cover image THE LOVE MATCH


Deborah Simmons, Deborah Hale, Nicola Cornick, . . Harlequin Historicals, $4.99 (299pp) ISBN 978-0-373-29199-1

Harlequin's Regency Bride collection features three novellas by rising stars in the Regency romance arena that will tickle the fancy of every bride-to-be and bride-at-heart. Cornick's (True Colors) "The Rake's Bride" is the strongest of the offerings. Through vivid detail, the author firmly establishes time and place for her rollicking tug-of-war between the arrogant Marquis of Merlin and Theodosia Shaw, the woman who left his cousin at the altar. In "The Notorious Duke," Simmons (My Lady De Burgh) spins an entertaining yarn starring Pagan Penhurst, a notorious rake who is challenged to find a woman immune to his charms. Penhurst is confounded when he meets Scholastica Hornsby, a young bluestocking who is innocent of the rake's seductive wiles. "Cupid Goes to Gretna," by Hale (Carpetbagger's Wife), on the other hand, is a convoluted and improbable tale featuring vivacious Ivy Greenwood, who convinces Oliver Armitage to pretend to elope to Gretna Green with her in order to nudge her brother into cementing his romance with Oliver's aunt. Each simple yet savory course is propelled by romantic tension and sprinkled with enough historical detail to satisfy fans of the period. With their spirited heroines and subtle humor, these stories are an adequate appetizer for readers new to the authors' works. (Mar.)