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The Marrying Maid
The Marrying Maid
The Marrying Maid
Ebook61 pages53 minutes

The Marrying Maid

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



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"It was as if a new song entered his world, or a new taste, or a new sense -- and yet, one instantly recognized.

Rob Loxsleigh turned to look around the park, striving to make the movement casual to his chattering companions, so noisy in their silks and lace, but already fading under the power of his new awareness. There.

He smiled, with delight but with surprise.

The woman in gray? The one strolling through the park at the side of another woman just as ordinary, wearing a plain gown with little trimming and a flat straw hat?

She was his destined bride?"

Rob's been searching for his bride all his adult life and has only days left before Faery can claim a terrible victory over his family and his line.

Now he's found her, however, he has to win her, and Martha Darby wants nothing to do with a London rake, in his satin and lace. She's the respectable daughter of a Dean of York Cathedral, and as soon as Rob shows interest, she heads resolutely north.

Thus follows a lively pursuit, as every kiss increases Rob's legendary powers, and warring Oberon and Titania urge on their representatives.

PublisherJo Beverley
Release dateJul 5, 2013
The Marrying Maid
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Reviews for The Marrying Maid

Rating: 3.9375 out of 5 stars

16 ratings12 reviews

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    This book is definitely one of my favorite anthologies. There are so many good stories in here and all of them capture my imagination and make me want to check out all the authors I was introduced to.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I only read selected stories from Songs of Love and Death, because some of the authors or the first pages didn't appeal. (For example, me and Jim Butcher don't get on very well. Everyone else says the misogyny is just Harry Dresden and is part of his character and it doesn't come from Jim Butcher: it still makes me feel profoundly uncomfortable.)

    So, of the ones I read, the first was Jo Beverley's 'The Marrying Maid'. I liked the idea, especially the link to the Robin Hood legend. It could've been a whole novel, really. It felt like it wanted to be a sort of bodice ripper where the courtier seduces the reluctant churchman's daughter, but it didn't quite go there -- and was too rushed to be that in the first place, since she only refused him two or three times! Also, not terribly comfortable with the whole 'there is one woman out there for you, and she will want you, and if she refuses you, well, just rape her, she'll understand' bit.

    I skipped over Carrie Vaughan to M. L. N. Hanover's 'Hurt Me'. I found it interesting, but not very creepy, and sort of expected it to work out differently. I don't know that either of these stories really fit my definition of 'star crossed lovers'. There's nothing romantic about a guy who beats his girlfriend, or about the girl who kills him and then moves back into that house with her new boyfriend to torment his ghost. I guess the introduction part is a bit misleading.

    Cecelia Holland's offering, 'Demon Lover', is quite like 'The Marrying Maid' in the sense that it's based vaguely on folklore. Both reminded me a little of Tam Lin, though Holland has the man rescuing the woman through his true love.

    Robin Hobb's 'Blue Boots' is a simple enough little story. It made me crave a reread of the Farseer trilogy, actually, since it's set in her Six Duchies. It was nice, but not amazing... I suspect I am overly hard to please, with short stories. They're a delicate art, though.

    Neil Gaiman's story, 'The Thing About Cassandra', was very interesting. Sort of what I expected from Gaiman, but the twist ending was pretty good.

    Marjorie M. Liu's story, 'After the Blood', was... confusing. I wasn't entirely sure what was happening. Henry, I mostly got, but the rest, less so. Hm.

    The main reason I read this anthology at all was for Jacqueline Carey's story, 'You and You Alone'. This was what I'd hoped it would be -- except that I might've hoped it was a bit longer. It's the doomed love story of Anafiel Delaunay and Rolande de la Courcel, which lies unspoken behind the first Kushiel trilogy.

    'Under/Above the Water' by Tanith Lee... I liked it. I think it was well structured, and not everything was explained away.

    Peter S. Beagle's 'Kaskia', not a great fan.

    Yasmine Galenorn's story, 'Man in the Mirror', was quite nice. I liked that it really was star-crossed, this time, that it didn't end perfectly.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Lovely. Consistently solid stories, with only one or two that really fell flat for me, on the general topic of love amidst death. It's another one of those collections where having read many of the big-name series is probably an advantage, but since I'm in that position, I have no complaints.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    I guess I expected a compilation with the theme of "star crossed love" to be... darker? Some of the tales (even when not dark) fit that theme, but I felt that some did not (which always irks me in an anthology). Most of the stories were decent, but not grabbing.

    What I didn't like (maybe I'm just a sensitive, and yet heartless bitch) was the number of stories that seemed to leave the woman either dependent on, or utterly swooning - for no damned reason - some shitty male. Fuck that.

    Notables -

    Butcher - 3 st, I love Murphy, it was a cute, if irreverent story. It fit nicely in the Dresdenverse and was OK and gave any fans of pairing Karrin&Harry something to enjoy.

    Gaiman's "The Thing about Cassandra" was a delightfully chilling story.

    Carey's "You and You Alone" was a punch to the gut and was just such a sad and wonderfully written story. I haven't read any of her Kushiel's series, but this may rope me in. It was wonderfully heart wrenching and fit the theme very well and gave me the darkness I was after.

    "Hurt Me" by Hanover was awesome and super empowering. Not so much within the theme, which does bug, but it was still a nice super story.

    "Under/Above the Water" by Tanith Lee was quite beautiful. I just love her writing, it's always like sinking into the most delicious and complex of drinks. It's invigorating, pleasuring, and always leaves you wanting to sip just a little bit more. Admittedly I'm (mostly) a Lee fangirl (she has disappointed me in the past), but I feel like this short is up to what I love reading from her.

    I was disappointed in:
    Beverly's "The Marrying Maid" because it just felt like a very weak fairy tale.
    Vaughn's "Rooftops" which was ridiculous. It's some sort of world where superheroes are somewhat real, and the protagonist makes some sort of not-quite-agonizing-and-mostly-boring choice between her working beau and a weak-sauce hero (all while secretly wishing the boyfriend was a hero, ugh).
    Holland's Demon Lover, which reminds me of Pearl Jam's "Better Man" which pisses me off, because I. Don't. Get. Settling. Seriously, the "Oh, My Hero! You're not as much of an asshole as that guy. I guess I love you because you are the lesser of two shitty options" angers me.
    "His Wolf" by Tuttle just feels likes it's been done before.

    The others were OK. I just didn't feel like there was a hole lot of memorable to be found in these stories. Definitely not one of my preferred anthologies, and I probably won't be going back to reread most of these any time soon.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Great anthology, especially considering who is in it. This is great for those who follow a lot of series because most of the stories/worlds/characters are based off those series. This has a little bit of everything, so I took my time going through the stories. And I enjoyed it, even the ones from series I haven't read.