Saturday, November 11, 2017

Yes--Even More Book Reviews!!

This bundle of reviews is all Austen, all the time!! They vary from a modern P&P-like story to a collection of Darcy short stories to a Georgiana romance, with more P&P tales sandwiched in between. So enjoy these reviews!!

Leap of Hope: Chance at an Austen Kind of Life Leap of Hope: Chance at an Austen Kind of Life by Shannon Winslow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hope, a college student, has died...and finds herself at the Crossroads Center with the option of returning to her former life or taking on a new identity. Given her love of all things Austen, she decides to pursue a life in Regency England, a la Pride and Prejudice, and she does so, with many adventures and a lovely romance to follow!!

A delightful read although it took me quite a while to get into it...which may have been my crazy schedule not leaving me much patience for reading something different. But I really enjoyed this book once Hope became Katherine Barrett (yes, the same last name as mine--isn't that wonderful??) in a family very similar to the Bennets of Longbourn. A wonderful romance develops between Kathleen and a rather morose gentleman...with many surprises along the way!

Three Dates with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation AnthologyThree Dates with Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Anthology by Elizabeth Ann West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although I had read one of these stories before, all three were memorable tales of Darcy and Elizabeth of Pride and Prejudice fame. The second story (novel-length), A Winter Wrong, I had purchased separately, but I had not before read the short story "Much to Conceal" or the novel-length By Consequence of Marriage. This last is the first of a trilogy, and I have been so engrossed in it that I think I need to obtain the other two novels in "The Moralities of Marriage" series.

Wonderful stories, and especially wonderful portraits of Darcy. A lovely collection!

The Whisky Wedding: a Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet storyThe Whisky Wedding: A Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet story by Elizabeth Ann West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful variation of Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth goes off in search of Lydia after Wickham and she elope. While Jane, Uncle Gardiner, and Mr. Bennet head to London, Mrs. Gardiner, the children, and Elizabeth travel to Gretna Green to see if the couple had truly eloped to Scotland.

Once in Gretna Green and with no sign of her sister or the despised Wickham, Elizabeth leaves her aunt, who is determined to return to England, and travels to the next few towns in Scotland in case Lydia and Wickham went farther to marry. While traveling, her carriage had a serious accident, resulting in the death of a child, and Elizabeth is seriously injured. Mr. Darcy finds her as he is staying a short way away at his Scottish estate, and he whisks her away, not realizing how very injured she is. And the story goes on from there.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of Darcy in this one, and Elizabeth meets him with every intention of apologizing for her horrible rejection of his proposals at Hunsford. So they are both in love with each other (Darcy more than Elizabeth, but she catches up quickly). The main problem is his family when they return to London...and her family, too, actually.

The "bad guy" who isn't truly "bad" is Lady Matlock who is trying to patch up Georgiana's debacle at Ramsgate, Lydia's botched elopement, and Darcy and Elizabeth's actual elopement. But she goes about it badly, disproving of all of the Bennets (some with good reason!) and alienating Darcy, Elizabeth, and the Colonel in the process.

I couldn't put this one down--really wonderful!!!

Believing in Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation Believing in Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Renata McMann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story starts out strangely, with the death of one of the characters, accidentally but at the fault of Lady Catherine. Elizabeth saves one of the characters, to the detriment of the one who does die. Darcy steps in to assist with the final arrangements on behalf of the widow, and shortly another character also dies, placing Darcy in a strange predicament and at odds with Elizabeth.

The whole Bennet family must be shuffled off here and there, and Mrs. Bennet is of course inconsolable...especially because no one wants to stay with her and listen to her complaining day in and out. It's a very different and highly-interesting variation of Pride and Prejudice and it's quite, quite intriguing...and not predictable at all.

Particular Attachments Particular Attachments by L.L. Diamond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perhaps because I had read several of the opening chapters at Austen Variations, I had a more challenging time than usual in sinking into this novel. But once I did, I went gangbusters trying to find out what happens between Georgiana Darcy and her childhood nemesis, Nathaniel. Considering the crazy week I've just managed to survive while juggling the teaching of two Brave Writer classes and grading many essays for my business, it was a miracle that I finished this book at all.

It does help to read Particular Intentions first so that one knows Darcy and Elizabeth's story before launching into the story of Georgiana and Nathaniel as well as Lydia and her Mr. Hanson. Four years have passed since the first book in the series, and Georgiana, who has delayed her come-out to age twenty because she plans to never marry, is finally convinced to enter London society. And the annoying Nathaniel is immediately at her side. She ignores him. She teases him. He makes her angrier than anyone else on earth...and the sparks fly! But Georgiana's past seems to be catching up with her, and she must tell Nathaniel a dreadful that will ruin her in society forever.

Once I got about a quarter of the way into this book, I couldn't put it down. I even brushed my teeth with Kindle in hand, eager for the next encounter between Georgiana and the persistent Nathaniel. A delightful book in every way!!

I rarely give 5's to any book except for classics, but this novel deserves it--and then some!

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I hope that you have enjoyed this very Austen-heavy set of book reviews. When I'm stressed, I tend to return to old favorites...or, in the case of Austen variations, new retellings of old favorites! 

Happy reading! 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice review, Susanne! I'm glad you enjoyed Hope's/Kathleen's story. I certainly had a lot of fun writing it!

Susanne Barrett said...

You're very welcome, Shannon!! It was fun seeing my last name throughout the book, LOL!!! But I really enjoyed Hope/Katherine's transformation and the grumpy, grouchy doctor!! He's like Darcy with a significant dose of Lady Catherine, LOL!

Thank you for writing this lovely novel!!

Susanne :)


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