Series: Essex Sisters #4.4
Published by Avon Impulse on May 24th 2016
Genres: Commentary, Historical
The OFFICIAL ESSEX SISTER COMPANION GUIDE contains information about the creation of the books in the Essex Sisters series. There are small, easily read essays regarding the background to the books, historical information surrounding various aspects of the books including clothing and publications, and some thoughts on the themes of the books.
Even readers who are not interested in the academic writings here should at least read the new material for the series. There is the final 10 years later epilogue to the series which gives readers the updates on the characters including children. There is also a short story entitled A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DISGRACE which tells the story of one of the women who was also branded with a notorious nickname like Josie in PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE. In A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DISGRACE, Cecilia who was tarred by her brother’s nickname “Silly Billy” because men where afraid that her brother’s mental disability might be hereditary. In this story, Cecilia gets her happy ending. She decides to court ruination in order to be able to avoid continuing in society. When she approaches the musician who caught her attention, she gets more than she expected. While the story is short, it is sweet and I enjoyed the interaction between the hero and heroine. While only tangentially connected with the series, Josie and Mayne make an appearance.
Finally, there is an alternate ending for KISS ME, ANNABEL. This definitely should not be read until after the novel itself. Apparently, the entire second half of that novel was re-written and the original draft is included in this guide. It was interesting to see the differences between the original and final book. I prefer the final story, but I did like that in the original version, a portion of Rafe and Imogen’s story from THE TAMING OF THE DUKE. One of my complaints of that book was the Rafe’s kicking of his addiction to alcohol happened too close to the romance for me. In the original version of KISS ME, ANNABEL, Rafe begins his sobriety in that book which is exactly what I wanted emotionally for Rafe and Imogen’s story. It was a fascinating exercise to see how that story might have been different.
For readers of the Essex Sisters series, this Companion Guide is worth reading even if you just read the extra material for the series itself.