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Dressed to Kiss

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True love never goes out of style ...
Once renowned for creating the most envied gowns in London, Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop has fallen far out of fashion. The approaching coronation of King George IV offers a chance to reclaim former glory by supplying stunning new wardrobes to the most glittering society in Regency England. In the face of long-held secrets, looming scandals, and the potential ruin of their shop, the dressmakers of Follette’s are undaunted, not even by the most unexpected complication of all: true love.

The Duke’s Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter
When the Duke of Barrowmore walks into the dress shop, Selina Fontaine assumes her secret identity will compromised. Four years ago this man’s brother seduced her and abandoned her to scandal, and she holds the duke responsible. To her amazement the duke is more interested in pursuing her than exposing her, however—and that pursuit soon becomes seductively pleasurable.

The Colors of Love by Myretta Robens
Delyth Owen’s exuberant passion for her new job as a dressmaker at Madame Follette’s is matched only by her love of diverse, vibrant, and frequently unfortunate color combinations. Simon Merrithew, the pseudonymous author of a well-regarded fashion column, is horrified by the gown Delyth creates for a friend, and suspects her motives. He sets out to uncover her duplicity, but instead, he uncovers genuine joy and discovers the colors of love.

No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton
Miss Katherine Grant is a lady’s companion, one whose number of dishonorable offers (six) greatly outweigh her honorable ones (zero). Now tasked with making certain her charge, Lady Euphemia, does not contract herself to someone inappropriate, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Mr. Henry Dawkins, the inappropriate gentleman Lady Euphemia wants to charm, who keeps the books at Madame Follette's. But it seems that Henry only has eyes for Miss Katherine Grant.

A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden
Madame Follette’s is Felicity Dawkins’s birthright; her mother founded it, and now she runs it. She's fiercely committed to making it the most exclusive modiste in London. The Earl of Carmarthen also has big plans for the shop—he wants to buy it and tear it down, to make way for a grand new boulevard of shops. One way or another, he’s determined to persuade Felicity…not only to sell her shop, but to explore the passion that sparks between them every time they meet.

374 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 8, 2016

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About the author

Madeline Hunter

85 books1,941 followers
Madeline Hunter is a nationally bestselling author of historical romances who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. Her books have won two RITA awards and seven nominations, and have had three starred reviews in Publishers Weekly. In a parallel existence to the one she enjoys as a novelist, Madeline has a Ph.D. in art history and teaches at an East Coast university.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 65 reviews
Profile Image for Becca.
639 reviews96 followers
September 14, 2016
Dressed to Kiss had everything I love about anthologies: sweet stories, an original idea that links the stories together, and quick reading. Aside from one story I had trouble connecting with fully, I really enjoyed this installment and highly recommend it (rounded up my rating to 5 stars). I have each of my reviews for the stories included below:

Madeline Hunter, The Duke's Dressmaker, Rating- 4.5 stars, Steam-hot (explicit sex scenes).

I have found that I am not usually a fan of Hunter's longer novels, but both novellas I have read of hers have been delightful. The hero does not make a good first impression in this book, but the short format enabled me to get through to the good stuff faster and ultimately enjoy the story immensely.

In this story, the Duke of Barrowmore is escorting his wayward brother's new, naive, and selfish wife to acquire new clothes because his brother is currently out of town, hiding from creditors. Upon entering the shop, he recognizes that the assigned dressmaker is none other than the woman his brother ruined years ago and he wanted all to himself.

The Duke is at first a bit of a high-handed, misogynistic, sex addict but this (fortunately!) quickly dissipates as he starts to see Selina Fontaine as the poised, beautiful woman that she is.

The pace of the story is rapid and the jump to marriage and the resolution of past hurts is a bit rushed, but I loved the writing and the vivid depictions of clothes and elegant wooing that ensues. The relationship was earthy and the attraction was expertly built. If you love Madeline Hunter, you will enjoy this offering. If you haven't liked the heroes of Hunter's in her full length novels, still give this a try--in short format, the unattractive initial thoughts of the heroes quickly dissipate.

Second in the anthology is Myretta Robens, Threads of Love, Rating 2.5 stars, Steam-warm (some descriptive sex, but not fully explicit).

In the second installment of the anthology, I was introduced to a new-to-me author. Unfortunately, the writing style and the characters didn't work for me. I think this is the shortest novella in the collection and it took me a couple of weeks to read it. This is most likely a symptom of the author's inexperience and could improve with time. It was just really jarring to jump into this story after reading Hunter's excellent opening novella.

In this story, we have Delyth, a costume designer from the theater who is trying to transition to a more respectable position at Madame Folette's. Her transition would be simple if it weren't for her abominable taste in color and the unfortunate article that a fashion columnist published criticizing the wild colors she selected for a gown.

The columnist, Simon Merithew, thinks that Delyth deliberately set about to humiliate the wearer of the gown he found so offensive and sets about entrapping Delyth to reveal her true motives.

I really didn't like the premise of this story. I very rarely come to like heroes who initially encounter heroines they are hoping to humiliate. Heroes that are so shallow to focus on belittling a woman very rarely redeem themselves in my eyes. It was also unbelievable to me that Simon would be so obsessed with women's clothes and colors. Perhaps this is just an oversight on my part, but I had a hard time understanding what really motivated him. As for Delyth, I didn't like how she continued to find Simon attractive after how he treated her.

In addition to characterization that I didn't connect with, the writing style was also a bit odd. There was a lot of internal reflection and a lot of showing, not telling. There were glimmers of good writing, but on the whole, the story just felt flat to me and if this wasn't an ARC and I was looking forward to tying all of the stories together, I wouldn't have finished it. Thus far, I haven't seen any true connection to the other stories and it could be skipped.

Third in the anthology is Megan Frampton, No Accounting for Love, Rating 3.75 stars, Steam-warm (sex, some detail, but not a lot of pages, slightly more than Robens)

Megan Frampton is relatively new to the historical romance scene and while I didn't enjoy my first two encounters with her work (a bit too graphic on the sex for me), I must say I've had more luck with her later work. Unlike many authors, Frampton seeks to tell romantic stories about people who don't quite have all the suave and finesse we typically see in romanceland. This story was no different. Henry Dawkins, brother of Felicity Dawkins, helps his sister with her dressmaker shop by keeping the books. Numbers make sense to him, even if people do not. When he encounters Katharine, the companion of a woman he rejected years ago (who still hasn't quite gotten the message), his world goes a little sideways and all the awkwardness he feels inside comes to the fore. Henry is a large man and he doesn't quite feel comfortable in his own skin. If this had been a longer novel, the constant doubt about his appearance might have made me dislike the hero. However, the distorted body image wasn't too drawn out in the shorter format so I ended up whipping through pages to see how Katharine (also slightly awkward) and Henry would finally connect.

Both characters are sweet and seek out time together. There is a lot of sexual tension between the two and it is funny to see the silly thoughts each had as they tried to understand the new feelings. It did make me feel like I was reading about younger characters than I really was.

Overall, a sweet story without any angst with awkward virgins exploring each other. If you don't like at least a little discomfiture, skip this one. If you like to read about characters that start with a lesser body image and grow into their own, you'll enjoy this offering.

The final installment (and the reason I picked up this anthology) is Caroline Linden, A Fashionable Affair, Rating: 4.5 stars, Steam- hot (explicit sex scenes)

I will admit now that I am a huge fan of Caroline Linden, particularly her newest work. Whew, I love her heroes and the sexual tension she can build between them. Even though this was only a novella, the attraction between these two characters built quickly due to their physical attraction and well as their snappy banter. Here, Linden brings the story full circle, wrapping up the loose ends from the Prologue and mentioning each of the characters from the other novellas.

In this novella, we finally get Felicity Dawkins' story. She has been running Madame Folette's modiste shop in her mother's stead and has been burdened with ensuring a livlihood for her family and the seamstresses that depend on her. She feels that she is gaining ground when the Earl of Carmarthen storms in a claims that he is demolishing the entire street to build anew and she must vacate. What ensues is a battle of wills as each comes to understand the positions of the other Pride and Prejudice style. The arguments and doubts that each character had felt real, their attraction burned up the pages, and the ending came too quickly.

Overall, this was a wonderful way to end a strong and original anthology that gave me fresh look at dressmakers. Highly recommend this for a fun, fairytale-like escape.

I received a complimentary copy to read and provide an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Sabrina Jeffries.
Author 92 books4,482 followers
August 15, 2017
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. The setting of a dress shop was wonderful, since it's not something you see a lot in Regency romances, and I loved that the authors focused on tradeswomen as heroines. Many people don't realize that there WERE women in that period who ran their own businesses--and were successful at it. The romances were unique, the characters intriguing, and I had trouble putting the book down, always a good sign. I would certainly recommend this one.
Profile Image for Andrea.
901 reviews131 followers
April 21, 2017
Meh. Overall, I only enjoyed two of the four stories, and since those were the last two I almost gave up on this several times. So, 3 stars for the anthology as a whole, which is set around a dressmaker shop, featuring two dressmakers, and the owner's daughter and son.

Madeline Hunter: The Dukes Dressmaker
The first story after the prologue that nicely sets up all the characters in and around the dressmakers shop. I didn't like this story at all. The Duke's sister-in-law need a new wardrobe and because she's a bit of an airhead he decides to supervise her visit to the dressmaker. He realizes the woman used to be his brother's lover and is for some reason furious with her. I never warmed up to the Duke , and his realization that he was in love was too sudden and unbelievable for me ~ 1 star

Myretta Robens: The Colors of Love
This story made no sense to me. That might be the authors' lack of experience, but overall I did not care for this. The hero is upset that some woman (it never became clear to me what their relationship was) was wearing a "hideous" dress somewhere and assumes that the dressmaker must have done this on purpose. So he hunts that dressmaker down and meets with her under the guise that his sister needs new gowns. He soon realizes that the dressmaker just has no sense at all for colors (at some point she wants to make a dress made of "tangerine and pistachio" fabric...) and offers to teach her what colors suit or don't suit people for some reason, for which purpose he invites her to stay at his place. As in the first story, their physical relationship started out of nowhere and never managed to convince me . ~ 1.5 stars

Megan Frampton: No Accounting for Love
I loved this story. It was about two adorably shy and awkward idiots who realize that they have found the one person around which they can be at ease, and I would've loved to read more about them. ~ 4.5 stars

Caroline Linden: A Fashionable Affair
The reason I read this book. I love Linden's writing and her ability to create relatable and interesting characters even in the shortest novellas. Her story is about the shop owner's daughter who is currently running the shop and the Earl who wants to buy up all the properties on the street so it can be modernized. I loved that these two slowly and gradually got to know each other (of all the stories, these two spend the most time together). They had the strongest connection in my opinion, because they earn each other's trust over time, and I loved reading about them. ~ 5 stars
Profile Image for Joana V..
344 reviews71 followers
September 11, 2016
I've received a copy in exchange for a honest review.

Review in Portuguese:

This book is an anthology with four stories, all of them connected by Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop. I’ll give my opinion about each of the stories individually and then I’ll bundle them all up.

First, I just want to say that I’ve only read books by Madeline Hunter (one of my auto-buy authors), from whom I got this review copy, so the other three writers were a complete novelty for me.

The first story, written by Madeline Hunter, is about the Duke of Barrowmore and Selina Fontaine, one of the dressmakers. Selina already has a story connected with the Duke, and when he enters the shop, she became scared that he’ll reveal that she is gentry, and most importantly, that she had been practically abandoned by her almost fiancé. As you can imagine, the stories aren’t very long, so I won’t dwell on them, or I risk telling you everything. It’s a sweet romance, with witty and sexy scenes and, as always, Madeline Hunter’s writing creates an atmosphere that leads to a well-spent time reading one of her stories. It was one of my favourites of the anthology. (3.75*).

The second story, by Myretta Robens, was my favourite probably because it was a bit different than what I’m used to – not that that means that it’s not a Regency romance that ends well, it is, but it shows the two main characters, Delyth Owen and Simon Merrithew, in a different light that I enjoyed (an example is the way the two of them meet). Delyth is the most recent dressmaker at Follete’s, and her style is, at the very least, irreverent. This doesn’t mean that she has a bad sense of style or that she is cruel to her costumers (in the way that she would be dressing them poorly and making fun of them), like Simon initially thinks. I really liked seeing Simon changing and, consequently the reader, which led to an understanding of Delyth’s love for colour and fashion, making Simon fall in love with her, and the way she loves life itself. I think that was my favourite part, the fact that it had so much life, so much colour, so much… of everything! And in so few pages. (4*)

The third story, by Megan Frampton, ended up being the one I liked least. Not that it wasn’t sweet (in some way it may even be the sweetest of them all), but it lacked credibility regarding the characters, which made me feel quite distanced from them. Although I did like Henry Dawlkins, son of the owner, Madame Follete, and brother of Felicity Dawkins, the current store manager, the image that came to mind was that he looked like a giant teddy bear, that was afraid he was going to hurt someone just by being who he was. Katherine Grant, the female leading character, wasn’t my favourite. I don’t think she was created in a very coherent way, regarding what she was in the beginning and at the end of the story – I’m sorry for repeating myself, but I think it lacked credibility. (3.25*)

The last plot is by Caroline Linden, and it’s the story of Felicity Dawkins and the Earl of Carmarthen. Felicity, which showed up briefly in the other stories, seemed more interesting there than here, she seemed to have a bit more wit and a stronger character, which is too bad because it raised my expectations for her story and when I read it, it didn’t quite reach them. However, I would like to mention that Felicity is the kind of woman that takes matters into her own hands, and can deal with whatever problems that shows up, no matter how difficult they are. About Carmarthen there’s not much to say, which is sad, because I think he could have been much more developed and explored, making him a more interesting character. Although it was a good story, it left too many unanswered questions for my taste, because this story was where I thought we would actually know what would happen to everyone, but that did not happen. (3.5*)

By this, I mean that even though I actually enjoyed reading this book, it left me a bit disappointed, because I wanted to know what would happen to Follete’s, after two of the dressmakers married a Duke and an Earl. Because if Henry could still be Follette’s accountant, and Delyth a dressmaker, I’m not sure if Katherine would still be a chaperone or now just a wife, if Selina becomes a Duchess and stops all work at Follete’s and becomes a patron or if she’s still part of the shop, creating models, for example, or even if Felicity stayed running the store but now from the backstage because of her position or even if her mother was again the face of the shop or was pushed aside for ever. These are questions I would have liked to see handled, but that, sadly, I’ll never know the answer.

In conclusion, a reading that gave me great pleasure, full of romance and beauty, that showed a turning point in the history of fashion, regarding styles and colour, bringing at the same time a regency love story that will please the readers.
Profile Image for Inna.
1,385 reviews189 followers
October 5, 2021
"The Duke’s Dressmaker" 1 star. A poorly written story overall. The details of the past that led the heroine to become a dressmaker made little sense. The dialogue was stilted and unoriginal. The hero was one dimensional and like a caricature or a Duke. Needless to say, I didn’t like this story. Safe, virgin heroine, experienced hero. Heroine was never with the hero’s brother sexually, as was implied.

“The Colors of Love” 2 stars. Just a very underdeveloped story. The writing was slightly better than the first, but I still wouldn’t call it good. I do like the concept for this series of novellas… but the execution so far seems poorly done. Safety was good in this one, no others, she was a virgin, his past not discussed.

I can't make myself continue on with this book, maybe the next two stories will end up better, but the third wasn't much more interesting right from the start.
Profile Image for seton.
713 reviews291 followers
September 16, 2016
4 stars for the Madeline Hunter novella, which was the reason I picked this up.

I started the Robens but it did not hold my interest.

I have read the other 2 authors before and would normally read Linden if it was full-length AND IF it had tropes that interested me. Frockmaker stories don't interest me at all tho. Sorry.
Profile Image for Barbara Rogers.
1,506 reviews141 followers
November 12, 2018
The Prologue sets up the background and the premise of the stories very nicely. It explains Madame Folette's shop and how they came to be in the predicament they were in. It also introduces the characters and their roles in the shop as well as their relationships to each other.
What was missing? Well, an epilogue. Each story had its beginning and its end, but overall, we never really learned what happened with the shop. Each story also ended rather abruptly. Each seamstress married wealthy, aristocratic husbands, so -- did they continue to work in the shop? And, Henry -- with all of the wealthy new aristocratic connections, did he manage to get more clients so he could support himself and his new bride?

I rated each story separately and then came up with an average of those for the whole anthology. The overall rating is 3.75, but I’ve rounded it up to a 4.
The Duke’s Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter -- 4.5 of 5 Stars

This was a lovely romance between a Duke and a gentleman’s daughter turned seamstress. It amazes me that some authors can write a short story that is complete and robust with fully developed characters that you’d like to know. This is that sort of story.
Mrs. Selina Fontaine is really Selina Duval who was ruined by Giles, the brother to the powerful Duke of Barrowmore. She had done nothing wrong, but her reputation was shattered by lies and innuendo. Her parents were suffering terribly from the scandal in her village, so she decided to leave. Now, she’s in London working as a dress designer and seamstress.

Randal (Rand) Woodville, Duke of Barrowmore is rich, powerful and totally accustomed to getting his own way in everything. Well, he gets his way in everything except his brother behaving like the gentleman he is supposed to be. Rand is constantly paying off Giles’ debts even though Giles has ample income of his own.

One day, as Selina is fitting a dress for a client – yes, she knows that the client is the wife of the man who ruined her – but, she can handle that as long as she doesn’t have to meet him or his brother. As she is getting some fabrics, she hears a voice – a much-dreaded voice. No! She cannot face him now.

The Duke is shocked to see the woman who was once his brother’s liaison. What is she doing in this shop fitting clothing? The Duke can’t let it go and makes more and more excuses to see her and to get to know her better. Selina is resistant at first but comes to care for the Duke.
It was a lovely read.
The Colors of Love by Myretta Robens – 2.5 of 5 Stars

This is a highly improbable tale from a new-to-me author. The writing was well done and the ARC was one of the cleanest I’ve ever read – no typo’s etc. The characters just didn’t resonate with me and I had a hard time figuring out where they were coming from.

Delyth’s family is wealthy gentry, but she wants more, so she runs away to London. She finds work as a costume seamstress in a local theater and works there until she finds a more respectable employment as a seamstress at Madame Folette's. Delyth is a gifted designer and seamstress but has absolutely no color sense at all. She dearly loves bright, intense colors and mixes them together liberally – to the point that they hurt your eyes to look at them. To her delight, she finally had a customer, Lady Marjoribanks whose taste ran along the same lines as hers and they created a gown. Delyth’s description of the dress colors is: “Oh, they were wonderful: a deep crimson with a violet over-skirt, yellow piping, and just a hint of the palest green lace.” Delyth is so happy until she reads the fashion column, Aglaea’s Cabinet, in the newspaper and it speaks of the dress worn by Lady M.

Simon Merithew is the brother of a Viscount and he’s also the author of the fashion column, Aglaea’s Cabinet. He has immediately jumped to the conclusion that this dressmaker must have decided to shame Lady M by displaying her in such awful colors and he decides to expose her for doing it. So, he brings his sister to the dress shop and commissions Delyth to make her a gown – then, he demands that she make several gowns and that she must live in their home will doing so.
At Simon’s home, Delyth enters through the front door, she is served tea in the drawing room with Simon and his sister and she is provided with a sumptuous visitor’s bedchamber. That is one of the most improbable situations I’ve read in a long time. Then, Simon actively pursues her and proposes marriage. Sorry, I just didn’t see the attraction nor did I believe the scenario.
No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton – 4 of 5 Stars

I liked this story. You have two people of disparate backgrounds who find that one other person with whom they can be comfortable and ‘at home’. Henry Dawkins is a huge, but gentle man. He seems to fit that old saying “a bull in a china shop”. There are few if any, small-to-medium sized heroes in romance books, but Henry is larger than most. Add that he is shy and socially awkward and you have a really sweet and lovable hero. Henry’s sister Felicity is the one who now runs their mother’s dress shop.

Our heroine, Katherine, is the daughter of a Viscount who was impoverished before he died. There was no money to settle on Katherine and she had to enter service as a companion to a spoiled, rich, beautiful heiress. That heiress has set her sights on Henry because he is the one man who has said ‘NO’ to her (yep – I don’t buy it either). The heiress decides to go to the dress shop and wait until Henry is there without his sister. That way, she can basically blackmail him into coming to her home for dancing lessons. Henry has no interest whatsoever in the heiress, but he is very attracted to the heiress’ companion, Katherine.

I loved both the hero and heroine, they were lovely together. I loved that both were virgins and that they learned together. I’m not sure how Henry could take on the expense of having a wife nor was I confident of his financial success, but I still enjoyed the love story between Henry and Katherine.
A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden -- 4 of 5 Stars
As always, this author created lovely, relatable characters in a lovely romance. Is it a plausible situation? No, but I loved it anyway. The writing is excellent and the story well plotted. I liked both the hero and the heroine.

Felicity Dawkins grew up in her mother’s dress shop. She was put to work picking up dropped pins, scissors, etc. as a very small child and she picked up more and more responsibilities as she grew up – until finally – she was a designer and seamstress. Now, she manages the shop for her mother and she is absolutely determined to bring the shop back to the prominence it once had. She loves the shop and is giving it her all – and then – a man shows up and he’s trying to take it from her! NO!

The Earl of Carmarthen likes order – modern, clean lines and amenities. He’s brought that to his country estate after it burned and he rebuilt. Now, he wants to bring that same modernization to Vine Street. It is a street that is slowly falling into ruin with old buildings in need of repair and sewers that leak and allow water to stand in the street. He’s bought the entire street – well – all of it except for one building and the obstinate shrew of an owner refuses to sell. WHAT! Since his solicitor hasn’t had any luck convincing the lady, he’ll just go to the shop and speak to her himself. Good luck with that!

Felicity obstinately refuses to approach her mother about selling the building. However, Carmarthen explains to her exactly what is getting ready to happen on the street. She can either sell to him now and profit from the sale or she can wait while he tears down the rest of the buildings, tears up the street itself while he installs gas lines, plumbing, and sewers and she’ll still have to close her doors because her customers won’t be able to reach her and her inventory will be ruined from the dust and dirt created by the construction.

Felicity isn’t a fool and she knows he’s right in everything he’s said – but – she also knows he REALLY wants her building in order to do the entire street. So, there is a small window where she has the upper hand in bargaining with him and she intends to use that to her best advantage. And she does!

I loved watching the two of them dance around each other. I love that Felicity wasn’t a pushover and that she stood up for herself and her business. It was a lovely romance.
Profile Image for Phoenix77.
347 reviews42 followers
September 15, 2016
The best romance anthologies are where the stories are linked around a common theme or a single moment. In Dressed to Kiss all four authors have set their stories in and around a dressmaking shop that has seen better days but has a second chance to succeed with the upcoming coronation of King George VI. The women (and one man) who work in the shop each have unique stories to tell and each author puts wonderful spin on love beating the odds.

Please read the reviews for each short story at Romantic Historical Reviews
Profile Image for Desi.
524 reviews93 followers
August 13, 2017
Plagued by all the usual novella inadequacies. Chock full of unlikely line crossing between people of different societal stations. Pretty bleh overall. And some sub par authors in there at that.
Profile Image for herdys.
565 reviews36 followers
September 5, 2017
Enjoyed all four stories, though Megan Frampton was a little too insta and ended kind of abruptly imo. My faves were Madeleine Hunters and Caroline Linden. Will definitely keep an eye on both authors!
Profile Image for Jaci.
465 reviews19 followers
September 8, 2016
A new Anthology from three of my favorite authors and one new author that I have never read before. This is four separate stories of a Madame Follette's Dress Shop in London. This is a fairly new concept in Historical Romance where different authors contribute a story that connects the characters in all four stories.
What is great about this is that you do not have to wait two years to read the sequel to a book where you really like the secondary characters because they are in the next story.

For the price of one book you get amazing stories with their own hero and heroine.

In "The Duke's Dressmaker", Madeline Hunter tells the tale of a woman who was wronged and misjudged by a Duke. When said Duke enters Madame Follett's with his young sister-in-law he cannot believe his eyes. It is the woman that tried to trap his younger brother in marriage. Selina Fontaine is has finally found a place where she can do what she loves and the Duke can ruin all with just one word. She never expects that he has no intention of destroying her security. They are immediately attracted to each other and then the sparks fly. This is quintessential Madeline. Witty, sexy and a breathtaking love story with remarkable characters.

"A Fashionable Affair" by Caroline Linden tells the story of the lady who runs the shop. She has taken over for her mother, Madame Follette and is trying to make it a success again. But Felicity Dawkins has a bigger problem. The Earl of Carmarthen has bought all the shops on the street and plans to demolish the whole block and Felicity isn't going to sell. Felicity proposes a bargain with the Earl that she feels is fair to both parties. Only spending time together has different consequences that neither has foreseen. Caroline has done it again. Her writing is amazing, scandalous and a joy to read.

"No Accounting for Love" by Megan Frampton is the story of the brother of Felicity, Henry Dawkins who does the books at the shop. Katharine Grant is a companion is to spoiled young lady who drags Katharine to the dress shop just so she can show Henry and she has grown up and is a beautiful young lady now. Only Henry doesn't notice her at all, he cannot take his eyes off Katharine. Henry is a very handsome giant of a man. He has always been self conscious of his size but when he meets the pocket size venus he is entranced and will do anything to make her his for the rest of his life. Megan always tugs at my heart in her stories. Her writing touches me and her characters are beautiful and the love story alluring.

"Dressed to Kiss" by Myretta Robens is a new author to me. I enjoyed the story she wrote for this book. The plot being that an Aristocratic Gentleman using a pseudonym to write a column on fashion. When he sees a lady dressed in a ridiculously colorful ensemble at a soriee he is determined to find the dressmaker who made the dress and what her motive was for making a fool out of a Lady. The hero and heroine, Simon and Delyth are delightful characters. Delyth is flashy and vibrant and she pulls Simon into her world of color and he finds that he likes her prespective.

Received a complimentary copy for an honest review.

Profile Image for Rose Blue.
644 reviews26 followers
October 11, 2016
As reviewed at Roses Are Blue: http://wp.me/p3QRh4-qV

The Duke’s Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter
Selina Duval lost her good name and her position in society four years ago, when the young man who was vigorously courting her abruptly dropped her and departed. Though she wasn’t “truly” ruined, society deemed her so, forcing her to leave her home to spare additional shame to her family and to earn her own way in the world. She’s now working as a seamstress at Madame Follette’s shop, using the surname of Fontaine. One day, Randall Woodville, the Duke of Barrowmore, comes into the shop, escorting his spoiled sister-in-law, the very woman now married to the man who ruined Selina. She always believed that the duke played a part in his brother’s jilting of her. Expecting to be exposed, Selina is surprised when the duke encourages continued patronage, even going so far as having Selina come to his home to complete the fittings. Randall always felt attraction for Selina when his brother was courting her, and though he wasn’t entirely to blame for the break-up, he was involved. Of course, the more Rand and Selina are in each other’s company the more they become attracted to each other. Selina begins to see the real man behind the ducal image, and Rand realizes just how wrongly Selina was treated. This is my favorite story in the anthology, and I loved both of these characters. Rand is very aware of his station in life, yet he’s also fair and very aware of his feelings as a man. Selina is courageous enough to reach out for her own chance at happiness despite the risks involved. THE DUKE’S DRESSMAKER is very romantic and sexy, and gets this collection off to a fabulous start.

The Colors of Love by Myretta Robens
Delyth Owen has worked as a costume designer in the theatre, but is desirous of having a more respectable occupation, so she now works as a seamstress at Madame Follette’s shop. When she designs an outrageously colored outfit for a color blind society lady, fashion columnist Simon Merrithew is appalled. Simon is a gentleman, who writes this column anonymously. He intends to discover who this horrible designer is and what her possible intentions were. Under the pretext of ordering clothes for his sister, he comes to the shop. Ultimately, Simon comes to realize that Delyth is honestly designing clothing she finds beautiful. Her theatre background and her love of vibrant colors which could be seen, even from the last row, are reflected in her creations. While Simon and Delyth find romance, he and his sister work to guide her to choices more suitable to making her a successful designer. THE COLORS OF LOVE is a kind of quirky story that asks you to just enjoy the humor and sweet romance of a somewhat clueless designer and a society gentleman overly invested in fashion.

No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton
Henry Dawkins is the son of Madame Follette and keeps the books for the shop. Henry is a big, shy, endearing guy who just prefers his books to dealing with the society ladies who frequent the shop. One of those ladies, Effie, took a liking to Henry. Though he gave her no encouragement, she refuses to take no for an answer. She concocts a scheme to win Henry’s affections, and embroils her companion, Katherine Grant, to be part of it. Effie all but forces Henry to take dancing lessons with her, under the chaperonage of Katherine. This situation has Henry and Katherine falling for each other, and trying to find a way to stop Effie’s machinations. When Effie’s affections are finally directed elsewhere, leaving the way clear for Henry and Katherine, they still have obstacles to overcome to find their happy ever after. I read that recent favorite, Megan Frampton, used Henry Cavill as the basis for her Henry in this story. I now have a wonderful visual of Henry, wearing spectacles, feeling awkward, and too large, but being totally hot. NO ACCOUNTING FOR LOVE is a delightful tale of two inexperienced and endearing people who are so deserving of their happy ending.

A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden
Felicity Dawkins (sister of Henry) is Madame Follette’s daughter, and has been running the shop and doing her best to bring it back up to the level it once was. She and Henry finally convinced their mother that she needed to step aside, or the shop would surely go under. Under Felicity’s hard work, the shop is starting to rebound, but a new threat arrives in the form of Evan Hewes, Earl of Carmarthen. Evan is determined that the shabby, rundown street on which Madame Follett’s sits, needs to be revamped. He plans to tear down all the existing shops and stores, and to rebuild the entire street. In fact, he has already bought up all the property, with the exception of Madame Follette’s. Frustrated by the shop owner’s continued refusals, Evan goes to the shop in person, hoping to make the owner see reason. He’s shocked to find a lovely young woman managing the shop, and he begins his campaign to win her over. Eventually they come to an agreement that if he can find her a shop at a decent rent on a desirable street, she will sell. The time spent on a search leads them into a steamy affair, which seems doomed to failure because of the difference in their stations. A FASHIONABLE AFFAIR is a sexy and satisfying romance which brings the saga of Madame Follette’s to a fitting close.

DRESSED TO KISS is a collection of four quality stories by three of my favorite authors and a talented newcomer. I enjoyed the thread of connectivity, while appreciating each author’s different voice and style of writing. Anthologies don’t always work, but this one is a winner. Recommended!
Profile Image for Sheila Melo.
1,776 reviews45 followers
September 12, 2016
This is a collection of four novellas tied together by characters connection to a dressmaker's shop.  Madame Follette's dressmaking shop has been declining for years due to changing fashions and the stubbornness of its owner.  Her children convince her to turn over operations to her daughter who struggles to revitalize the business in the shadow of the king's coronation.

THE DUKE'S DRESSMAKER by Madeline Hunter:  Selina Fontaine is working at Madame Follette's when Randall, Duke of Barrowmore comes back into her life.  Four years ago, Randall's brother seduced and left her at Randall's urging.  Selina knows that the Duke disapproves of her.  She now fears that he will expose her true identity and ruin her again.  By the description of this story, I expected more drama and angst.  Things are neatly explained in this story which was sweeter than I expected.  These two quickly manage to find out the truth about the past.  I liked the characters which is important in a short novella.  Rating: 4 stars.

THREADS OF LOVE by Myretta Robens:  Delyth Owen is a new dressmaker in the shop.  She loves vibrant and sometimes unfortunate color choices.  Simon Merrithew is the author of a fashion column.  He comes to ruin Delyth after she creates a too colorful dress for a friend that Simon believes was intentional.  When he meets her, however, Simon realizes that the bright colors are just a reflection of the joyful woman Delyth is.  This story was good, but I really didn't feel drawn to Delyth at all.  She remained too insubstantial for me to root for her. I did enjoy the story and having a man interested in fashion was a novel experience. Rating: 3 stars.

NO ACCOUNTING FOR LOVE by Megan Frampton:  This is the story of the son of Madame Follette, Mr. Henry Dawkins.  Henry is the bookkeeper for the shop.  When Miss Katherine Grant walks into the shop, Henry can't keep his eyes from her.  Katherine is a lady's companion.  Unfortunately, her charge is drawn to the inappropriate Mr. Dawkins.  Henry is big and gentle and a bit shy and he desperately wants Katherine even if they are a social mismatch.  I really loved Henry's character.  On this one, the story didn't work as well for me, but I liked the characters.  Henry is definitely not your alpha male, but he is adorable.  Rating: 3.5 stars.

A FASHIONABLE AFFAIR by Caroline Linden:  This is the story of Miss Felicity Dawkins, daughter of the owner.  Felicity is struggling to reinvent the shop and return it to prominence. Evan Hewes, Earl of Carmarthen, wants to buy the shop to tear it down as part of his revitalization of the street.  This story could have been fascinating as a full novel.  In its shortened form, the personalities of the characters were not as well developed.  I liked the story, but it seemed like there was much more to find out.  Rating: 3.5 stars.

What would have made this collection amazing would have been an epilogue.  All these characters contracted such difficult marriage pairings that I would like to know what happened a year later.This review was originally posted on Top10RomanceBooks.com
Profile Image for Kimia Safavi.
365 reviews11 followers
August 30, 2016
Dressed To Kissed is an anthology of 4 novellas by Madeline Hunter, Myretta Robens, Megan Frampton and Caroline Linden.
Once renowned for creating the most envied gowns in London, Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop has fallen far out of fashion. Now is up to Felicity Dawkins to reclaim former glory to the shop. So the first step is to convince her mother to leave the store to her and hire new dressmakers.
Can the dressmakers of Follette face the long-held secrets, looming scandals and potential ruin of their shop………………………………..
The Duke’s Dressmaker is actually the second book that I read by Madeline Hunter and I loved it. This is a story of Selina Fontaine with a secret identity and broken heart. The Duke of Barrowmore is the last person Selina wants to see in the shop, he knows about her past and the scandal his brother caused. But when the Duke meets Selina again after four years, he is more interested in pursuing her than exposing her.
The Duke’s Dressmaker is a page turner and a sweet romance.
Since Caroline Linden is one of my favorite authors and I love her books, I couldn’t wait to read the two novellas between so I skipped those two novellas (of course I will read later) and started A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden.
Caroline Linden’s writing is wonderful, romantic and captivating. Felicity Dawkins is fiercely committed to making the shop the most exclusive modiste in London if only the infuriating Earl of Carmarthen let her.
The earl Carmarthen has a big plan for the shop, he plans to buy the last shop and tear down and make a grand new boulevard of shops, if only he can convince the beautiful Felicity to give up her shop and move to another location……………….
I finished this adorable novella in half a day; I couldn’t put the book down. The chemistry between hero and heroine was great, the story line was wonderful and I really didn’t want the story end.
I really enjoyed reading Dressed To Kissed

Profile Image for Donna.
444 reviews
October 5, 2016
4.5 rounding to a 5
This is a very original idea. Novellas set in a dressmaker's shop! I appreciate new books that don't make me feel like I've read the same story before.

Felicity Dawkins and her brother Henry were both raised in Madame Follette's shop. The shop is losing customers as their mother refuses to change with the times. They convince her to leave for awhile and let Felicity run the shop. Then old King George dies and the entire ton will need a new dress for the upcoming coronation.

The Duke's Dressmaker - Madeline Hunter - One of my favorite authors who never disappoints. Her story is the dressmaker who falls for a Duke.

The Colors of Love - Myretta Robens - a new to me author - A gossip columnist writes negatively about a seamstress's colorful gowns only to fall for her.

No Accounting for Love - Megan Framapton - Mr. Henry Dawkins, bookkeeper, falls for a young lady's companion. But believes he's not good enough for her as she is a lady.

A Fashionable Affair - Caroline Linden - another favorite author - Evan Hewes, Earl of Carmarthen is determined to buy every property on Vine St. and remodel it into fashionable area. But Felicity doesn't want to sell her shop unless he finds her a better location. Maybe with him!
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,777 reviews45 followers
November 11, 2018
I read Madeline Hunter's & Caroline Linden's contributions to this anthology - I enjoyed them both and will definitely be going back to read the other two novellas as soon as I can!

The premise of the anthology is nicely set up with a prologue explaining the history of Madame Follette's modiste shop. The collection features stories of the women (and one man) who work together to ensure the success of the shop.

The Duke's Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter - 4.5 stars - Selina Fontaine works as a seamstress at the shop, her newest client Lady Giles was taken against her better judgement - she is helping the young woman when her brother in law, Randall "Rand" the Duke of Barrowmore arrives to bring her home - the man that ruined her life. Rand recognizes the woman that almost married his brother Giles four years ago. Selina is worried he will make trouble and force her to run again, so when he approaches her later, she agrees to talk to him. She blames him for Giles throwing her over - but she doesn't know the real truth and after talking with her - Rand doesn't want her to find out. He leaves her with a warning to stay away from Giles and never to mention him to his sister in law Edeline. She agrees and thinks she will not see him again. But Rand can't forget her or help but feel a little guilty for the downward turn in her life caused by Giles. He tells himself he is only interested in her because his family wronged her - but acknowledges that for the lie that it is - he is attracted to her and makes excuses to see her. They spend time together and eventually become lovers and more truths are revealed. Selina has fallen in love with him and accepts that his lover is the only role she can play in his life. But when Giles returns and tries to get her to help him with Rand, the ugly truth of their break up comes out and Selina wonders if Rand's attention has been four years in the making. Rand is furious with Giles and has to face his feelings for Selina and what to do about them - but it may all be for naught as Selina has disappeared. This was a well written, fast paced novella, with steamy love scenes, wonderful characters, a bit of drama and to die for hero (I loved how Rand treated Selina) and finally a believable HEA that left me wanting more!!

A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden - 4 stars - Evan Hewes, the Earl of Carmarthen has plans, he wants to raze and then rebuild Vine Street, all the owner have sold their buildings to him, save one - Sophie-Louise Dawkins aka Madame Follette. She has steadfastly refused all his offers and due to the location of her building, threatens to destroy his plans. He cannot build around her as her building shares a wall with another - so he decides to pay her a visit. He is surprised by the lovely woman at the shop and hopes to make her acquaintance once his business with Madame Follette is done. He is floored to learn that she is her daughter and is managing the shop in her mother's extended absence. He explains the situation to her and Felicity is floored - her mother never mentioned any of this to her. She refuses to sell and sends him away. She goes to see her brother and learns that their mother didn't tell him either, but he thinks the Earl is telling the truth. Felicity gets an idea - she goes to see Evan's solicitor and makes a deal - she will convince her mother to sell, if Evan can find her a shop in a better location. Evan agrees and takes the task on himself - to expedite things of course! He takes her to see a property and she apologizes for her reaction at their first meeting, but is annoyed again later when she sees the property he takes her to. He doesn't understand the problem and is annoyed - but he is not giving up, this project means too much to him. He finds more properties and treats her with more respect, she in turn apologizes for the misunderstanding and they form a friendship - but that friendship is tested when she falls in love with a property only to learn that he didn't tell her the cost of the rent - she is upset and just wants to get away from him. Evan knows he should have told her, but figured he would work out a deal with the owner of the property - he wants her to have the shop and a reason to keep seeing her, so he will find a way to make it work. He doesn't see her for a few days and misses her, so when he sees her at a theater benefit he finds a way to talk to her - thanks to his mother and sister. He introduces her to his mother and sister, then apologizes for not telling her about the rent and says he hasn't given up - he will keep his word. When he returns her to her box, her brother is nowhere to be seen. He takes advantage of his absence and offers to see her home. She agrees and invites him in. They begin an affair and grow close, sharing their pasts, their hopes and dreams, everything is perfect - until her mother returns. She warns him not to visit her and in their time apart, Evan learns something that will guarantee Sophie-Louise will sell to him, but using the information will ensure that he will lose Felicity. Will he find a way to keep her AND the Vine Street project? This was a wonderful novella with two fantastic leads, I loved their interaction and even if the ending was a little hard to believe, I really enjoyed the story.

My only complaint is there was no epilogue and I felt like both stories that I read ended a little abruptly. But the writing was great and I would be happy to recommend this anthology!
Profile Image for Pamela Fernandes.
Author 31 books86 followers
October 26, 2017
This is a short novella. A woman of gentle breeding is tossed aside by the Duke's brother. So she runs away from home and becomes a dressmaker. He owns her, because h paid for her and that's a secret she doesn't know. For a novella it's done very well. This book comes together nicely as Selina becomes the new Duchess of Barrymore.
1,852 reviews17 followers
November 23, 2018
These were four delightful novellas set around the owners and employees of a modiste shop.
The Duke’s Dressmaker
Selina is a seamstress in the shop but there is a mystery concerning her background. Selina reconnects with the Duke through a client and secrets are revealed.
The Colours of Love
This was such a sweet story. Delyth has a love of colour as does one of her clients, even though most wouldn’t agree with her choices. She comes into contact with Simon Merrithew, a write on fashion.
A Fashionable Affair
This was an endearing story about the owner’s son, Henry Dawkins and a lady’s companion, Katherine Dawkins. Both characters were very likeable and I loved their relationship.
A Fashionable Affair
This involves the owner’s daughter, Felicity and the Earl of Carmarthen. He wants to create a new area where their shop is but the owner doesn’t want to sell. There is an obvious attraction between the two but what can come of it, given the difference in their stations. A most engaging story.
Profile Image for Jessica Grogan.
470 reviews20 followers
November 16, 2017
Bought this for Linden's story but only ended up finishing Frampton's. The first story was boring and a DNF, I skipped the second, read Frampton's, and Linden's was also a DNF.
1,357 reviews32 followers
September 12, 2016
DRESSED TO KISS is an anthology based around a modiste shop and four of historical romance’s best authors contribute to this excellent book. So far, I have had the time to read only Ms. Linden’s and Ms. Frampton’s novellas, but I cannot wait to read the other two, as the two I’ve read are fabulous!

A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden

Those of you who have read Caroline Linden’s books know what an exceptionally gifted writer she is, you who have not will need to read this novella to truly appreciate the Ms. Linden’s rare talent. Evan Hewes, the Earl of Carmathen, is bent on modernising and beautifying the area where Madame Follette’s shop stands. Madame Follette’s is located near Bond Street, business is doing alright, but could be better. Feliticy Dawkins is managing the modiste shop for her mother, while the latter is away. Madame Follette’s has been in the family for several years, but when Carmathen tells Felicity Dawkins that she must vacate the premises, she bluntly refuses. And so begins one of the most wonderful love stories ever written.
When Carmathen goes to Madame Follette’s, he expects the mother, not breathtakingly beautiful Felicity, but still he won’t budge either. Until Felicity starts to get under his skin, and he decides to help her, whichever way he can. While they agree to disagree, Felicity warms up to the Earl, until she realises that she wants to be his, whatever the consequences; he will not marry a mere shop girl, surely. And oh how exquisitely Ms. Linden conveys those feelings of falling in love, of being in love! I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything, anywhere that describes what love is more accurately, more emotionally. Ms. Linden’s lush and sumptuous prose is so evocative that the words become images; the dialogues are brilliantly simple and historically accurate. Felicity and Carmathen discuss things rationally instead of bickering, they reach compromises. And when the delicious flirtation becomes more, well, one almost wishes that smelling salts hadn’t gone out of fashion, because that’s how it made me feel. What a glorious romance. Felicity and Carmathen’s passion becomes all-encompassing, so beautiful, so touching, and it all feels so real. A FASHIONABLE AFFAIR is a triumph of exquisite, sublime writing, blistering sensuality, and a love so true, it takes a few moments to come back to reality. A FASHIONABLE AFFAIR is a magnificent novella, the epitome of fine writing, and the joy of experiencing love. I believe I have run out of superlatives, but this story deserves them all!

No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton

Miss Katherine Grant, whose honourable family is in dire circumstances, needed a paid occupation, and so she is now a paid companion to the spoiled Lady Ephemia, who does however mean well. Katherine is chaperoning Effie on her first season, hoping that the latter doesn’t get into trouble. Effie has gotten into her beautiful blond head that Mr. Henry Dawkins, the bookkeeper for Madame Follette’s, is the man for her. When Effie drags Katherine to the modiste’s, Katherine has a shock: Mr. Dawkins is the hugest man she has ever seen, and by Jove, he does something to her Other Parts as well! Henry has already rebuffed Effie’s advances, but she won’t take no for an answer, while Henry has seen someone who nearly makes him forget his numbers and order!

NO ACCOUNTING FOR LOVE is Megan Frampton at her wittiest and most delightful! Henry is a sweet, shy klutz who is totally smitten by the voluptuous Katherine, whose sparkling personality is hidden behind her drab clothes, and they form a wonderful pair. NO ACCOUNTING FOR LOVE is a charming, lovely, sunny story filled with vividly drawn characters, and such glorious fun! Ms. Frampton writes the most fabulous sentences, very matter-of-factly, and you catch yourself laughing hysterically! This romance between a bespectacled, blushing giant and the woman he thinks is one hot number (nudge, wink!) perfectly conveys the dizzying, heady feeling of falling in love and left me sighing and smiling contentedly. Another splendid read by the amazing Megan Frampton!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jane.
114 reviews4 followers
October 17, 2016
Dressed to Kiss by Madeline Hunter, Myretta Robens, Megan Frampton and Caroline Linden
A dress shop in Regency England links these 4 stories. Madame Follettte’s dress shop has fallen out of favor. Daughter Felicity and her brother Henry try to convince their mother that her fashions need to be updated. The approaching coronation of King George IV offers a chance to once again dress the aristocracy IF Madame Follette can change. When she refuses, she is banished to the coast and Felicity, an accomplished seamstress, takes over.

The Duke’s Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter
Selina Fontaine --- not her real name --- works at Madame Follette’s. The Duke of Barrowmore escorts his spoiled sister-in-law into the shop. Selina and Randall Woodville have a past. Selina believed that the Duke was responsible for his brother jilting her. With a ruined reputation, she fled to London. Instead of exposing Selina, Rand encourages the patronage. Romance, rendezvous and risks between Selina and Rand ensue. Madeline Hunter builds her characters with warmth, charm and faults, too. I enjoyed this story very much!

The Colors of Love by Myretta Robens
Although Delyth is a seamstress at Madame Follette’s now, she was a theater costume designer. She loves color! An outrageous gown she designed for a society lady catches the eye of a fashion columnist ---- and not in a good way! Simon believes that Delyth intentionally set out to embarrass the woman. He decides he must meet her. Some funny moments, romance and misunderstandings occur. Love conquers overcomes all.

No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton
Henry has grown up to be a large, shy young man. He is the accountant for the shop and knows numbers, not women. Effie has pursued him for years. She tricks him into dancing lessons and then foists her companion Katherine on him. Henry and Katherine discover they are kindred spirits. Could Effie have planned this?

A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden
Felicity has worked hard to reclaim Madame Follette’s on the fashion scene. Solvency and esteem are within her grasp when a new threat appears. The shop is in a shabby run down part of London. The Earl of Carmarthen has bought up the properties on her street and is determined to buy Madame Follette’s. Felicity drives a hard bargain. As they come to know each other, they begin a steamy affair. However, the re-appearance of Madame Follette and secrets may drive them apart.

I would have liked an epilogue for all 4 stories a year later. I always want to know about “happily ever after”!
854 reviews1 follower
October 27, 2018
I enjoyed this book which is actually an anthology of 4 novellas with overlapping stories. I found the novel's locale (centered about a dressmaker shop) very interesting. I'll give a brief rating for each novella:

The Duke's Dressmaker: 3.5. As a big fan of Ms. Hunter, I found Selina's and Rand's story well-written but just not quite up to what I was expecting. Part of that may be because I didn't especially connect with her hero. I had trouble seeing him as "duke-ly" when he did not assert himself overly much to reign in some of his family members...maybe it's just a personal thing with me.

The Colors of Love: 3.5. This is my first book to read by Ms. Robens and while I did enjoy the chemistry between Delyth and Simon, I found her a bit overblown, even with her theater background. I just really did not warm up to her character as I normally do a heroine.

No Accounting for Love: 4. This is also a new author for me and can definitely see myself reading more from her in the future. I especially enjoyed her hero, Henry, and his sweet naivete and shy charm were refreshing and new...Katherine made a good heroine for him.

A Fashionable Affair: 4.3. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella by Ms. Linden and the way it wrapped up the stories in the novel (except I do wish that one small mystery had been cleared up in the end). I found myself waiting for Felicity's story throughout the book and was not disappointed with her Evan. I found this to be a very sweet, romantic, heartfelt story...this was my favorite.

Overall, very nicely done ladies.

I received a free ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cynthia.
170 reviews1 follower
September 14, 2016
I loved how all the stories intertwined at different points in time with the various characters. It enriched the story world and I enjoyed reading the different character perspectives about the same event. The stories flowed from one to another smoothly. The last story in the anthology, A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden is Felicity's story. Felicity runs the modiste shop and all the stories revolve around the shop. Her story was a wonderful ending to the anthology.

I received an ARC in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Bree.
98 reviews
October 29, 2018
I enjoyed the fresh idea of a Modiste shop based anthology, where the emphasis was on those associated with the shop who were making a living for themselves, be it the owners children, or their seamstresses. Overall this anthology had numerous ups and downs, but the strong writing and story telling skills of Megan Frampton and Caroline Linden ultimately saved this anthology for me and will keep it on my bookshelves.

Individually I review the novellas at:

The Duke’s Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter - One Star
The Colours of Love by Myretta Robens - No Star
No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton - 3 Stars
A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden - 4 Stars

Overall, the anthology is rated at 3 stars for me, due to a number of factors.

- Despite this cohesive backstory, all but the last novella felt a bit disconnected and needed to be meshed together by Linden (though that is done expertly). Perhaps the relationships and interactions between the women in particular needed to be more clearly built in the prologue, the absence of which gave a sense of discord between Selina and Delyth in particular, who were almost strangers in dialogue, instead of the reality of them being close colleagues prone to working in close proximity.

- I think the prologue, while great for setting up the shop and the scene and some of the key players, actually ended up working against this anthology, as as a whole it felt like the first three stories were just fillers, until the last novella followed up where the prologue left off. It also, in the case of some of the novellas, highlighted the difference in descriptive storytelling and overall quality of the writing.

- I found the re-introduction of the owner into the novella at the end of Caroline Linden’s novella counter-productive, and such an encounter, in my view, would have been perhaps far better suited to an epilogue that tied the series of novellas together, ie- the shop is a success, everyone is marrying, and the owner returns to a vastly improved modiste shop from her holiday in Brighton. An option I feel would have been better than trying to tie up a host of loose threads in Caroline’s novella, instead giving more “screen-time” to Evan and Felicity. We are also left at a bit of uncertainty as to what is going to happen now, with the shop, its possible relocation, and its staff, the dealing of all which would have had tied the anthology up nicely in an epilogue.

The Duke’s Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter - One Star

Using a classic story premise of two people with mutual distrust and dislike, based on a shared history where neither had the “full story”, Madeline Hunter manages to create a story complete with colourful additions in the spoilt, petulant and at times petty characters of Edeline, and the self-serving Giles, along side our hero Rand (Duke), and heroine Selina (Seamstress) in a novella length story, an ambitious task.

Overall, I was amused by The Duke’s Dressmaker, though it didn’t work for a novella-length story, as it didn’t fully allow the premise or relationship between the characters to evolve organically. The overall “love-story” felt at times a bit overwhelmed by both Edwina and Giles, and the ever present history between Rand and Selina. Which resulted in a story that was overshadowed by the past we never really escaped from, even in the “happy ending” scene.

The Colours of Love by Myretta Robens - No Star

This was a new author for me and while it had elements I liked including the descriptions of questionably coloured gowns, the premise completely ruined it for me. I do not enjoy novels or novellas wherein the “hero” of the story sets out to expose, humiliate, or otherwise belittle the heroine. While in this case, there was a slightly redeeming element to the premise, namely his “motives” for ill-will, it was not enough to save the story as a whole. I also found the enormous change in the hero’s taste vastly unlikely, though one couldn’t doubt he was clearly a man in love, and found the addition of the epilogue written from the Vicar's point of view, odd.

No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton - 3 Stars

How refreshing a novella where two very shy, inexperienced, and endearingly awkward people find their other half, and learn a whole lot of new things together. Add a stunningly beautiful plotting society Miss determined to make the bookish hero accountant love her, her shy and occasionally awkward companion who tries to keep said society miss and the hero out of trouble, (and herself from falling in love with said hero), and an awkward bookish accountant (hero) who prefers books to people and who fears he will trample all in his path; and you have a fun trope that finishes all too quickly making you wish you could spend more time with Katharine and Henry. Just a small niggling criticism about the many mentions of Katharine’s “Other Part”, and the countering “male part” which I found a bit distracting but this is definitely one for the bookshelves.

A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden - 4 Stars

A novella in which a strong minded, intelligent and beautiful heroine proves to more than a match for a stubborn Lord, resulting in a strong clash of wills and more than a few fireworks!

I enjoyed how the author managed to tie together our hero and heroine based on seemingly different, but remarkably similar passions and interests, namely building something beautiful that’s well made and put together, in Evan’s case this is “modern” architecture and street planning, and in Felicity’s a well cut, designed and built garment. The interaction between this two made the downs of the anthology well worth the struggle!

The only real criticism I have about this novella, is mentioned above, and is in relation to the addition of both the return of the owner of the shop, (which I feel would have been better served in an epilogue), but mainly the addition of the diamonds at the 11th hour and its ensuing scene.

I really did not understand why the diamonds (or Felicity’s parentage for that matter) needed to be brought into the equation at all? Surely the increased profile and clientele of the Modiste’ due to Felicity’s hard work, meant that she had a right to be heard by her mother? It was not until after the diamonds were pulled out, albeit, unthreateningly that Sophie-Louise acknowledged her daughters contribution and then acknowledges that she trusts her daughters judgement. Very unsatisfying, and a bit anti-climactic.

Profile Image for Lisa C.
668 reviews16 followers
June 10, 2021
This was a re-read for me in the audible version of this book. I enjoyed Danielle Cohen as a narrator. This was a great anthology of 4 novellas. I really enjoyed that they were all about the same dress shop with the same characters. Obviously all the authors went to great lengths to make this a seamless story. The prologue sets up the stories very well, and made me want to see how this would all turn out.
"The Duke’s Dressmaker" by Madeline Hunter is the HEA for Selina, a seamstress in the shop.
"The Colors of Love" by Myretta Robens is also about one of the seamstresses - one with such an outrageous sense of style, but the man who loves her can luckily see past that.
Megan Frampton's "Accounting for Love" is the story of the shop owner's somewhat awkward brother. I love this character, and since this is the first story I've read from Ms Frampton, I will be looking for more from her.
"A Fashionable Affair" by Caroline Linden ties the anthology together with the story of the owner of the shop and in my opinion the most enjoyable of them all. Ms. Linden has one of those "can't put it down" kind of writing styles.
Profile Image for Larisa.
776 reviews
January 30, 2017
Enjoyed the Linden & Hunter stories, couldn't get into the other two...so a personal thing, not a reflection on quality of writing.
Profile Image for Peggy.
1,353 reviews5 followers
November 28, 2018
Once at the top of the fashion list for ladies of the Ton, Madame Follette’s has come upon hard times. As fashion changed, Sophie-Louise, Madame Follette, did not. At her children’s urging she has retired and left the running of the shop to her daughter, Felicity Dawkins. She, along with her brother and a handful of talented and loyal seamstresses, are determined to bring Madame Follette’s back to the top. Along the way, they meet some very interesting clients.

The Duke’s Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter
A commission from Selina’s new client could be good for Madame Follette’s re-entry to the fashion world. The Duke of Barrowmore may put paid to the opportunity. There is an unpleasant past for the Duke and Selina. Believing she may get up to mischief, he vows to keep an eye on her. Spending time with her, Randall discovers she is nothing like he thought her to be. How can he make things right? Randall is arrogant and duty-driven. Selina is strong and independent. They are both in search of something. It might be each other. Randall may well have to do some soul searching, and find a way to make his wastrel brother grow up.

The Colors of Love by Myretta Robens
When Delyth Owen get a bad review from the fashion column called “Aglaea’s Closet,” she is afraid that it might end her job with Madame Follette’s shop, and worse, her career as a dressmaker. She is pleased when a new client (recommended by the lady who wore the dress in the bad review) commissions a gown and presents the possibility for more, including a dress for the coronation. Simon Merrithew accompanies his sister Louisa when she came to meet Delyth. He insists that Delyth come to their home for the design selection and the fittings. What is he up to? Simon is a slightly judgmental and determined man. He has a secret, and it has to do with his interest in Delyth’s methods and motivations in her dressmaking decisions. Louisa is a kind and understanding and attempts to keep her brother in line. Delyth creates beautiful designs, but she absolutely loves brilliant colors and it shows in her finished products. She does try to match the gown to the lady who will wear it. This truly is a story about the colors of love, and the ending is perfect.

No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton
Henry Dawkins, Felicity’s brother, is the bookkeeper for Madame Follette’s. He is quite large and very shy. Lady Effie Hammond has pursued Henry since she was fifteen (she all of eighteen now). Katherine Grant has the dubious honor of chaperoning Effie. Effie arranges several meetings for her, Henry, and Katherine. Funny thing, she finds other things to do leaving Henry and Katherine to entertain each other. Is she simply flighty or is she up to something? The more time the two spend together, the more they like each other. Will Effie be upset by this or is it possible she’s matchmaking? This is a really cute story, with loveable characters (even Effie).

A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden
Just when Felicity Dawkins begins to bring Madame Follette’s back from the brink of failure, she learns that Vine Street will be torn down around her. She doesn’t know her mother has received offers to buy the building or that all the other buildings on the street are already sold. Evan Hewes, the Earl of Carmarthen, is behind the moves on Vine Street. He plans to tear down the old buildings, widen the street and rebuild, modernizing the business area. Felicity is devastated. Evan agrees to find her a shop that she can afford and will bring in the kind of clientele to continue the shop’s improving status and finances. In their effort to find suitable space for Felicity’s shop, two things happen. Evan falls in love with her, and he discovers secrets about her family that he is determined to keep. Things get more complicated when Sophie-Louise come to town to set everything and everybody straight. Can Evan and Felicity find a solution to this dilemma? Will they find a way to be together? Evan and Felicity are great together, strong and intelligent, adamant about their goals and confident in the outcome. The story presents the characters with a challenge that keeps the reader’s attention.
The book was a gift. The review all my own.
Profile Image for Luz Trevino.
1,526 reviews5 followers
November 22, 2018
Dressed to Kiss is an anthology of four novellas. It starts off with a prologue where we meet the owner and her two children, Henry and Felicity. The setting is a dress shop that is struggling financially because the owner seems reticent to update the dress styles. Her children are able to convince her to go on holiday while they take care of the shop. Felicity will design, make the dresses and Henry will work as the store's bookkeeper.

The first story is The Duke's Dressmaker by Madeline Hunter
3.5 stars: I liked this one.
Selina works as one of the shop's dress makers. It is while designing/making a set of dresses for Lady Giles that she reunites with Rand, Duke of Barrowmore. Their relationship seemed began as a physical attraction which gradually grew to be love. Even though their social status was separating them Rand saw beyond that and chose Selina to be his wife.

Second story is The Colors of Love by Myetta Robens
3 stars: This one was my least favorite.
Delyth is also one of the Felicity's dress makers. She loves color! Which I really liked, since during those times vibrant colors were very popular. It is because of a colorful dress she made that she meets Simon. He is determined to learn of why would anybody design/create such a horrible dress. I didn't like him. He approaches Delyth in order to uncover, humiliate her into why design such colorful dresses. It seemed that he was an expert since he wrote a fashion column. Also, his relationship with his sister was a little creepy. Stepping into the room while his sister was changing (even if she was behind a screen) seemed odd. I don't know, it made me feel uncomfortable. Delyth was so nice and innocent. At times it seems that Simon took advantage of that.

Third story is No Accounting for Love by Megan Framton
5 stars: This one was my favorite!
This one is about Henry, Felicity's brother. He is the shop's bookkeeper. He meets Katherine, who is a companion to a spoiled brat, through Lady Effie. Lady Effie feels herself in love with Henry and because Katherine is her companion Katherine is able to know Henry better. These two were so cute together. They both were blushers and so sweet. They both were inexperienced when it came to matters of the heart and sexy times. Their first time was actually sweet.

Fourth and final story is A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden
5 stars: I enjoyed this one too!
The book has come full circle because it ends with Felicity's story. Felicity meets Evan, Earl of Carmathen because he wants to knock down her building and start reconstruction of that street and its buildings. I loved their clashing scenes where she is trying to outsmart him into giving her more time to find a place or avoiding the move. When she finally agrees to move out and asks for his help in finding a new locale is when they get to know each other better. This is why I liked this story. Even though they were attracted to each other they became friends and built their relationship from there. They then become lovers and it was sad when Felicity realizes that because of their social stations they are not able to go further. The story was paced very well for being a novella. Everything was resolved without feeling rushed.
Profile Image for Margaret Watkins.
2,737 reviews51 followers
November 1, 2018
Four Regency romances from four different authors, each telling a love story with one commonality, namely Madame Follette's dressmaking shop.

The Duke's Dressmaker evokes all the angst and trauma of the past when the Duke of Barrowmore unexpectedly encounters the dressmaker Selina Fontaine. Whilst Rand is delighted that an opportunity to resolve the mistakes of the past has presented itself, Selina is terrified that he will destroy her. A story of second chances and learning to trust again.

In The Colors of Love, the irrepressible Delyth Owens discovers a client that shares her joy in exuberant colors. Unfortunately, not everyone is delighted with her color choices. The story is lighthearted with quirky characters.

No Accounting for Love brings two awkward characters together. Katherine Grant is a destitute lady's companion and when she meets the accountant at Madame Follette's, she experiences an attraction that is quite unlike her. Henry Dawkins is stunned when he first sees Katherine, despite her dowdy clothing. As they fumble their way through their meetings one can only trust that they will get their fairytale ending.

In A Fashionable Affair, Caroline Linden brings together all four stories as well as the outcome for the doomed dressmaking shop. Felicity Dawkins is desperate to save her mother's business but when the Earl of Carmarthen lays out his plans for tearing down all the buildings in Vine Street and rebuilding the area, she has to face facts. Compromise leads to romance and old secrets being exposed. The story brings out not only the attraction between the main characters but also the stress they were both experiencing from opposite sides of the same problem.

In this themed romance box set, I enjoyed the first and last stories more than the other two. I felt there was some artistic license taken for the era, but if you don't take your history too seriously, you will enjoy this book.
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