Having just finished a book by Elaine Coffman, I was eager to read this compilation. It also has another author I really like -- Ruth Langan. Mary McBride's name was the only one I wasn't familiar with when I opened the book.
THE BRIDE OF BLACKNESS CASTLE (Elaine Coffman) - In a few words, this is a retelling of the 'Beauty and the Beast' with different character names. Lady Anne comes to live with her father when her mother dies. Instead, she decides to save her father's life because he has been captured by a mysterious man he wronged.
MAVERICK HEARTS (Ruth Langan) - Summer is a con artist traveling to various towns as "Sister Goodness." While on a stagecoach, she meets a handsome robber. When he accidentally comes to her revival, Montana decides that 'they' could make a lot of money with Summer's con. However, their plans change when three orphans come to Summer's wagon and tell their tragic tale.
THE BALLAD OF JOSIE DOVE (Mary McBride) - Sheriff Will Curry wins a young woman in a high-flying poker game in Las Vegas. They both think Josie is a prostitute. However, Josie really has no memory of her past life. By the time Will and Josie think they could have a life together, trouble comes to town.
I really did not care for Elaine Coffman's story at all. Since I'm not fond of Middle Ages tales, I weighed that in the balance of my evaluation.
Ruth Langan's story was just wacky enough to be possible; I enjoyed it. However, Mary McBride's story was the best of the three. It was engaging from the first page and held my attention until the last words.
This book includes three stories: Elaine Coffman's "The bride of Blackness Castle", Ruth Langan's "Maverick hearts", and Mary McBride's "The Ballad of Josie Dove".These are all quite good and cover the wilds of northern Scotland, the Texas plains and the rugged hills of New Mexico. A good read!