Review: Weddings from Hell by Shayne, Frost, Garey, and SmithMonday, July 7, 2008 13:00
I enjoy anthologies because they are a good way to get a feel for an author’s work. This made me more excited to read Weddings from Hell because of the four contributors, I had only read Terri Garey’s work previously. I knew nothing about Maggie Shayne, but I have wanted to try both Jeaniene Frost and Kathryn Smith. Together the four created a fairly solid anthology with an even tone.
‘Til Death by Maggie Shayne
When she was seven years old, Kira MacLellan witnessed the strange death of her mother. Now her great aunt Iris has died, leaving her a fortune – if she marries Ian Stewart within the week. Doing so could mean Kira’s death due to the family curse.
‘Til Death works very well as a ghost story. There’s a dark atmosphere, some creepy occurrences, and a conclusion that could be more coherent but still makes sense. As a romance, I didn’t quite buy it. I’m not big on love at first sight, which is pretty much the basis of Kira and Ian’s relationship. They have no time to get to know each other before they are married and breaking curses. I liked both characters and felt they had chemistry, but I didn’t feel their relationship had a solid foundation.
Happily Never After by Jeaniene Frost
I know enough about Frost’s work to know that this novella connects to her main series through the character of Bones. Greta calls upon her former companion Bones to rescue her grandson Frazier and to help her granddaughter Isabella escape her engagement to Robert “Robbery” Bertino, a small-time mob boss. Pretty soon Isabella has fallen in love with Chance, whom Bones sent to take care of the problem.
I’m a sucker for mob stories. Throw in a basically amoral vampire hero and you’ve got me hooked. Isa’s a tough woman who can think on her feet and Chance likes to put down his opponents with extreme prejuidice. They’re likeable characters and the plot is solid and moves quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Isa get out of her predicament with Chance’s help. This story has the most violence of the four, but it is more of an urban fantasy than a paranormal romance.
Ghouls Night Out by Terri Garey
This novella features Nikki Styx, the heroine of Garey’s main series. Nikki agrees to be a bridesmaid in her cousin Debbie’s wedding, not knowing she’s replacing another girl. However, Michelle is still around – or at least her ghost is. Nikki must set Michelle’s spirit to rest before Michelle will leave her alone.
I was not that fond of Garey’s novel Dead Girls are Easy, and I think her entry was the weakest. It’s supposed to be a bit more light-hearted and comedic, but most of it feels mean-spirited. Nikki makes cruel comments about her family, even though she learns some of her impressions were wrong. The story picks up once Michelle’s revenge is in full swing, but until that point I just felt disgusted by the heroine.
The Wedding Night by Kathryn Smith
Vampire Payen returns to England to discover his lover Violet is getting married to another man, one who belongs to the Order of the Silver Palm. As the Order opposes both vampires and Templars, it gives Payen a reason to stop the wedding besides his jealousy. Unfortunately, his actions may put Violet in danger.
This story, unlike the others, is a historical. People who know a great deal about the Templar knights might want to avoid it, but I don’t know enough to be bothered by any historical inaccuracies. It’s a fairly simple tale, and I would like it more if I understood what was so desirable about Violet. There is one good scene where she tells off her ex-fiance, but it feels uncharacteristic of a woman of the time. (Of course, Violet is unlike her female peers even physically.) The story worked fairly well, but the characters fell flat.
Overall grade: B-
Some marriages are made in heaven . . . Some are not.
What happens when “the happiest day of your life” turns into a nightmare? Forget the drunken best man or the bridesmaid dresses from the ’80s . . . none of these wedding day disasters can compare to a cursed bride determined to make it down the aisle, or a vampire who is about to disrupt your wedding.
Join New York Times bestselling authors Maggie Shayne and Jeaniene Frost, USA Today bestseller Kathryn Smith, as well as Terri Garey in four unforgettable tales of unholy matrimony . . . where the grooms are dark, dangerous, and mostly dead, and to love and cherish till death takes on a whole new meaning.