REVIEW of An Autumn Kiss (Timeless Victorian Collection #7) by Laura Rollins, Annette Lyon, and Lisa H. Catmull (BLOG TOUR)

An Autumn Kiss is the seventh book in the Timeless Victorian Collection, a bestselling anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from acclaimed historical romance authors whose stories reveal if one kiss will change the lives of the three heroines.

This installment contains: “The Plucky Miss Ruth,” by Laura Rollins; “Mr. Dowling’s Remedy,” by Annette Lyon; and “A Railway Through the Roses,” by Lisa H. Catmull. The book releases on September 20, 2022.


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MY REVIEW

This set of three Victorian novellas were loosely connected by their seasonal setting and the fact that they are romances, but other than that, they felt very distinct in atmosphere and theme.

The first novella, “The Plucky Miss Ruth,” was a countryside story involving a young lady meddling in her cousin’s happiness. Ruth, having failed to find a husband in London due to her outspoken nature, discovers that the handsome Lord Lambert finds her interests in science and current events intriguing. Together, Ruth and Lord Lambert scheme to throw Ruth’s grieving cousin together with a former suitor, in hopes that the two will find happiness. In the midst of their machinations, Ruth and Lord Lambert discover love as well. The stakes of this story were fairly low (“Will Ruth’s cousin get upset at her for meddling?”), and I found it the least compelling of the three novellas.

The second novella, “Mr. Dowling’s Remedy,” had a much more sinister setting. Thrust into an asylum due to his involuntary cursing and violent ticks, Mr. Crandall Dowling despairs of every being released to finish out medical school. When Beverly Stanton, accused of hysteria by her greedy step-father, joins the asylum roster, Mr. Dowling finds a kindred spirit who sees past his outbursts to the real him. Together, Mr. Dowling and Miss Stanton try to find a solicitor who will prove that they are wrongfully incarcerated, but when Miss Stanton is released first, will she return for the one who helped her leave? This story was full of drama and danger and compelling characters, and I confess that wrongful imprisonment in a Victorian asylum is a trope that I love well.

The third novella, “A Railway through the Roses,” was a fascinating friends to lovers story. Mr. Adrian Everard needs childhood friend Lady Anne Baxter to sell him her rose garden land so that he can bring a railroad line through the area and boost the local economy. At the same time, his father insists that he marry an eligible heiress to finance the rest of the rail line. Despairing of Adrian ever seeing her as a woman, Anne puts down her foot and refuses to sell the rose garden…while simultaneously trying to drive off all the supercilious heiresses that Adrian has invited to his house party. This unique story shows the difficulty surrounding an impecunious gentleman offering for a lady he truly cares for without being considered a fortune hunter. The characters were well-drawn and the plot fit tightly into the novella format.

Although Regency is my preferred era, these Victorian novellas were easy and enjoyable reads–and as I always say, sometimes you just want a historical “short” to breeze through before turning in for the night.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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