Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology
The discovery of an old sixpence provides the narrative frame in this anthology of four Regency novellas. Recalling the traditional rhyme, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in her shoe’, four friends at a girls’ school light-heartedly agree to use the coin as a good luck charm to find husbands when they are older, passing it on when each is successful. The four authors take it in turns to describe how they fare.
The young women are likeable and deserve their good fortune, and it is intriguing to watch how the rhyme is worked into the plot. The men they find are even more fortunate, rescued by lively partners from dull and lonely lives, though my personal favorite is Julia Quinn’s delightful account of how two scholarly-minded loners find each other.
Because space is limited in a novella, relationships must develop rapidly. Even so, the eagerness with which most anticipate their marriage vows seems precipitous, and anywhere will do: against a nearby wall, on the lawn, the settee, a desk… I doubt whether Jane Austen would approve, but modern readers have different expectations. Recommended.