2/22/14 Before reading: I feel stupid wasting interlibrary loan on a paperback romance anthology. But my library doesn't have this, I really want to r2/22/14 Before reading: I feel stupid wasting interlibrary loan on a paperback romance anthology. But my library doesn't have this, I really want to read the Florand story, and I don't want to pay for this overpriced book particularly since reviews aren't terribly great. I'll post a review once I've received & read the book.
* * * * *
3/6/14 Upon reading: First of all, I need to warn you if you've read this far that my 4-star vote is for Florand's "A Rose in Winter" only. (I also read Linda Lael Miller's "The 24 Days of Christmas" which was sweet, old-fashioned and forgettable. I'd give it 2.5. I skipped the other novellas as I'm not a fan of Christmas-themes or very short novellas. No offense to other authors involved is intended.)
2nd warning: This is more of a reader opinion than a review. I loved Florand's novella, and recommend it to you highly IF what I'm going to rant about now will not bother you.
So....the love story between Raoul and Allegra is very sweet. They are a great couple. I really wish I could have spent MORE time with them. But what really bugged me about the book was that Florand put in all this backstory and plot elements that were never resolved. THAT was frustrating! I'm still peeved.
We have: (view spoiler)[1)A hostile relationship between Raoul's Grandpa and Great Aunt that evidently grew out of something in the past which seems to have involved helping mothers and children escape from Nazis. (Again, no resolution.) 2)A mystery perfume box or snuffbox that may or may not lead to a historic treasure trove. Ownership is disputed. (Again, no resolution) 3) All kinds of mostly unexplained family dynamics over several generations, with hints but, again, no explainations or resolution, 4) A hero with an amazing backstory and a fascinating career, but no details and story stopped midstream. I'd love to know more about Raoul's past, and find out about his future, but again, no luck with that. And, 4) Allegra's past sounds pretty interesting too, as well as her choice of PhD. reasearch, motivation for being in France, and close relationship with the Great Aunt. Again, intriguing, but no backstory or resolution. (hide spoiler)] See why I say Argh!?!
So, as a reader I'm PISSED. This was too good of a story hook to just be thrown out as bait.
Also, If it was intended to either 1)attract new Florand readers, or 2)serve as a taster to the La Vie en Roses series, it just doesn't work well for READERS either way. This type of anthology is rarely a keeper, few are going to go back and order it, and we readers still have no continuance of the series available to us. (Except for Lea's story, which other than her being a cousin of Raoul has nothing to do with the plot introduced here.)
So, here's hoping that since Florand has decided to move to self-publishing, we readers will eventually get to continue on with the series hopefully in full book length, and several of them at that. I'll be watching for them. As well, I hope Florand will eventually self-publish this novella or at least expand on it. I'd really like to add it to my collection. But, as stated below, I really don't want to pay for a bunch of fluff that I'm not interested in reading just to own this novella.
P.S. And, just to clarify, as a reader, I'm glad Florand's moving to self-publishing. Again, as a reader, I owe no loyalty to publishers that I can see. (Plus, they pull this kind of junk which I find aggravating.)
I'm predicting Publishing is going to die sooner rather than later because this kind of business model just plain doesn't work for me the consumer.
Okay, enough ranting. If you happen to read this and want to comment, I'd enjoy seeing others thoughts.
* * * * *
(P.S. I still feel this way so am leaving it in.) A Suggestion for E-book publishers: I really wish we could buy stories from anthologies individually. I'd pay $2 for one of these stories, but really don't care to pay the whole price for the package.
Publishers? Are you listening? I bet there are more customers like me out there.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more