him ever since Damien has been devoted and attentive to her so Miranda’s faith in her husband remains unshaken when her gossipy sister in law informs her that Damien has “taken up with” another woman Helen MortonDamien was or less ordered by the Prince Regent to come to Brighton and give his advice on the building of the pavilion there He has written to Miranda regularly charming letters that assure her of his love But as and people hear of his affair and tell Miranda that she should not have married Damien and as the letter stop arriving it becomes harder for Miranda to keep the faithMiranda was a very sympathetic figure in this story and I could completely understand her reasons for believing in her husband even in the face of evidence to the contrary I was glad when her faith was rewarded but this story like the others in the anthology felt short to me I was expecting something novella length but it was of a short story or perhaps a novelette on the short side More on the length of content issue laterA bigger problem with “The Truth About Love” is that while there was uite a bit about Damien in Miranda’s thoughts he only showed up in person so to speak for a couple of pages at the end of the story After all the doubts that were cast on him that really wasn’t enough for me especially since it was basically his word against everyone else’sI wanted evidence of Damien’s faithfulness but even I wanted the opportunity to know him better so that I could be sure he and Miranda were a good match This felt like a story about Miranda than a story about the two of them and the ending felt abrupt although the author has a nice voice For these reasons “The Truth About Love” gets a C C from me“Ask Me To Dance” by Katharine AsheIn this story Lady Fiona attends a ball in honor of the debut her friend Cecily a girl “of low born gentility with two maiden aunts and no status to bring her out” This ball is described in the French Count of Vaucoeur’s point of view as “a miserably unfashionable fete in a dilapidated townhouse” But Vaucoeur does not care since he is there to watch Fiona from the shadowsVaucoeur served in the military with Fiona’s brother James and read Fiona’s loving letters to the man He fell for the girl in those letters and since he carries a secret which he believes would keep Fiona from returning his feelings he just watches her from the shadows for ball after ballLittle does he know that Fiona is aware of his gaze and of his identity and that she hungers for him almost as much as he does for her When the ballroom ceiling topples Fiona and Vaucoeur are separated from the other dancers and have a chance to open up to each otherThis story had a lot of potential but it was weighed down by the heightened rather purple language For example But did she know all? For if she did not and they finally spoke he could not withhold from her the truthOther examples “her insides pirouetted” I pictured a miniature ballerina in Fiona’s belly and “Her throat caught upon a swell of awe”Another problem with the story is that Vaucoeur’s baggage was heavy and involved Fiona’s brother yet these serious issues were cleared up in the blink of an eyeDespite the language and the heavy baggage or perhaps partly because of them Ashe conjures an atmosphere filled with tension both sexual and romantic There is good chemistry between the characters I give this one a CAshe mentions in a note after the story that these characters have appeared in a couple of her books so I wasn’t sure if their romance is followed in those other books as well or not This left me with mixed feelings because of my response to the Maya Rodale story“Once Upon a Dream” by Maya RodaleAnnabelle a newspaper columnist is desperately in love with her boss Derek Knightly Since Derek seems oblivious Annabelle asked her readers for advice on how to attract a man’s attention One of them “Marriage Minded Mama from Mayfair” has suggested arranging to be caught in a compromising position with the man she lovesAnnabelle dresses to a ball in something referred to as The Dress designed to catch a man’s eye She gets Knightly’s attention Soon they are in a private alcove kissing and going further until she snaps awake from the daydream Like the others this is not a long story and the daydream takes up a full third of it When I realized Annabelle had been dreaming everything I felt thwartedUnfortunately the latter two thirds of the story aren’t any satisfying Another dream takes up another third of the story And in the final third everything is resolved in a rushed unsatisfying wayA second huge issue I had with this story was that it lacked conflict either external or internal Yes we were told that Annabelle couldn’t get Derek’s attention but everything we were shown indicated otherwiseAlmost as soon as Derek appears in this story it’s clear he is attracted to Annabelle and a page or two later he gets very serious about her His commitment to her comes out of nowhere at least to this reader who has not read the books that are linked to this storyFurther since I didn’t know Annabelle or Derek from the previous books I needed a reason to connect with them I wasn’t given one here In a story this short the characters need to uickly become sympathetic or fascinating or at least a little compelling None of that happened here so I was left feeling indifferent to whether or not Derek an Annabelle ended up togetherI was further frustrated when I reached the end of the story and read that Derek and Annabelle have their own book Seducing Mr Knightly That being the case I wasn’t sure if any of the scenes in “Once Upon a Dream” were excerpted from Seducing Mr Knightly Whether or not they were I ended up feeling I had been advertised to rather than entertained D“The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” by Miranda NevilleThis story was the reason I purchased Once Upon a Ballroom After the Rodale story I was half afraid to read it I wondered if it too would feel like a marketing gimmick rather than a work designed to entertain I should have trusted the author Miranda Neville’s Burgundy Club works have all been charming touching and funny and this little story was no exceptionBelinda Lawrence has recently lost her father and wonders what to do with his book collection James Lord Corton a childhood friend whom it was always assumed she’d marry is the one she turns to for adviceBelinda has always loved James but he seems to see her as a sister He calls her Binny and doesn’t look beyond her spectacles When she broaches the topic of the book collection she hopes that James will propose at last If they marry her books will have a loving home and so she hopes will sheJames has actually at last noticed Belinda but he does not know if she wants to marry him or if she’d prefer the freedom to choose another husband He almost works up the nerve to ask her to marry him but at the last minute trepidation gets the better of himWhen he confides this to Taruin Compton a fellow member of the Burgundy Club a society of book collectors Taruin suggests that James needs “the Taruin Compton School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors”Taruin advises James to discard his plan to dress as Henry VIII to an upcoming masuerade and wear a highwayman costume instead Behind his highwayman’s mask Taruin promises James will find it easier to woo BelindaOf course Taruin’s stratagem doesn’t go off without a few hitches The humorous and emotional situations resulting from the change of costume are half the fun but the endearing characters were even central to my enjoyment James and Belinda both felt kind and sympathetic but never ingratiating or cloyingI sometimes think that half the reason I prefer flawed characters is that so many times with sympathetic characters I can see the author’s hand manipulating me to like them The thing I so appreciate about Neville’s writing is that I never get this feeling with her books Her characters are likable and even sweet but in a way that feels fresh and realIn this way they resemble the execution of the storyline in “The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors” There is nothing new in a storyline about a heroine who has always loved the hero from afar and a hero who hasn’t noticed her until now It’s the same premise used in Rodale’s “Once Upon a Dream” but whereas in the latter I didn’t care in “The School of Wooing” the same familiar premise sang to meSmall touches such as Belinda’s reminiscence of her father reading Robinson Crusoe to her when she was young and James cradling the same book “as carefully as he would an infant” wit sprinkled here and there and most of all a certain tenderness in the characters make this plot feel as fresh as the Belinda and James doWhat keeps this one from an A range grade is that even here the story feels a touch too short I wish I had the chance to know these two people betterThere are also times when I want just a little emotion There’s a moment near the end of the story when James does something boneheaded that hurts Belinda He apologizes uickly and it’s resolved very fast – a bit too fast for my taste I wanted the chance to feel Belinda’s hurt and anger a little longer since that would have made James’s apology that much sweeter So this story gets a BBefore I close this review I want to say a bit about the length of the stories Again these are not novella length stories but shorter works I was expecting novellas and that led me to disappointmentOnce Upon a Ballroom was 1757 locations long on my Kindle According to this post a location translates to roughly 22 or 23 words If true this means that the anthology is somewhere around 40000 words in length The four stories are each according to my calculations between 7000 28 pages and 9000 36 pages words in length Together they make up about 79% of the anthology while around 16% of the rest is comprised of excerpts from the authors’ upcoming novels and roughly another 5% is “About the Authors” contentI was inspired to get out my calculator and figure all this out because he brevity of the stories and my feeling that three of the four ranged from so so to downright frustrating caused me to feel cheated before I read the Neville story despite the low 99 cent price And even after I read that story I didn’t feel that anthology was the bargain it had seemed to be at firstConsidering that I can spend the same 99 cents on the occasional good full length novel that’s on sale or something like Milan’s The Governess Affair I feel that with this anthology I got less for my dollar and importantly less for the time I put inOnce Upon a Ballroom is also often available free of charge At such lowno cost some readers may find it worth checking out but expectations should be adjusted according to the length of the content and the proportion of excerpts to complete storiesSincerelyJanine Ballard


  4. says:

    short short novellasnothing catched my eye except for the last story


  5. says:

    4 very short but very sweet stories Fun


  6. says:

    Not great not bad just okay


  7. says:

    Caroline LInden's novella was the best in this offering The rest just left too much Huh do I have to get the full story?


  8. says:

    I really enjoyed the story by Caroline Linden which pushed up the overall score a lotIt really caused me to gnash my teeth though when one of the other authors referred to boxes of chocolates and how expensive it was for the gentlemen to give them to young ladies Bearing in mind that they would have had to have come through a worm hole from some fifty years in the future this is not surprising


  9. says:

    Overall a cute collection of stories I've read books by each of these authors and uite enjoyed most of them so this anthology was a nice readMaya Rodale's story was a bit disappointing though It was basically a prologue of sorts for the same book that is then previewed The other three were all complete short storiesMy favorite was Miranda Neville's and I also uite liked Caroline Linden's This is definitely worth checking out


  10. says:

    My favourite story was Miranda Neville's the School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors I read this before and liked it enough but re read it after reading the 1st2nd and 4th book of the Burgundy Club series and enjoyed it so much better since now I knew who the secondary characters were and understood the inside jokesI am a fan of all 4 authors but as an anthology this one isn't as good as At the Dukes Wedding35 stars average with MN's story outweighing the others


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