It was such a pleasure to welcome Helena Fairfax as my guest on Being Anne back in May (you’ll find the post here), telling us about Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings – an anthology by nine Northern romance authors who call themselves Authors on the Edge – published on 18th May, and available in print and as an ebook. I was really excited about this one, bought my copy, and I’m sorry it’s taken me far longer than I planned to get round to reading it (story of my life…). But a pleasure postponed most certainly can be a pleasure doubled – what a wonderful read!
Sometimes what you need is right there waiting for you…
Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium has stood in the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge for as long as anyone can remember. With her ever-changing stock, Miss Moonshine has a rare gift for providing exactly what her customers need: a fire opal necklace that provides a glimpse of a different life; a novel whose phantom doodler casts a spell over the reader; a music box whose song links love affairs across the generations. One thing is for certain: after visiting Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, life is never the same again…
Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the happy-ever-after.
I notice that almost every review of this lovely book begins with “I don’t really read short stories but…” so I’ll avoid the temptation to do the same. But this is a short story collection with a real difference, the link created by Miss Moonshine and her timeless emporium and the setting of Haven Bridge, and it all works just perfectly. And it’s a wonderful showcase for the talents of a group of very talented friends and authors – several of whom I’ve read and enjoyed before, and others I’ve added to my “must read their next novel” notebook.
With the link provided by Miss Moonshine, there’s real variety in this collection – beginning with two historical stories, a very touching Regency romance (and a thoroughly engaging one) from Melinda Hammond that I really (and slightly unexpectedly) enjoyed, and a lovely Edwardian romance from Helena Fairfax. I was on rather more familiar ground with what followed, and can honestly say that I loved every story – every one featuring strong characters, well developed story lines and a perfect emotional touch.
Maybe I shouldn’t pick out my favourites, but I will! I thought The Girl Who Didn’t Win by Kate Field was just one of those perfectly constructed stories with all the elements that would have made me more than happy to read a whole book based around its characters. The Man in her Dreams by Jacqui Cooper, with its supernatural touches, was exceptionally original and quite beautifully written. And The Angel Stone by Sophie Claire – a really excellent story, and an uplifting one about finding yourself and moving on. I also particularly enjoyed The Last Chapter by Mary Jayne Baker, a gorgeous bookish romance and a really original idea at its core.
I really shouldn’t have started this, should I? As I flick through the book again, I want to mention every single story – but I won’t. Do try this book, it’s the loveliest experience, a warm and unforgettable collection of happy ever afters, and a wonderful introduction to the work of a group of authors whose books deserve to be on every reader’s reading list. Oh, I do so wish Miss Moonshine, the wonderful Napoleon and the emporium were real… but then again, maybe they are.
And I’ll finish by adding again some links to the other appearances on Being Anne of some of the Authors on the Edge…
Helen Pollard – Review of The Little French Guesthouse