by Sabrina Jeffries
Category: Adult Historical Romance
Keywords: Historical, romance, short story
Source: e-ARC received from Netgalley
In “Ten Reasons to Stay,” previously published in the anthology The School for Heiresses, lessons go far beyond etiquette and needlepoint. Eliza Crenshawe’s lesson is to look before she leaps. But when she discovers that her new guardian plans to marry her off without so much as a Season, she forgets all that. She flees—on a horse she unwittingly steals (oops!)—from Colin Hunt, a newly minted earl who wants nothing more than for her to go home…or stay forever.
I have only recently come around to the wonderful writing of Sabrina Jeffries. While I have only read a couple of her books, she is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical romance authors. Therefore I was quite excited to pick up this novella by Jeffries that was originally published in the School for Heiresses anthology. Novellas can be hit or miss for me since, because of the length, the usually end up just not having enough depth to be a truly compelling read. While I thought it was a little implausible for the two main characters of this story to fall in love so quickly, I did enjoy their story and found it to be extremely sweet and sexy.
Eliza Crenshawe is a headstrong young woman who flees her home after learning that her guardian plans to marry her off to an aging friend despite her protests. In order to make her way to friends who may be able to help her, Eliza attempts to “borrows” a horse from a local estate. Unfortunately she is caught by Colin Hunt, the new Earl of Monteith, who decides to hold Eliza until he can figure out who she is and why she was stealing his horse.
This story didn’t have a lot of emotional angst, but it was a really cute, quick read. Eliza is a such a fun character. She’s a total spitfire and I loved that she wasn’t cowed by her uncle or by Colin. She’s very forthright and passionate and, like Colin, I could not help but fall for her. Colin was a wonderful protagonist as well. I liked that he had an unusual background and had lived in India for a long time. The circumstances of his previous marriage were very tragic and gave his character more depth. I also found him to be very honorable and he and Eliza had instant chemistry.
While I really liked these characters, I did think that their whirlwind romance happened a little too quickly to be entirely plausible. It definitely fit within the structure of the story (Eliza really could not have been missing for more than a day or two before her reputation was really ruined) but I did wish that we had had a little more time for Colin and Eliza to fall in love. I also thought the resolution with Eliza’s uncle wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly but it didn’t detract very much from the overall story.
I have not read any of the School for Heiresses novels and I don’t think you need to in order to read Ten Reasons To Stay. This worked for me as a standalone. It does, however, pique my interest in the series and I will definitely be going back and reading them. If you are in the mood for a quick read, I would definitely recommend this. Ten Reason To Stay is a very sweet read that will entertain and leave you wanting more.