Austenesque, Book Reviews, Regency Era

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 to be in good company possessing charming country manners. The Bennets are not unaware of his wealth and status, but they are natural with him and Charles. In particular, Elizabeth is knowledgeable about the Netherfield estate and estate management in general. Darcy is strongly attracted to a woman for the first time ever, but is convinced that a lady with Elizabeth’s lower connections is not for him, so he goes back to London intending to stay away so he is not tempted by her.

However, a pleading visit from Caroline Bingley entreating Mr. Darcy to rescue her brother Charles and the family from ignominy, and a further plea from Georgiana to include her in helping with the situation, has him reluctantly rejoining Charles at Netherfield, but this time with Georgiana who has already surprised him with her mature observations. Darcy is supposed to be watching Charles and the eldest Miss Bennet to detect if she is wrong for him, and indeed, he is disturbed by the uncouth behavior of Mrs. Bennet and the younger Miss Bennets, but in truth, his focus is right back on Miss Elizabeth who he was unable to put out of his mind no matter how hard he tries. The longer he is in her presence, he wonders why he should resist.

A Consuming Love is a rather gently paced, low-angst tale that focuses on a change of heart and mind, first for Darcy, but Elizabeth as well. The story was fascinating the way it starts before the events of the original and finishes just after the Netherfield Ball. There were some iconic scenes like Elizabeth’s confrontation with Lady Catherine and with Miss Bingley—and oh yes, Darcy with the Bennet parents as well as the startling scene he experienced when he was private with Elizabeth. Those tart scenes balanced out the swoony romance that was not a given. Darcy had to prove he was the man for Elizabeth.

I listened to the audiobook of this novel narrated by Harry Frost. I have loved his work from the first time and appreciate the way he matches well with the characters. The entire story is from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s POV, so Harry Frost was a fab choice to tell his story.

All in all, this quick novella was a light, warmhearted pleasure that I enjoyed. I can recommend it to other Austenesque fans as well as sweet historical romance lovers as an appreciative audience.

4 out of 5 Stars

  • A Consuming Love: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, (Skirmish and Scandal Series), by Kelly Miller, narrated by Harry Frost
  • Meryton Press (11 February 2021)
  • Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (130) pages
  • ISBN: 978-1681310466

AMAZON | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase.

Cover image courtesy of Meryton Press © 2021; text Sophia Rose © 2021, Austenprose.com

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Era

Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden: A Novel with Pictures, by Janet Todd — A Review

From the desk of Tracy Hickman:

Janet Todd’s latest novel is described as “a (light) meditation on age, mortality, friendship, the tensions and attractions between generations, hope, and the excitement of change” on the back cover. Turning over the attractive green paperback with its decorative motif of foliage and Jane Austen silhouettes, I noticed the subtitle: “A Novel with Pictures.” Thumbing through the pages I glimpsed a sketch of a hedgehog, dozens of nature snapshots, a Welsh flag, a Jane Austen ten-pound note, and the Mona Lisa with sunglasses and a mustache. Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden begins with the famous line from Pride and Prejudice, revealing a streak of irreverence:

It is a truth universally, begins Jane Austen…

Shhh, says Fran, finger on lips. Not subtle. Money and sex. How many versions before you settled on that flirtatious opening? (3)

Continue reading “Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden: A Novel with Pictures, by Janet Todd — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Contemporary Era

The Bennet Women, by Eden Appiah-Kubi — A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Jane Austen’s works have a timeless quality that make them appealing for contemporary retelling. The Bennet Women, by debut author Eden Appiah-Kubi, is a new adult tale inspired by Austen’s Pride and Prejudice centered around the young women living at Bennet House on a private college campus who experience the ups and downs of life and love. We shall see if this diverse offering of modern characters can translate the social conflicts and romance from early nineteenth-century into modern-day.

The Bennet Women opens with the introduction of EJ, the RA (Residential Assistant) of the Bennet House, rushing around on the day of one of the school’s biggest social activities, a dance. The women of the house have gone mad as a result of learning that some famous faces will be seen there and EJ has been putting out fires. She’s excited to dress up and cut a rug at the dance with her friends. But, then after squeeing over the arrival of a surprise guest, she is deflated when an arrogant guy who happens to be the Continue reading “The Bennet Women, by Eden Appiah-Kubi — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Regency Era

Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In a November 1814 letter to her niece, Jane Austen wrote that “nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without love.” She had brilliantly illustrated her point with many unenviable couples in her novels serving as warnings of what her protagonists should strive to avoid. Likewise, readers found in her most famous story, Pride and Prejudice, a hero dutifully resigned to such misery and a heroine determined to evade it. Prolific Austenesque author Shannon Winslow explores that hero’s path from misery to love in her latest Pride and Prejudice adaptation, Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words.

Fitzwilliam Darcy believes that he is destined to fulfill his familial duty by securing a society-approved mate for himself and proper mistress of Pemberley—and by choosing prudently, hoping for mutual respect at best, and knowing that love was neither desirable nor wise. “My early years had taught me, again and again, that to love was to suffer pain. To love was to surrender a part of oneself, to give the object of that love power over one’s life – power to wound or to destroy, either by accident or with intent.” (189) Therefore, Darcy resolutely heeds his late father’s advice by discreetly selecting a decorous lady from a suitably wealthy and consequential family, ever mindful of his family’s expectations and his own responsibilities. “To choose the wrong path, to be careless of the way, to neglect minding every step, was to invite calamity of a kind most painful and permanent.” (171) Continue reading “Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow — A Review”

Austenesque, Author Interviews, Book Previews, Post WWII Era

Interview & Giveaway with the Author of The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner

Cover of the paperback edition of The Jane Austen Society (2021)Happy Friday, dear readers! In anticipation of the paperback release of one of my favorite novels of 2020, I have re-read The Jane Austen Society, by Natalie Jenner. Like Austen’s novels, I have picked up on new insights into the characters and themes and see the story in a new light. I highly recommend a re-read and envy those who will be discovering the story for the first time.

The paperback edition released this week on July 6th and it is packed with exciting extras:

  • A map illustrating the town of Chawton and the homes of the characters
  • A Reader’s Guide which includes:
  • A Conversation with Natalie Jenner,
  • An Exclusive Author Essay: Prescribing Jane Austen for Difficult Times
  • Recommended Reading
  • Reading Group Questions

For those unfamiliar with the novel here is a description from the publisher and a link to our review.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Continue reading “Interview & Giveaway with the Author of The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction

A Cover Reveal & Excerpt of Jane and the Year Without a Summer: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14), by Stephanie Barron

Happy Monday, dear readers! I have great news to share today. Bestselling historical mystery author Stephanie Barron has a new “Being a Jane Austen Mystery” in the queue.

Jane and the Year Without a Summer arrives on February 8, 2022, marking the fourteenth novel in the popular series. Set in Regency England, the series is based on actual events and people in Austen’s life and times. Inspired by the author’s life-long admiration of Austen and her writing, Barron’s skill at channeling her voice and the historical detail is nonpareil. Here is a description of the book, the big cover reveal, and an exclusive excerpt from the novel.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra. Continue reading “A Cover Reveal & Excerpt of Jane and the Year Without a Summer: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14), by Stephanie Barron”

Austenesque, Book Reviews

Dangerous Magic: A Pride & Prejudice Variation (Mr. Darcy’s Magic Book 1), by Monica Fairview — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

The world of Austenesque stories has expanded exponentially in recent years, and now enthusiasts of Jane Austen fan fiction (JAFF) can treat themselves to fantasy versions of their beloved novels. There’s even a delightful new Facebook group dedicated to the subgenre: Fantasy Reads for Austen Fans. Bestselling author Monica Fairview is the latest creator in this whimsical realm with her imaginative Pride and Prejudice variation, Dangerous Magic.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has the weight of the Kingdom on his shoulders. As an elite and formidable Royal Mage, he is destined to help save England by winning the war against Napoleon and his ever-increasing army of French mages. “Darcy wondered if there had ever been a moment in his life when he could have forged his own path. He had always been guided by duty, honor, and good principles, and he had never thought to question their hold on his life.” (17) Trained from childhood as a true-blooded mage at the exclusive Royal Academy, Darcy is well-versed in the textbook spells—but they’re not strong enough, and England is on the verge of being overtaken. Darcy needs to Bond with a Janus Twin—an equally powerful mage, thus doubling their magical strength—if the Kingdom has any chance of surviving Napoleon’s attack. But such mages are exceedingly rare, and time is running out. Continue reading “Dangerous Magic: A Pride & Prejudice Variation (Mr. Darcy’s Magic Book 1), by Monica Fairview — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews

A Life Worth Choosing: A Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Anngela Schroeder – A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

In a heart-tugging mash-up of It’s A Wonderful Life and Pride and Prejudice, author Anngela Schroeder gives Austen’s most beloved hero the opportunity to witness a world in which he had never been born. A Pride & Prejudice world without Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy? Gasp! Exploring such a possibility had me clearing some time and settling into my cozy reading chair.

After delivering his marriage proposal and having Miss Elizabeth Bennet not simply reject it, but vociferously state that Mr. Wickham would have made a better Master of Pemberley than he, Fitzwilliam Darcy pens a response letter and his own private wish that he wasn’t around to feel the pain and dejection from her stunning refusal of his love and all that his wealth can give her. In addition, long ago, a gypsy predicted he would have a monumental decision to make in his life.

Not long after the delivery of said letter, an accident befalls him and he awakes in a world that makes little sense. The same people surround him, but their circumstances and his own are vastly different. What has happened? Is he even awake? His physician, Clarence, explains. Darcy wished he hadn’t Continue reading “A Life Worth Choosing: A Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Anngela Schroeder – A Review”