Book Reviews, Regency Romance

Charming Artemis, by Sarah M. Eden — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart,” as Jane Austen once wrote. But when tender hearts are hidden behind protective shields, will their charm ever be revealed? Bestselling author Sarah M. Eden explores the promises and pitfalls of tender hearts in the highly anticipated finale of her acclaimed Jonquil Brothers and Lancaster Family series, Charming Artemis.

Miss Artemis Lancaster had been utterly neglected by her widowed father through most of her impoverished childhood. “Oh, how she’d needed someone to see her, to understand the tears that sat on her heart all the time.” (97) When her eldest sister married a duke, Artemis was catapulted into a world of plenty, supported by siblings who cared for her. But nothing and nobody could heal the wounds of her overwhelming fear of abandonment. She had built an impenetrable fortress around her heart and disguised her pain with a detached and disdainful veneer, yet she was ever-hopeful of finding the unconditional love she sought.

Charlie Jonquil was the son of an earl and the youngest of seven brothers. “The Jonquil family had not merely an heir and a spare, as the saying went, but an heir and six spares. He wasn’t often needed or helpful.” (331) Obligated to select a career, he had focused his efforts at Cambridge on his love of mathematics, determined to become a lecturer there. “Strange, perhaps, but Charlie wasn’t embarrassed by his passion for numbers. He’d come to appreciate that he had a knack for something. He’d found purpose and focus in knowing, at last, what he was meant to do with his life.” (184)

After an unpleasant meeting several years before that left them adversaries, Artemis and Charlie are disgruntled to find themselves thrown into each other’s company once again at the wedding celebration of mutual friends. “Indeed, there was not a member of Charlie Jonquil’s family whose company Artemis didn’t find delightful. Except for Charlie. And from what she’d heard, she was one of the only people in the entire world he didn’t like.” (292) For the benefit of their friends, they agree to a temporary ceasefire.

Then disaster strikes. They are caught in the appearance of a scandalous situation, and the only reasonable solution to the misunderstanding is a forced marriage. “If he and Artemis did not move forward with this plan, she would be ruined, and he would be labeled a rake for the rest of his life. They would both forever be tainted by the scandal, and their families would suffer for it.” (570)

They are each burdened with bitterness over the destruction of their dreamed-for futures. For Artemis, “once more, she would be living with a man who despised her in a home where she would never be wanted.” (503) And Charlie “was going to be as unneeded and unnecessary in his own marriage as he had been in his family growing up.” (704) The future they face together looks bleak, at best. Will the love and support of the Jonquil and Lancaster families be enough to liberate them from a marriage of inconvenience?

Everything that Edenites adore about the Jonquil brothers and Lancaster family is in this book: adorable children, witty banter, the dangerous duke and the entertaining earl, heartrending moments, and an abundance of love in all forms. I laughed, cried, smiled, and sighed. The story was so immersive that I didn’t want to put it down, and I valiantly attempted to pace myself so that I could savor it because I didn’t want it to end. Inevitably, I lost track of time every time I traveled into their world, and much sooner than I wished, it was over. It warmed my heart, and my Kindle is full of highlighted passages that made me smile. I’ve become inordinately fond of these characters over the years, and I’m sad to leave them behind. Yet I’m also hopeful about all of the wonderful tales still to come from the charmed pen of Sarah M. Eden in the form of the two related series, The Gents and The Huntresses.

Charming Artemis is an ending that feels like a promising beginning thanks to masterful storytelling that beckons readers to become honorary members of these beloved families who will always live on in our hearts.

“Think on me fondly, with smiles and laughter. Dry your tears. Hold fast to hope. Forget me not.” (2692)

5 out of 5 Stars

  • Charming Artemis, by Sarah M. Eden
  • Covenant Communications, Inc. (October 4, 2021)
  • Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (340) pages
  • ISBN: 978-1524418069

Cover image courtesy of Covenant Communications © 2021; text Katie Jackson, Austenprose.com

Austenesque, Book News, Short Story Anthology

Jane Austen Made Me Do It’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway

Happy Monday dear readers! It is a special day for me. Ten years ago on October 11, 2011 my short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It was published by Ballantine Books.  I can’t believe how the years have flown by.

The collection includes 22 original short stories and reading group material from bestselling authors Jo Beverley, Syrie James, Adriani Trigiani, and Lauren Willig; top Austen sequel writers Stephanie Barron, Pamela Aidan, Elizabeth Aston, Amanda Grange, Alexandra Potter, and Laurie Viera Rigler; mother and daughter (Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway) and husband and wife (Frank Delaney and Diane Meier) teams; and a brand new voice in Austenesque fiction—Brenna Aubrey, the Grand Prize winner of the anthology’s  short story contest.

PRAISE

  • “An Austenesque box of bonbons,”The Seattle Times
  • “…this anthology is bang on the money.”— Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine
  • Jane Austen Made Me Do It is the rare short-story compilation in which each and every one of the twenty-two stories manages to shine. Each contains a new take on Austen, a new concept of what Austen hoped to do with her life and work or even a new take on modern romance from Austen’s viewpoint.”— Romance Junkies

Continue reading “Jane Austen Made Me Do It’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Holiday Reading, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of A Hopeful Holiday: A Pride and Prejudice Novella, by Heather Moll

Happy Friday dear readers!

It’s official. The holiday reading season has begun on Austenprose. First out the gate is Heather Moll’s forthcoming novella, A Hopeful Holiday.

Heather is the popular author of four Pride and Prejudice variations including: Nine Ladies, Two More Days at Netherfield, and His Choice of a Wife. A Hopeful Holiday is also a variation of Jane Austen’s classic, spinning a new story from her characters and settings. This time Moll creatively mixes up Austen’s timeline offering new obstacles to keep Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s romance churning. Here is a book description and an exclusive excerpt from the author to give you a feel for the story.

While the competition for your holiday reading is fierce, I hope that you will add A Hopeful Holiday to your list. I found it to be a perfect introduction to the season to help us get in the mood and eager to deck the halls and plan our family gatherings.

Best, Laurel Ann Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of A Hopeful Holiday: A Pride and Prejudice Novella, by Heather Moll”

Book Previews, Regency Romance, Short Story Anthology

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Inns of Devonshire: Timeless Regency Collection (Book 18), by Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, & Deborah M. Hathaway

Happy Monday dear readers, Fall is here in my neck of the woods. I am busy with my, “put the garden to bed” for the winter projects and am also enjoying the change of color of the leaves. Soon it will be back to indoor activities and more reading. If you are ready (like me) to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book, I have the perfect historical romance anthology for you.

The Timeless Regency Collection is publishing its eighteenth book in the series this week, The Inns of Devonshire. This engaging anthology features three novellas by authors Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, & Deborah M. Hathaway who are known for their captivating characters and heartfelt romance. This time the theme is focused on coaching inns, a clever way to introduce us to new characters and stories.

To whet your appetite, here are the book description and an exclusive excerpt from the publisher. in celebration of its release we are participating in the virtual book tour, so be sure to check out the other stops over the next two weeks.

Enjoy, Laurel Ann Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Inns of Devonshire: Timeless Regency Collection (Book 18), by Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, & Deborah M. Hathaway”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of As a Proper Lady Would: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Bronwen Chisholm

Happy Friday dear readers. Fall is in the air and it is a great time to curl up with a cup of tea and a new book.

Please help me welcome Austenesque author Bronwen Chisholm to Austenprose today. She has a new Pride and Prejudice inspired novel that was just released this week. As a Proper Lady Would is the first book in the Defying Propriety Series.

Chisholm specializes in variations. Since 2014 he has has written seven novels and novellas, such as The Ball at Meryton (2015), Missing Jane (2020), and Georgiana Darcy, Matchmaker (2016).

Here is the book description and an exclusive excerpt from the author. Enjoy!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety. Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of As a Proper Lady Would: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Bronwen Chisholm”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Longbourn Entanglement: A Comic Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Monica Fairview — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

“O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!” said Sir Walter Scott, and such were the words that ran through my mind when I found myself entwined in the uniquely amusing events of A Longbourn Entanglement by prolific Austenesque author Monica Fairview.

On the day after the Netherfield ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy is tormented by thoughts of his charming dance partner, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. “He had known with absolute certainty that if he stayed a day longer, he would find it impossible to leave. And leave he must, because duty and position and the weight of centuries of tradition dictated that he could not even consider her a suitable candidate for marriage.” (23) Furthermore, his friend Bingley is on his own path to a potentially unsuitable attachment with Miss Elizabeth’s sister Jane. Darcy resolves to save them both from the delightful danger the two beguiling country misses represent by insisting he and Bingley depart for town immediately. “His friend’s unhappiness mirrored his own. They would have to weather the storm together – they would have to stay strong against the temptation to give in to their feelings.” (89) Continue reading “A Longbourn Entanglement: A Comic Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Monica Fairview — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Consuming Love: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, (Skirmish and Scandal Series) by Kelly Miller, narrated by Harry Frost — A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

In the fifth entry in the sparkling Skirmish and Scandal series of standalone novellas written by multiple Meryton Press authors, Kelly Miller offers A Consuming Love. Inspired by Pride and Prejudice, Miller’s creativity shines once again when she alters what was the infamous first meeting in which the heroine Elizabeth Bennet is snubbed by the hero Mr. Darcy as not a tolerable enough temptation. In fact, Mr. Darcy finds Miss Elizabeth more than tolerable and a dazzling temptation. This new approach from the beginning launches the variation onto an alternate path when less pride and prejudice are on display, but misunderstandings and interference offer challenges on the road to love.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has agreed to accompany his friend, Charles Bingley, on a tour of a Hertfordshire estate that Charles is interested in leasing. When the steward is unavailable, a neighboring estate owner and his daughter are there to greet them, give them the tour, and respond to any questions. Charles is enthusiastic about the neighbors and the estate and Darcy even finds himself well pleased Continue reading “A Consuming Love: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, (Skirmish and Scandal Series) by Kelly Miller, narrated by Harry Frost — A Review”