Book Review: Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology

img_1965Title: Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology
Author: Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Lee Guhrke, Stefanie Sloane
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback

When four friends, Beatrice, Anne, Elizabeth and Elinor, find a sixpence in an old mattress at Madame Rochambeaux’s Gentle School for Girls, they know that despite their difference in social classes, they will be forever bonded. Remembering the old nursery rhyme about marriage they decide that this will be their lucky coin to find true love and prosperous marriages.

“Something old
Something new
Something borrowed
Something blue
And a sixpence in her shoe”

I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies. On the plus side, I appreciate the short stories, especially those that intersect and it’s a great opportunity to try out an author I might not have read before. On the opposite side though, the short stories can sometimes feel rushed at the end since they have to wrap up so quickly and there is usually one story that just doesn’t match up to the others in quality and interest.

Julia Quinn is my absolute favorite author. After reading the Avon teen romances, she was the first author I picked in the romance genre to try and fell in love with her Bridgerton series. Her premise for this story about 4 friends and the age-old marriage nursery rhyme fit well in Regency England. However, each story was very clearly its own story, which left me with a bit of disconnect. I would have like to have seen the 4 girls cross over within each story a bit more, however I understand that would have been difficult to do given the four authors each developed one of the girls. I did appreciate though, the difference in social classes and how each still made very respectable matches, keeping some variety in the story.

Sloane’s story of Anne read as a typical romance novel. Girl needs to marry a respectable man, girl meets non-respectable man, Rhys, and he agrees to help her find a respectable husband, man falls in love with girl, man and girl are stubborn and don’t see they’re in love, they live happily ever after.  It was the prefect start to the premise of the rhyme and offered a story line that was refined and felt like it wrapped up well.

Boyle’s story while the longest, was the cutest play on the rhyme for “something borrowed”. While it felt like it concluded it well enough, it did feel a bit dragged out at times between Cordelia and Christopher Talcott. However, it also had the most supporting characters in my opinion which helped to provide depth to the characters and story itself, which could account for the longer story.

Guhrke’s story, while an interesting premise and did bring more to the story of the girls growing up, seemed to end quite suddenly. All of the building and tension between Elinor and Lawrence in response to the case against her father felt like it needed some big ending and instead it just sort of ended and everyone lived happily ever after. I also would have liked to have seen a better idea for “something blue” than blue eyes. It was my least favorite of the four stories.

Quinn’s story was short (the shortest of the four stories), sweet and the perfect conclusion. Beatrice and Frederick seemed to have the most depth of any of the characters and the way it was released little by little with the growing attraction between them made the conclusion make sense and feel well-timed.

4 Stars


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