The Lady Most Likely...

The Lady Most Likely...: A Novel in Three Parts - Julia Quinn, Connie Brockway, Eloisa James

While the three stories are interconnected, their respective authors keep them separate and contained. This does allow everyone a clear narrative without many of the plot holes that multiple authors leave, but it also makes all three stories incredibly rushed and clipped. There's also no external conflict, except one character in Julia Quinn's third who doesn't make a bit of difference to the plot. 

Of the thirds, Quinn's is the best and also the most ridiculous. The other two focus on rekindling old relationships, but she chooses to go with love at first sight. It could be done well, if she'd had the time to drag their romance through the whole week in the country. Instead, characters undergo wilddevelopment in the space of a few hours. By the second night, the couple has been caught canoodling and is engaged, not out of honor but because they really really love each other. Quinn even acknowledges how ridiculous this is, when Gwen realizes she doesn't know Alec's name halfway through their courtship.

Brockway's section is fine, if a bit predictable. Headstrong and blunt young woman is finally put in her place by the rake she longed for but couldn't have. The addition of his unwavering honor made for a bit of tension, but it was all resolved too neatly and easily. Her father shows up to chaperon them, but isn't mentioned after that page. I'm more interested in what he said when confronted by Oakes, 4 years after he denied Oakes' initial courtship. 

James' section was probably the worst. She tries for some conflict between Georgie's desire and her memory of her ex-husband, but it comes off as very strange. Richard is by turns cruel, but loving, but fashionable, but a prude, but she loved him, but did she? but... The sex is the most explicit, but also the most full of distracting euphemisms. Again, the couple is caught, this time having full on intercourse in a field. Does Georgina's reputation suffer? Who cares, even though she finally confessed that what she's really afraid of is not being able to have a baby, (that's a trope I wish would die,) she gets pregnant on the first! time! And, we know that because she dreamed of her baby. Earlier in the book, there was gossip about how a pair of twins looked awfully well developed for being so "pre-mature". Hope Georgie enjoys suffering that same gossip.

Still, the characters were all endearing. The story was fun and fluffy. I've read worse, and I think I'll give Quinn and Brockway, at least, another chance with full length stories.