Jane in Love: A Novel, by Rachel Givney—A Review

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Australian filmmaker, and debut writer, Rachel Givney brings us a whimsical time travel romantic adventure for none other than Jane Austen herself with her new novel, Jane in Love.  What does the twenty-first century have to teach this well-loved author? Equally important, what does Miss Jane have to teach her counterpart in the twenty-first century?

Jane is twenty-eight and living with her aging parents in Bath. Her writing isn’t good enough to get published and her mother threatens to burn any further attempts. Mrs. Austen insists Jane focus on the serious business of finding a husband. Jane doesn’t find this objectionable, but is it too much to ask that the gentleman accept her the way she is and that she finds love? One more opportunity and yet one more disappointment force Jane to take the desperate step of trusting in an odd and mystical matchmaker who sends her two hundred years into the future to find what she’s looking for.

Sofia Wentworth is an A-List actress and has made millions fall in love with her. That is until recently when her own husband wants a divorce, and she can’t get a leading role. She is determined to get back her career, but more importantly, renew what they had together with Jack by taking a role in his new period film, Northanger Abbey. She encounters one of the extras who is crazy and thinks she’s the real Jane Austen, but the startling bit is that she just may be the real deal and something odd is happening as Jane meets Sofia’s brother Fred who plays a minor role in the film. Jane and Fred get over their early antagonism and are there to help Sofia with her plans. Sofia helps Jane as she must decide where she really belongs and what she really wants.

Jane in Love was a whimsical blend of light-hearted romance, historical and contemporary backdrops, colorful characters, and at heart, two women who are looking for happiness and fulfillment. The author wisely didn’t try to get too bogged down in authentic details and, thus, utterly fail. She wrote her own version of the famous authoress and dropped her into her own version of Persuasion. This Jane was witty and it was fun seeing her encounter the twenty-first century because situations were described just like a person from the past would see it and her observations were keen about how innovation didn’t improve the truly important parts of life.

Like many time travel romances, at the core, the conflict comes down to stay or go back. For Jane, it was have love, or have her writing. I was jealous of Sofia when she realized just who she had befriended because Sofia was an Austen fan and had read her books, so she had the real Jane right there.

The author knows the world of film, so it was great having that as the setting and the backdrop for the modern side of the story and to be Sofia’s world. I was really rooting for her to get her happy. Just like I adored seeing Jane find a man who truly appreciated her.

In the end, I was satisfied with how it all turned out and found this entertaining and engaging. It didn’t dig deep but never disappointed. I hope the author writes more as I was rather taken with her writing style. Those who enjoy lighter time travel romance and the world of Jane Austen are the target audience for Jane in Love.

4 out of 5 Stars

  • Jane in Love: A Novel, by Rachel Givney
  • William Morrow (October 27, 2020)
  • Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (448) pages
  • ISBN: 978-0063019089

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cover image courtesy of William Morrow © 2020; text Sophia Rose © 2020, Austenprose.com

A Preview & Exclusive Slideshow of A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, by Rachel McMillan, and illustrated by Laura Leigh Bean

A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide Cover 2020I am a true movie geek and confess to having spent a good portion of my free time since childhood in a movie theater or glued to the TV screen. I adore everything from the Golden Age of Hollywood classics to modern creations.

Now that we can stream just about any movie ever made through pay for view or subscription services, our options can be overwhelming. That is why I enjoy movie guides to help curate my choices. When I learned that historical mystery and fiction author Rachel McMillan shared my passion for movies and was publishing, A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, I was over the moon with joy!

Recently, holiday movies created by TV channels like Hallmark® have become so abundant that they devote weeks and months of solid Christmas themed movies in their schedule to fill the addiction that they helped to create. A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide helps us whittle down the possibilities into a reasonable mob of binge-able viewing.

This beautifully illustrated hardcover edition includes a carefully curated selection of the best “Must-See, Made-for-TV Movie Viewing Lists.” Not only does it share themed lists of some of McMillan’s favorite holiday movies, it includes party ideas and food recipes to make in celebration of the season while watching the movies.

I am pleased to present additional info on this charming guide including an exclusive slideshow from the publisher of illustrator Laura Leigh Bean’s artwork. Enjoy!

The Movie Lover’s Guide to Yuletide

Are you a holiday film fan? If so, you’re in good company. Fellow made-for-TV movie buff Rachel McMillan invites you to skip the office Christmas party, put on your coziest pj’s, and crash on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and your remote in the other to watch the movies that have become the “hallmark” of the holiday season.

This one-of-a-kind illustrated guide features 15 themed celebrations featuring customized viewing lists, fun suggestions for starting new traditions, and festive facts about the happiest season of all. From baking to books, romance to royalty, and more, Rachel has put together a picture-perfect selection of holiday films to suit any interest.

A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide is an ideal gift or stocking stuffer for the Christmas movie lover in your life or a welcome addition to your family’s holiday traditions. Continue reading

A Haunting at Havenwood: Seasons of Change (Book 6), by Sally Britton—A Review

From the desk of Katie Patchell:

It’s that time of year again: when days shorten, and the once-warm breeze transforms into a blustery wind. Now is the season where, regardless of uncertain global events, we settle into the familiar routines of planning family holidays and awaiting the ghostly specters that rise from book’s pages (or knock on the door, asking for chocolate) around All Hallow’s Eve. While telling Dickensian spooky stories around a fire may be a tradition from the past, the thrill of meeting ephemeral visitors is an experience that isn’t solely possessed by Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. Regency novelist Sally Britton has created her latest tale — A Haunting at Havenwood — as an homage to all things Gothic, mysterious, and romantic.

“For the first time, Louisa had an opportunity to make up her own mind. The idea both thrilled and unsettled her.” (Chapter 6, Location 864)

Louisa Banner’s life changed three years ago when her loving father died, leaving her solely to her mother’s cuttingly ambitious care. It is turned on its axis, however, when Louisa is calmly told that they have no money left. As a result, she is to live with her father’s aunt, a woman she has never met. It isn’t being virtually penniless that hurts Louisa; her pain is because her mother has unemotionally and secretly planned her removal from their home for weeks. On arriving at her great-aunt’s doorstep, Louisa is faced with an unexpected recipe for happiness featuring three entirely unlooked-for ingredients. They are: one very lovable great-aunt, one intriguing buried treasure, and one mysterious gentleman named Erasmus who Louisa feels is, quite possibly and against all her no-nonsense ideas, a ghost.

“It is only once in a lifetime, if at all, that a man meets someone who changes everything.” (Chapter 17, Location 2436)

Erasmus Grey is, perhaps fortunately for Louisa, not a ghost. Unfortunately for him, he knows a pair of ghosts, and they refuse to leave him alone. Owing to his reticence in company, stammer, and constant scribbling (he is an author after all, although thanks to a pseudonym, no one knows), Ras believes he doesn’t live up to his family’s expectations. When two ancestral ghosts appear, telling him to look for his family’s buried treasure, he begrudgingly acquiesces. What Ras doesn’t expect is his own confusing ingredient list for happiness: two ghosts whose main hobbies are lecturing and matchmaking, and one bewitchingly curious fellow treasure-seeker. Continue reading

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Silver Buckles: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Grace Gibson

Silver Buckles by Grace Gibson 2020Good morning readers. Are you ready to dive into a debut novel for your weekend reading? If so, I have a suggestion for you.

Silver Buckles, a new Pride and Prejudice variation was just released on October 13th by Meryton Press. If its sparkly cover and book description is any indication of what is inside, we may be in for a fun-filled story with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth exchanging snappy retorts.

Please help me welcome author Grace Gibson to Austenprose today for the start of her virtual blog tour. We are happy to offer an exclusive excerpt to kick off the celebrations. Be sure to enter the giveaway being offered by the publisher. The details are listed below. Enjoy!

She staggered a great man. He was reeling. She was overwhelmed. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy, standing irritably at the edge of the Meryton assembly, declines to dance with Elizabeth Bennet. In a mood of revulsion, he rejects her without concern of being overheard. Country pretensions are always in need of squashing, and what better way to make clear he would not partner anyone outside his party? However, when he looks over at her, she does not appear humbled at all. She is secretly laughing at him!

Elizabeth is perversely delighted to encounter such an outrageous snob as Mr. Darcy. When he approaches her with a stiff, graceless apology, she coolly brushes him off, believing that, like most annoyances, he will go away when properly snubbed. But no! The man then puts out his hand and, not wishing to create a scene, compels her to stand up with him.

They go through the steps of the dance mutually disdainful and intent upon wounding each other. But by the time the musicians end their tune, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have traded barbs with such accuracy, they are unaccountably amused and engaged. Will this most inconvenient flirtation drive them apart—or, like silver buckles, are they a matched pair?

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An Ivy Hill Christmas: A Tales from Ivy Hill Novella, by Julie Klassen—A Review

Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

We return once again to a snug English village tucked away along a coaching road and this time the holiday season brings more than Christmas cheer. The Tales of Ivy Hill are an interrelated series of inspirational historical romances by bestselling author Julie Klassen that bring a whole village to life. The books are tender, gently paced stories that are set against a Regency period historical backdrop that has been well-researched even if the village of Ivy Hill and its characters are fictitious.

In An Ivy Hill Christmas, the fourth installment to the series, the Brockwell prodigal son, Richard, who has seemingly been living the swinging bachelor life in London at the family townhouse while surreptitiously writing satire for his friend’s magazine and working on getting his novels published, is given an ultimatum by his mother. Come home for the holidays or lose her generous allowance.

Richard has been avoiding his family and the family home for years. It pains him because he feels he doesn’t fit into the family and he knows the hurtful lie his father perpetrated and the family still revers the man. Then there is the fact that his mother blatantly schemes to get him married off when he has firm intentions to remain a bachelor. He is certain that she has a prospective lady in mind already. If he must go and suffer Christmas with his family, then he will not go alone. He invites his friend to accompany him along with a stray dog he took up and already has plans to get back to his London life as soon as he can.

Arabella Awdry knew Richard Brockwell was contemptible when they were younger, but his insulting words and attitude when he arrives prove to her that people do not change.  She is prepared to avoid him at all costs no matter how hard her mother and his work to push them together. She is no longer that silly, giggling girl who crushes on handsome Richard and she has dreams of joining her aunt in London to do much-needed charitable work. Continue reading

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Play with Fire: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by J. Marie Croft

Play with Fire by J. Marie Croft 2020Good morning Janeites! Please help me welcome Austenesque author J. Marie Croft to Austenprose today in celebration of the release of her Pride and Prejudice-inspired novella, Play with Fire.

J. Marie is well known in the Jane Austen fan fiction world having written novels, a novella, and several short stories. She tends toward imaginative Jane Austen variations in a topsy-turvy style, upending our beloved characters’ lives in a way that will make you laugh-out-loud. Play with Fire is no exception. Just imagine, if you will, the occupants of Netherfield Park during Jane and Elizabeth Bennet’s contracted visit joining together to put on a theatrical, and then totally put aside reproof and just run with it.

This novella is part of the Skirmish and Scandal Series being published by Meryton Press. Recently, we featured another novella in this series, Schemes of Felicity: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Suzan Lauder that I recommend checking out. There are also five additional novellas in the queue that you can learn about on their website. There is lots of great reading ahead for Jane Austen variations fans from this publisher.

The author has kindly offered an exclusive excerpt of Play with Fire. Enjoy, and thank you for visiting today.   

Madness! It was nothing but madness from beginning to end, and Darcy was caught up in it.

What do occupants of Netherfield Park do on a dreary Saturday while the Bennet sisters are still in residence and they have nothing at all to do? They take a page from “Mansfield Park,” of course, and decide on a theatrical.

In the process of planning and performing the play, certain participants get more than a little carried away, especially Fitzwilliam Darcy where Elizabeth Bennet is concerned. There might even be a kiss…and a skirmish…leading to a duel.

No one involved in the play had set out with the intention of creating a scandal. None performing in the theatrical began with the aim of ending with blushing faces, or bruised bodies, or blemishes on their reputations.

Blame it on “The Mesalliance.”

INTRO: Continue reading

Guest Blog & Giveaway of As Only Mr. Darcy Can: A Pride and Prejudice Regency Romp, by Laura Hile

As Only Mr. Darcy Can by Laura Hile 2020Hey-ho gentle readers. I am happy to welcome author Laura Hile back to Austenprose today in celebration of her next Austenesque novel, As Only Mr. Darcy Can. Laura is a popular novelist in the genre having published several Jane Austen-inspired books. Her last title was So This Is Love which was featured here in on Austenprose in June.

As only Mr. Darcy Can presents Laura’s trademark exuberance and humor. She has subtitled it A Pride and Prejudice Regency Romp so we can look forward to a fast-paced and surprising read.

Laura Hile has generously supplied a guest blog to share her insights on the novel and a giveaway chance for one digital copy. The details of the book and the giveaway are listed below. Good look to all. Enjoy!

What a tangled web!

Mr. Darcy’s departure has solved nothing. He loves Elizabeth Bennet as much as ever—and he has left her vulnerable to Wickham’s lies. Why not send her a warning? Anonymously, of course. He must conquer his obsession, yet he must also do something to protect her.

But when Darcy is dunned for a bill of Wickham’s—an old trick—he sends the magistrate’s men with a warrant. Wickham, however, is nowhere to be found. At the same time, a titled lady appears in Hunsford. Why does she look so familiar? What of her pointed interest in Darcy’s sister? Is there anyone who will believe what Darcy suspects?

Elizabeth has her hands full when she comes to Hunsford. Her army-mad youngest sister causes trouble everywhere! What is more, those cryptic Valentines keep arriving. And then there is Mr. Darcy, a man she is determined to dislike. Why must his suspicions about the unknown lady match hers? Sparks fly as she joins forces with him to discover a truth that is both laughable and treacherous.

As for being at odds with Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth’s heart has other ideas. Will a nonsensical demand ruin what has grown up between them?

As Only Mr. Darcy Can is a feel-good Regency romp, featuring all your friends from Pride and Prejudice. Intrigue, romance, and laughter are waiting for you.

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Otherwise Engaged: A Regency Romance, by Joanna Barker—A Review

Otherwise Engaged by Joanna Barker 2020

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

Regency romances have their fair share of obstinate, headstrong girls, yet it is always a delight to discover another less-than-perfect heroine. Especially when “pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked,” as the incomparable Jane Austen once wrote. Joanna Barker’s Otherwise Engaged is one such Regency romance with an imperfect heroine getting herself into unladylike scrapes and earning our respect along the way.

Rebecca Rowley is a bold, rebellious young woman with a sarcastic wit and a determination to leap over fear as if it were a hedge she wished to jump with her horse. While riding bareback. On muddy ground. Hatless. In other words, Miss Rowley had a tendency to be reckless. Her brother William admonished that “you could cut stone with a tongue that sharp.” (588)

During a visit to Brighton with a friend, Rebecca encounters Edward Bainbridge, the charming son of her deceased father’s business partner-turned-enemy. The longstanding animosity between their families is a puzzle to them both. No matter what others might think—or perhaps because of it—Rebecca does what she wishes, pursuing the enticingly off-limits Edward.

Yet she is not without remorse. She tries to be a dutiful daughter and a trustworthy sister, to protect her beloved mother and brother from worry. And it is those good intentions that lead her to hide her sudden and secret engagement to Edward. Arriving home to Havenfield in Hertfordshire, Rebecca is certain she will get to the bottom of the mysterious feud on her own and win her family over with her explanations and, eventually, her betrothed’s charm.

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Cover Reveal and Exclusive Excerpt of The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet: Book 1, by Katherine Cowley

Hey-ho Janeites! It is no secret that Jane Austen fans crave more stories about her beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice. Novels inspired by Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet now number too many to even attempt to count. Next in line in popularity from the Bennet family is middle sister Mary. Surprised? Think again! She is conflicted and complicated in the original and that always makes for an interesting heroine.

Next up in the long line of Mary makeover novels is The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, by debut novelist Katherine Cowley. However, this novel is not your typical “let’s fix Mary” fare. In this instance, with the help of relatives, Mary meets new challenges that take her away from her family home at Longbourn and make her look outside of her past life while she solves some mysteries.

I am very happy to welcome author Katherine Cowley to Austenprose for the first time. She and her publisher have graciously honored us with the official cover reveal and an exclusive excerpt of this enchanting new novel that releases in April 2021. Drum roll, please…

Isn’t the cover striking? The blue and green tones are lovely. It makes you wonder what Miss Mary Bennet is doing at an ancient stone castle. Let’s find out.      

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