Julia Quinn has always been one of my favorite authors, so I was very excited about the release of Four Weddings and a Sixpence. Granted, this is an anthology, so it isn’t 100% Julia Quinn, but I like discovering new authors as well. I don’t think I’ve read anything by the other three women who contributed to this anthology, so I was going into this with tabula rasa.
Quinn herself provides us with the premise for the book via the prologue: four schoolgirls find an old sixpence in a mattress at school and declare that it is to be their lucky talisman that will aid them in their quests to marry.
Something New was written by Stefanie Sloane. In this story, Ann needs to get married by her 21st birthday. She is at a loss as to which eligible gentlemen are worth pursuing and which should be avoided. Luckily for her, Rhys Hamilton, the Duke of Dorset agrees to help her. After all, he is very familiar with Society and can answer her question. Naturally, the two fall in love. I enjoyed this novella quite a bit, although I did raise my eyebrows a little when Anne and Rhys became (ahem) closer. Perhaps acrobatics ought to be saved for future endeavors rather than when first becoming acquainted.
Something Borrowed was written by Elizabeth Boyle. This novella features Cordelia, who needs to invent a fiancé, lest her relatives set her up with an odious Mr. Collins type. She enlists the help of childhood friend Kipp, who she has not seen for years. Kipp was a second son who was not expected to inherit, but now that he has, the estate is in ruins. He cannot ignore a request from his childhood friends, especially after she invokes a solemn vow they made many years ago. What can possibly go wrong when two friends pretend to be engaged? This was an adorable novella that I enjoyed quite a bit.
Something Blue was written by Laura Lee Guhrke. In this story, Lady Elinor is trying to move on with her life, but infuriating Lawrence keeps getting in the way. Not only that, but he steals the sixpence! Lady Elinor and Lawrence have a long history, and were once quite affectionate with each other, but he feels that doing the right thing is more important that maintaining her family’s secrets. It’s terribly complicated, and I could definitely understand his motivations. That said, I absolutely understand why Lady Elinor would be reluctant to believe that what he says is true. I think this novella would have benefitted from being a full-length novel so that the characters would have more time to work out their angst. I do have so much appreciation for the pathos that Guhrke invokes through these star-crossed lovers.
Finally, …and a Sixpence in her Shoe by Julia Quinn marks the final entry in this anthology. Bea insists that she has no plans to get married after her friends pass along the sixpence, but then she literally bumps into Lord Frederick on the street. He’s very handsome and he wears an eyepatch because he injured his eye in a carriage accident. They bond over their love of academia and scones, and he even takes her to see the telescopes at Oxford. This novella is pure Quinn magic, and I am just heartbroken that it is only a novella because I want more Bea and Frederick. They are just adorable together, and I’m so impressed that Quinn was able to insert so much tenderness into such a short book.
I would absolutely recommend Four Weddings and a Sixpence. I thought the four stories were very cleverly tied together, and I loved the skepticism that some of the heroines expressed at the magical powers of the coin. I was very pleased to discover some new authors who I was not familiar with, and I am looking forward to reading more of their books in the future!