This book cover is giving meals the fall vibes! I am absolutely in love with this dress! I wish I could wear something like this to work, it looks so cozy! This book is coming in hot with the fall theme not just in the cover but in the title as well and I am absolutely here for it. I am ready to usher in fall and all the cozy reading and this book seems like a nice way to do that!
Today I have an excerpt to share with you guys and I am really looking forward to hearing what you guys think! This series is in it’s seventh book but they can be read out of order. This book is on the shorter side (300 pages) so it will make for some quick reading no doubt, and it’s an anthology so there are a couple of stories included in this one!
I love clean romances and of course the Victorian era is right up my alley (yes, I binged Bridgerton)! Each novella features a fun heroine and a charming romance for readers to enjoy and while I often favor full length romances sometimes having a novella/anthology is refreshing. I find that reading a variety of stories can help break up the desire to read something fun without having to fully commit to a full length novel if that makes sense. I am so excited to check this collection out and I hope you enjoy reading the excerpt!
An Autumn Kiss is the seventh book in the Timeless Victorian Collection, a bestselling anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from acclaimed historical romance authors whose stories reveal if one kiss will change the lives of the three heroines.
“The Plucky Miss Ruth,” by Laura Rollins
Miss Ruth Hughes is certain she’s caught in a time loop—every day she wakes to find it exactly as the one before. A thrilling prospect to be sure. If the many books she reads on time travel has taught her anything, it is that to break free she must complete an all-important task. For Ruth the task is straightforward: reunite a couple, once desperately in love but forced apart by society. Unfortunately, things are not always as easy as they first appear. Struggling, Ruth opens up to the handsome Lord Lambert and he readily agrees to help. With autumn on the brink of turning into winter, time is running out for Ruth to help the ones who need her most. And, with a bit of luck, perhaps she can even find a little time for her own happily ever after.
“Mr. Dowling’s Remedy,” by Annette Lyon
Crandall Dowling’s aspirations of becoming a physician collapse when he develops symptoms that land him in an asylum. He’s been at Sherville Retreat long enough for autumn leaves to appear when Beverly Stanton arrives. She’s held under the dubious diagnosis of “hysteria” but seems perfectly sane, unlike Crandall, though his verbal and physical tics don’t seem to scare or even bother her. Beverly and Crandall develop a friendship fueled by an undeniable attraction that under other circumstances could become more. But in an asylum, one cannot plan a future, let alone one of love or marriage. Then tragedy strikes, testing staff and patients beyond anyone’s training. When the dust settles, Beverly’s diagnosis may be reversed, but if she leaves, what will become of her? What of Crandall? And what of their autumn-born love?
“A Railway Through the Roses,” by Lisa H. Catmull
Mr. Adrian Everard has tried everything to keep his father’s factory open, but a single solution remains. Marry an heiress before Christmas to fund the desperately needed railway. The local landowner, Lady Anne Baxter, will not agree to sell her garden—or her heart. Indeed, his childhood friend is determined to sabotage all his efforts to find a wife. As the deadline for Adrian to choose a bride draws close, one thing becomes painfully obvious. Saving the factory will mean losing the woman he loves forever.
The carriage rattled along the winding drive, past trees half-dressed with fiery-colored branches, half-naked after having lost many of their leaves. The tops of some trees were like bony fingers reaching skyward as if in supplication of heaven.
Beverly Stanton adjusted the heavy quilt around her legs, though doing so didn’t help; the dank air would not be kept out, slithering as it did through any possible crack and crevice. She felt the chill down to her bones.
“Stop fussing,” Mr. Pyke, her stepfather, said. “We’re almost there.”
Beverly quieted her movements and returned her gaze out the window, where thick trees passed by. She felt all too much like them—out in the cold autumn morning, feeling half-alive, supplicating for intervention. To no avail. Her stepfather would have his way, and no woman in his household could say a word about it.
Why the man thought that having her sent to the Sherville Retreat—rather, asylum—would solve anything remained beyond her comprehension. Then again, so did the idea that she was a lunatic with hysteria so severe that she needed to be sent away under a certificate.
At times she almost believed him. If one was a hysterical lunatic, one wouldn’t know it, would they? How could she be sure of her own sanity? How could anyone?
And yet when she was away from Mr. Pyke, she felt quite sure of herself and his designs against her, and that nothing she said or did—or thought or felt—had any basis in medical lunacy.
It was all an excuse to get rid of her.
“There it is,” her mother said beside her, patting Beverly’s leg and nodding through the window.
Sure enough, a large estate came into view. Not as grand as many she’d heard of but many times larger than any house she’d personally laid eyes on. It had a central door flanked by five windows in rows along the sides, going up three floors. The exterior was a pale yellow, perhaps an attempt at cheeriness in the midst of what had to be a life of misery and despair for so many.
Beverly swallowed against the tightness in her throat. What would life hold for her behind those walls? Would she be bound in shackles, as she’d heard some lunatics were—men and women deemed less than human? “Mother, I—”
“It’s lovely,” Mother said, patting her arm and pointing. “They say that many residents are allowed to walk about the grounds freely.”
Beverly looked at her mother. “Truly?” she said hopefully. A look out the window once more gave her brief hope; two women walked together along a path in the distance, not far from the main building. As the coach drew nearer, however, something else became visible: a length of cord tied about one woman’s waist and the other woman holding the other end.
These weren’t two friends on a stroll. This was some poor woman deemed a lunatic, unable to take a turn about the grounds without someone on the staff ensuring that she was restrained like a dog.
She felt a hand go to her neck as if she could feel a dog collar there. Dread pooled in her middle.
The coach stopped, and at last, they alighted. Beverly felt that she was quite sure what seasickness must be like, as her middle continued to roll as the coach had over the road despite now being on solid ground.
A group of three—two men and a woman—greeted them. One of the men appeared to be in charge. The other man wore livery, and the woman wore a black dress with a white apron. Servants.
“Mr. Pyke, I presume?” the man of about fifty said.
“Indeed,” came the reply. “This is my wife, Mrs. Pyke, and this here is her daughter, Miss Beverly Stanton.”
“Welcome. I’m Mr. Sherville, owner of the retreat. We’ll take good care of you, Miss Stanton.”
Beverly found her mouth and throat as dry as cotton, so she merely nodded. Mr. Sherville seemed nice enough, but she wouldn’t allow his demeanor to raise her hopes. It might have if she hadn’t seen the woman on a leash, but if the little she’d gleaned from papers and rumor were anywhere near accurate, patients at the asylum weren’t treated as if they were merely on a seaside vacation to rest their nerves, as Mother tried to paint it.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Romance Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.
- 5 STARS – “…a fun collection and each of them have something unique from most of the romances I’ve read. Very enjoyable reading.”— Maria Thomas, Goodreads
- “This anthology is truly wonderful. Each story is very distinct from the others, and each is also very compelling. It will keep you reading and wanting more with each page and chapter.”— Shauna Jones, Goodreads
- 5 STARS “absolutely adored this collection of short stories! I would recommend this collection to anyone who needs an escape for a couple of hours.”— Jzcotter03, Goodreads
Laura Rollins has always loved a heart-melting happily ever after. It didn’t matter if the story took place in Regency England, or in a cobbler’s shop, if there was a sweet romance, she would read it.
Life has given her many of her own adventures. Currently she lives in the Rocky Mountains with her best friend, who is also her husband, and their four beautiful children. She still loves to read books and more books; her favorite types of music are classical, Broadway, and country; she loves hiking in the mountains near her home; and she’s been known to debate with her oldest son about whether Infinity is better categorized as a number or an idea.
Annette Lyon is a USA Today bestselling author, a 9-time recipient of Utah’s Best in State medal for fiction (three times for novel-length works and five times for short fiction), and a Whitney Award winner for BAND OF SISTERS. She’s the author of over a dozen novels, at least that many novellas, a cookbook, a popular grammar guide, and over a hundred magazine articles.
She’s a founder and regular contributor of the Timeless Romance Anthologies line of sweet romance stories, which she served as editor for its first three years. She’s also one of the four co-authors of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. She graduated cum laude from BYU with a degree in English.
I write clean and wholesome romances in the Victorian era and sweet contemporary romances. My books have been nominated for Swoony, RONE, and Whitney awards.
I taught Middle School English and History for seven years before pursuing screenwriting and writing. I currently live between a canyon and a lake in Utah with my husband, two cats, and two rambunctious children.WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS