THE DIAMONDS OF WELBOURNE MANOR
DIANE GASTON; DEB MARLOWE; AMANDA MCCABE
Harlequin Historical, an imprint of Harlequin Books
Rating: 4 Cups
Justine and the Noble Viscount
Gerald Brenner never saw himself as the type to be a guardian, especially to some unconventional boys and girls. That is exactly what he has to become when his mother and her lover-turned husband die from a fever while they are honeymooning in Italy.
Justine Savard knew before the Duke and Duchess left that something was going to happen. With a feeling of foreboding, the Duchess had imparted to Justine that her son would carry any grave news to her and her siblings if need be.
Now with the Duke and Duchess gone, Justine must help Brenner sort through his mother’s items. Feeling abandoned as a child when his mother left him and his father for her lover, Brenner cannot cope with who his mother has become. Turning to Justine, he is offered solace in her arms with consequences that may lead to marriage.
The opening story by Ms. Gaston was a good read and a nice way to introduce us to the story of the Fitzmanning family. I liked the way Brenner went from being a very proper Viscount to loosening up enough to enjoy the Fitzmanning children. Justine was great as well, I saw her as the rock the family leans upon when the time came and the glue that holds the family together. The only downfall to this story was the fact that so much time was spent going through the Duchess’ possessions that we did not get to know the two main characters enough.
Annalise and the Scandalous Rake
Ned Milford has been invited to a Welbourne party at the Manor. While there, he is hoping to dig up some dirt about the supposedly scandalous parties that are thrown by the Fitzmanning children.
Annalise Fitzmanning is an artist with a keen eye for beauty and color. She notices Ned’s hair first and tries to figure out which color would be used to paint it.
Soon Annalise and Ned find themselves attracted to each other to the point where they cannot seem to keep their hands off each other. But while they have much in common, there is another man who wants Annalise as his wife. And with everything else standing in their way, what will happen when Annalise realizes that Ned is there for ulterior motives that could ruin her already scandalous reputation?
Ms. Marlowe takes a beautiful woman and pits her against a man who has a huge secret to hide. I love how Annalise is poised and beautiful and still manages to keep society on its toes with her artistic abilities and unconventional ways. Ned has a way of digging deep and seeing Annalise for who she is, even when her own family cannot. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found myself enthralled with the characters.
Charlotte and the Wicked Lord
Charlotte Fitzmanning is the youngest girl of the bunch. For some reason, trouble always seems to find her, especially when it comes to Lord Andrew Bassington or Drew as her brother calls his best friend.
Drew has always considered Charlotte to be a dear friend, someone to tease and treat like his own sister. Suddenly though, Charlotte is not so little and his feelings toward her are not brotherly.
When a house party is thrown at the Manor, Charlotte finds herself anticipating Drew’s arrival until she finds out he is looking for a proper wife. Considering that she cannot walk without tripping over her own two feet, Charlotte figures her chances are slim to none. When the prim, proper, and beautiful Lady Emily comes to the party Charlotte becomes heartsick at the thought of Drew and her in wedded bliss. Will Charlotte be able to show Drew that sometimes it is not the mind that marriage should follow but the heart?
Ms. McCabe has written an amazing story of friendship, love, and the journey getting from one to the other. I absolutely adored this tale and found Charlotte to be funny and endearing. Drew reminds me of a boy who is trying hard to be this little man and cannot quite figure it out. What a great story with some new characters that bring a twist of intrigue to this tale.
The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor is a three part story with three very different writing styles. While I love the concept of the different love stories, I was disappointed that some of the more major characters did not have their stories told as well. I wish we could have seen the Fitzmanning brothers find their loves as well as Emily and another character from the third tale. I found the last two stories much easier to read than the first one. All three stories did leave me with a smile on my face and the end of the book was perfect.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More