Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Gentleman's Kiss: A Romance Collection

A Gentleman's Kiss

When I saw the authors listed in this group, I was excited to read their latest novellas.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Are you ready for some good old-fashioned romance in a contemporary setting? Then you’ll enjoy these nine stories of modern women who are forced to slow down and take a new look at dating and romance when new men enter their lives. For some it will take vacation time, others will discover [it] through music, while some need the gentle nudges from both God and Grandma. Delight in discovering how chivalry is not dead despite the stresses of today’s world.

And now, my review:

As I mentioned, I was excited to read these authors’ latest novellas. I’ve long been a fan of Barbour novella collections. But as soon as I received it I saw the story’s individual copyright dates were 2003 and before. Why wasn’t this made plain? Either way, I wanted to see if the writing was as strong as I’d expect from these accomplished authors. I began with the first story and was soon disappointed. There were a slew of characters to track in the opening pages and no hook. I flipped to another one and got a little further into the story before the writing bogged down. So, I tried a bit later in the collection. This one fizzled out. Another felt like a repeat of the first novella, opening in almost exactly the same way—was this a mistake for the ARC version? One of the stories was set in Paris, and I wanted to love it, but the romance didn't progress believably. The final one I attempted to read (there are nine in all; I didn’t attempt all of them) was chock full of reader feeding, which makes for dull reading. All of these rookie mistakes can mostly be explained away by the timing. This was over ten years ago, after all. Writing and editing trends have changed since these novellas came out. I'm sure the writing skills of these authors has as well. As an editor I see writing at all levels. I was hoping to see high level writing here in my "leisure" reading. I choose recent and upcoming releases for that reason.

Overall, I was disappointed in this collection. I understand re-releasing titles, hoping to find a new life for them. I even respect that. But to not let readers know that it’s a re-release feels like a betrayal. Even on Amazon’s page for this title, there isn’t an easily spotted list of copyright dates for the original titles, only author bios. I wish these authors and this publisher the best, but I'll be more cautious in the future. 

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