Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Even More Book Reviews!

So here are a few more book reviews, mostly dating back into August and early September when I had my Kindle Unlimited account and took a rest between finishing up teaching my Fan Fiction summer course at Brave Writer and starting the new school year....

Darcy Goes to War: A Pride and Prejudice Re-Imagining Darcy Goes to War: A Pride and Prejudice Re-Imagining by Mary Lydon Simonsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Set during World War II, everyone at Longbourn is doing his/her part in the war effort. Elizabeth drives a lorry, delivering food and supplies where needed. But Elizabeth refuses to fall for anyone when men and dying left and right; the death of Jane's fiance (who was also Elizabeth's childhood friend) taught her that. But what can she do when fighter pilot Darcy starts pursuing her? Set during the rocket attacks in Britain in the days before the attack on Normandy, this book is historically accurate and emotionally compelling; I simply could not put it down!!

Love Never Fails: A Pride & Prejudice Variation Love Never Fails: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Jennifer Joy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another lovely variation of Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice. In this variation, Mr. Bennet passes away the morning of the Meryton Assembly; thus, the Bennet women are in mourning and do not meet the Bingleys or Darcy. However, Darcy met Mr. Bennet the day before his death and is carrying guilt regarding the elderly gentleman's passing. Darcy writes a letter that Mrs. Bennet, thinking it a bill, burns. Elizabeth turns down Mr. Collins' proposal despite the fact that marrying him would allow her family to continue at Longbourn, but Charlotte, when she accepts Mr. Collins' offer of marriage, persuades him to allow the Bennets to remain at Longbourn at least until their year of mourning is over. Mrs. Bennet, indignant at Charlotte's acceptance of Mr. Collins and declaring that Longbourn is no longer their home, quits the estate practically overnight, selling off her husband's library (which grieves Elizabeth to no end) to finance her and the older two girls' stay in London while bringing Lydia with her as well; the other two girls remain with the Phillipses. Once in London, the fireworks begin.... ;)

An enjoyable variation of Austen's famous novel, and a delightful summer afternoon read!

The Resolute Suitor: A Pride and Prejudice Variation The Resolute Suitor: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Don H. Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful and dramatic variation on Austen's Pride and Prejudice, The Resolute Suitor introduces a very resolute Darcy who, despite Elizabeth's refusal, continues to pursue her. Elizabeth is slowly introduced into the ton and becomes a fixed figure there, and finally she and Darcy become engaged. However, tragedy strikes, and life changes for all of the Bennet girls...and that's all I'm gonna say for now. But it's good. Really good. Unable-to-be-put-down good. Yep. This one is a keeper.

In the hundreds of variations of Austen's novels I've read, I've discovered that some of the most profound versions have been written by men, and Don H. Miller is at the top of that list...along with Austen Variations' Jack Caldwell.

Rumours & Recklessness: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Rumours and Recklessness: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Nicole Clarkston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful variation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Rumours and Recklessness starts with a tragic accident at Longbourn that changes the situation of all of the Bennet family on the morning after the Netherfield Ball. This alteration causes the party at Netherfield to not leave, as occurred in Austen's novel, and Elizabeth, practically forced into a marriage she does not want, rebels at the highhandedness of the men who visit her at Longbourn during this difficult time. Will Fitzwilliam Darcy be able to win her heart and hand after all that's happened?

I thoroughly enjoyed this variation of Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I don't usually give 5's to books that are not classics in their own right, but this book was practically un-put-downable. I had to force myself to hide my Kindle out of sight so that I could devote time that I would rather be reading to actually teaching my online classes.

And as I read the author biography at the end, I was thrilled to discover that she is also a homeschooling mom and is also an ardent admirer of Elizabeth Gaskell as well as Jane Austen...just as I am!

So Rumours and Recklessness provides a wonderful excursion back to the Regency era, allowing us readers to revisit our favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters from Austen's most popular novel and enjoy the humor and romance that makes us adore Austen's books and characters so greatly. Read and enjoy!!

Hope For Mr. Darcy Hope For Mr. Darcy by Jeanna Ellsworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always love Jenna Ellsworth's variations of Austen's novels; they are well-written, romantic without being too detailed, contain great character development and exciting plot twists, and contain subtle Christian themes.

Much like Georgia McCall's Obligation and Redemption, the Christian themes are at the heart of the novel, but not in a clingy, saccharine-sweet manner. And while these themes pervade the novel, they add to the plot and the character development rather than detracting from it. For the most part, I have not been a fan of Christian romance novels, but Hope for Mr. Darcy was a delightful read. Much lighter and more accessible than McCall's novel (which I just finished reading before starting this book), it doesn't have the depth and angst of Obligation and Redemption, but Hope for Mr. Darcy, like all of Ellsworth's books, is a wonderful variation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice and should be enjoyed by all devotees of continuations and variations of Austen's novels, whether the readers are Christians or not. And I am looking forward with great anticipation to the second and third volumes in this trilogy series.

The Mistress of Longbourn The Mistress of Longbourn by Jann Rowland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very interesting variation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, The Mistress of Longbourn finds a very diminished Bennet family. An epidemic struck the village of Meryton, taking the lives of many; hardly a family was left untouched. But Longbourn received the worst of it: the only survivors were Elizabeth, whose strong constitution allowed her to be the only one at Longbourn to fall ill and survive (although her convalescence was lengthy), and Kitty, the only one in the household to never fall ill. With their Uncle Gardiner in London as their guardian and their Uncle Phillips in Meryton to watch over them, Elizabeth and Kitty grow close during their year of mourning. Elizabeth learns to run the estate and Kitty the house, and with wise decisions thanks to a wonderful steward who marries the replacement housekeeper after Mrs. Hill's demise (as well), Longbourn is thriving.

And then Netherfield is let by a single man in possession of a good fortune....

A definite twist or three from the Austen's original, I found myself unable to put this book down. It was well-written, with delightful character development and plenty more twists and turns along the way as Elizabeth, now the mistress of Longbourn, has plenty of admirers to deal with.

Happy Reading!

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