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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Flowers of Penruddock: A Romance Collection from Ronnda Eileen Henry is a collection of seven substantial novellas that all focus on the mythical land of Penruddock, which Henry has created and expanded on over time. The novellas all take place over different periods of Penruddock’s history; a history, it seems, that is measured by before and after the rule of Good King Adelard. King Adelard was the last king to rule over a unified and united Penruddock. Upon his death, the island nation was divided up into six kingdoms, each to be ruled by one of his six sons. The story of Good King Adelard and what led to his decision to split his kingdom is told in the fourth novella, Hyacinth: Love Royal and True, and is in itself fascinating. Each of the seven novellas is named after the lead female character in the story, also being the name of a flower. So, we have Poppy, Rose, Violet, Hyacinth and more. As a bonus, at the end is a story written by the author titled Cousins One and All, a Jane Austen fan fiction story.
I loved this wonderful collection of simple love stories. There is nothing pretentious about Ronnda Eileen Henry’s writing and in The Flowers of Penruddock: A Romance Collection, she gives us simple, sweet and uplifting love stories about real characters. I particularly liked that age, occupation and social status had no bearing in the characters’ choices of who they fell in love with. Many of the stories are centred around nobility and royalty, where “love matches” are often the last consideration when arranging a marriage. More important are improving one’s status or adding a title to one’s family name. Henry’s characters rise above these material issues and true love is found, pursued and defended stoutly. Because all the stories revolve around the land of Penruddock, albeit at different times in history, I always felt an affinity with the location of each new story. This is a long collection of stories, but one that can be delved into and read at one’s leisure. Each story stands alone and I can highly recommend this to anyone who loves, good, clean, but exciting romantic adventure. My favourite stories? Marigold: Love in Two Acts, closely followed by Peony: Forged in Love, but truth be told, I enjoyed them all immensely.