This work is a collection of four short stories, delving deeper into the lives of minor characters from each of the authors.
The Husband Maneuver, by Karen Witemeyer
A very cute tale, told from both perspectives equally. I liked the back and forth look inside the character’s heads, so that the reader would get a full understanding of each person, and really get invested in their relationship. The big takeaway at the end of my reading was the importance of looking at, and loving your loved ones as who they are, not an unfair, unrealistic “if only they were like this” you mentally rate them against.
Her Dearly Unintended, by Regina Jennings
“A Comedy of Errors” would be another great way to title this work, but that’s already been used. This story is a very strong message about clear communication in your relationships, and never assuming anything, by way of a tale of OVERT miscommunication that keeps the reader chuckling. Another good teaching moment in this work is a look at the problems of pride in a relationship.
Runaway Bride, by Mary Connealy
What jumped out to me most in this story was the distinct and vivid characters throughout the story, sketched out in a minimum of words, but really brought to life through their actions and words on the page. It was a masterful example of character development packed into so short a space. I especially liked the women characters, as these are historically-set novellas, and this one broke the mold you normally see in works like this. The characters were unique, fun to read, and I loved watching them save the day.
Engaging the Competition, by Melissa Jagears
This one rolled along a little faster than the others, but still took the time to point out some important steps to a good relationship. First and foremost, like the stories above, we see the importance of never making assumptions. You can ruin friendships, relationships, and overall happiness when you don’t take the time to talk, even if it’s uncomfortable, about what was really intended. This goes for all relationships, not just romantic ones. I also liked the emphasis on listening to, and acting on, the advice and prompting of your elders and trusted advisers. This makes sure you don’t become too shortsighted in your ability to see those around you correctly. (No pun on the story intended.)
I really liked the full list of books by each author in the back pages of this work. The only thing that I would have also wanted was an indication of which novels these minor characters appear in; helpful if someone is not familiar with the author, and wants to use this as an entrance into their work.
I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley