Short Stories 366:44 — “That Could Be Enough,” by Alyssa Cole

coverAnother novella for today’s short story on this yearly trip through short fiction, and once again it’s both (a) from Alyssa Cole and (b) available in a superbly performed audiobook. So if you’re fans of either, get on that.

This story was originally released as part Hamilton’s Battalion: a Trio of Romances, “That Could Be Enough” struck me as familiar at first, and it wasn’t until I looked into the audiobook and learned about the trio of romances that I realized why—it connects and crosses over with The Pursuit of…, which I already discussed on this yearly trek through short fiction and loved.

So, what have we got here? We’ve got Mercy, who is a maid and scribe for Eliza Hamilton, and who has had her heart so thoroughly broken that she has sworn off love forever more. She used to write, used to find joys in even the most minor of things, but now she keeps herself tightly contained, as it’s the only way to be safe.

Then Andromeda comes to call. She’s there to tell Eliza Hamilton about her grandfather and his role in Hamilton’s battalion, and she sparks something in Mercy that Mercy never wanted to feel again. It’s okay, though, because Mercy knows how to keep herself under her own control.

It’s just that Andromeda likes a challenge.

What unfolds here has a dash of misunderstanding (not my favourite as a conflict, but it’s done very well and in a way that made Mercy’s reaction make absolute sense), but honestly I would have forgiven it had it been done with even a heavy hand as the characters are just so fantastic, the setting so vibrant, and—ultimately—the story so damn appealing and refreshing and triumphant.

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