Sweet tale is a gift from trio of writers

Lezlie Patterson / McClatchy-Tribune News Service /

“The Lady Most Willing” by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Connie Brockway (Avon, $7.99)

Following their successful endeavor of “The Lady Most Likely,” this trio of popular writers once again gift readers with a “novel in three parts.”

This time, four ladies are kidnapped by a drunken Scottish laird, determined to find wives for his two nephews. When the four ladies are revealed at the crumbling castle where the unsuspecting nephews are shocked by their uncle’s action, they also discover the uncle had inadvertently kidnapped a duke as well.

How can this not be a fun, witty and entertaining story? Make that three stories, that blend together for one enchanting and charming novel.

In the first part, Catriona is well familiar with Taran (the Scottish laird) and his antics. Her composure, practicality and poise — not to mention her beauty, intelligence and humor — attract the duke immediately. But as a poor daughter of a Scottish squire, she’s not exactly bridal material for a duke.

Catriona is probably the most likable of the three heroines, although all are admirable in their own way. Duke Bret is probably the most likable of the three heroes, although all of them are admirable in their own way as well.

For example, the middle section pairs the stoic and somber Byron, an earl, with Fiona, a ruined heiress. Byron always has been a stickler for propriety and abhors scandals. And last, but not least, is the story of Robin and Cecily. Robin is known as the “Prince of Rakes,” an image he never tries to discourage. He’s convinced that the best thing for the pure and sweet Cecily is for him to avoid her.

Cecily isn’t so convinced. Cecily wins. And so does Robin.