The Murder of Mr. Wickham, by Claudia Gray — A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

‘Murder’ and ‘Wickham’ in the same title makes any Jane Austen lover worth their salt sit up and take notice. Now, add that with an author name long associated with young adult sci-fi and fantasy, and that makes Claudia Gray’s The Murder of Mr. Wickham well-nigh irresistible.

The Murder of Mr. Wickham is both a historical mystery and pays homage as a sequel to not one, but all Continue reading “The Murder of Mr. Wickham, by Claudia Gray — A Review”

Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In Jane Austen’s final complete novel, Persuasion—published six months after her untimely death—the heroine, Anne Elliot, is influenced by her prideful father, a baronet, to break off an engagement with Captain Frederick Wentworth, who was considered a poor match due to his low social status and lack of wealth. Similarly, in Austen’s earlier novel, Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the prideful man causing heartbreak over his disapproval of an undistinguished family. The consequences of such prejudiced persuasion collide spectacularly in Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion by prolific writing duo Cass Grafton and Ada Bright. Continue reading “Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright — A Review”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice, and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton & Ada Bright

Mr Darcys Persuasion by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright 2021

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

It is full-on winter here, however, there is hope.  My tulips are starting to sprout despite the cold and pounding rain, so Spring is on its way. This ebullience of nature, despite the challenging conditions, is reassuring during a difficult time. I hope that things look brighter in your corner of the world too.

I am delighted to welcome Cass Grafton and Ada Bright back to Austenprose today to share their forthcoming release, Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion. The premise of this novel is intriguing—it combines Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice, and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton & Ada Bright”

Persuading the Captain: An Austen Inspired Romantic Comedy, by Rachel John— A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Modernizing a classic through a retelling can be fraught with authorial peril. One must do more than simply slap a pair of blue jeans on a heroine and put some slang on her lips, but at the same time, one has a duty to the legacy of the classic and the reader should recognize the original story within the fresh tale. Did author Rachel John avoid these pitfalls in Persuading the Captain, inspired by Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion? Stick around and see. Continue reading “Persuading the Captain: An Austen Inspired Romantic Comedy, by Rachel John— A Review”

All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — A Review

All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose:

A modern-day Persuasion retelling set in Edinburgh against the backdrop of the high-end restaurant world. What could be more delicious? I eagerly picked up this book by a debut author who knows her way around a professional kitchen and resided in Edinburgh. It was quite obvious the author made these, along with her love of literature, the superb ingredients she stirred into a low-heat second chance romance. Continue reading “All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — A Review”

Recipe for Persuasion: A Novel, by Sonali Dev — A Review

Recipe for Persuasion 2020From the desk of Sophia Rose: 

Jane Austen’s Persuasion gets a modern facelift Desi-style in this standalone sequel to Sonali Dev’s 2019, Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors, as Indian American chef, Ashna Raje, and Brazilian footballer, Rico Silva, encounter each other once again as acrimonious cooking partners on a reality TV show. I love that the author has cooked up a series of modern retellings of Jane Austen’s classic works by giving members of the Raje family their chances at romance.

In Recipe for Persuasion Ashna’s family is convinced a reality cooking show is just the jumpstart her dying Continue reading “Recipe for Persuasion: A Novel, by Sonali Dev — A Review”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore

All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore 2020From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

I have been watching several romcoms lately to offset the stress and anxiety generated from a world health crisis. Last week I enjoyed Father of the Bride (1991), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Made of Honor (2008), and The Wedding Date (2004). Do you notice a theme here? No, well they are all romances set during a wedding, an event ripe with comedic possibilities.

In my reading life, I have been searching for lighthearted romantic comedies too, so when a publisher sent me a contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion, I leapt with joy. All Stirred Up is a forthcoming romcom novel set at a failing Edinburgh restaurant named Elliot’s. It retells the Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of All Stirred Up: A Novel, by Brianne Moore”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Persuaded to Sail: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men (Book 3), by Jack Caldwell

Persuaded to Sail by Jack Caldwell 2020From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Raise your hand if you agree that the “half agony, half hope” love letter written by Captain Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot in Jane Austen’s Persuasion is the most romantic love letter in literature. If not, by the time you get to the “you pierce my soul” line, you will be a convert.

At the conclusion of the story after Frederick and Anne are reunited and agree to marry, Austen asks us, “Who can be in doubt of what followed?” The reader is left in suspense wanting more. Well, we are happy to share that a sequel to their life together at sea has been written by Jack Caldwell. Persuaded to Sail will Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of Persuaded to Sail: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men (Book 3), by Jack Caldwell”

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Stars We Steal, by Alexa Donne

The Stars We Steal, by Alexa Donne (2020TGIF Janeites. Do you have your reading lined up for your weekend yet? If not, I present for your consideration, The Stars We Steal, a new young adult novel inspired by Jane Austen with an out of this world twist.

Yes, it’s Persuasion in space. Who would’ve thought Jane Austen’s Regency-era plot and characters could be transported on to a spaceship hundreds of years in the future?

Author Alexa Donne did! She has re-imagined Miss Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth as two teens in the future traveling through the galaxies. Here are a book description and an exclusive excerpt from the publisher to give you a taste of Austen from another era and universe. Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of The Stars We Steal, by Alexa Donne”

A Preview of How to Rescue a Rake, by Jayne Fresina

How to Rescue a Rake by Jayne Fresina 2016 x 200Please help me welcome author Jayne Fresina today to Austenprose.

Jayne’s third book in her Book Club Belles series, How to Rescue a Rake, has just been published by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this new Regency romance features heroine Diana Makepiece whose life and troubles resemble Austen’s Anne Elliot in many respects. Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate’s mysterious new wealth has the town’s rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana’s attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry “any suitable girl” under the age of 25.

Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate’s return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can’t help but feel in Nate’s presence…and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.

But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention-and her heart.

GUEST BLOG

Here to tell us more about her inspiration for the Book Club Belles series, and her love of Jane Austen is author Jayne Fresina.

TAKING A LEAF OUT OF JANE’S BOOK…

I have been an Austen fan since I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was fifteen. It was a recommendation by my English Literature teacher at school because a BBC production had just started airing on Sunday evening TV and she suggested we might want to read the book too.

It was love at first read.

After that, I worked my way through each of her books, greedily absorbing every word (checking the dictionary for a few of them) and learning about that strange world of manners and morals, balls and carriage rides, parasols, and fine prospects. It was wonderful to escape from the dreariness of this teenager’s life, in a cold, rainy Northern England town in the 1980s. So I owe a huge debt of thanks to that teacher — Ms. Jones — who, with her big shiny glasses and bubbling enthusiasm for all things Austen, made me a convert.

Many years later, when I finally became a published author, I flirted with the idea of writing another version of Pride and Prejudice, but there were a lot of other authors who had the same idea and the results were not always well-received. Was there room for yet another Austen-inspired book? Was it superfluous? Were people tired of all that?

I didn’t want to upset Austen fans, of course, by doing anything that might be seen as insulting to Jane or her characters. (“Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?” – Lady Catherine de Bourgh squawks in my ear) But I really wanted to create a tribute of my own to Jane and her stories. I kept putting it off, but the idea always crept back in, poking away at me. It’s a very dodgy business taking on something like that and I spent quite a long time deciding how I might do it in a way that would add to the story, not just purloin the plot or the characters.

Finally, as I was reading an Austen biography one day and looking at a sketch of a Regency-era lending library, I came up with the idea of a Book Society – a small group of young ladies reading Austen’s works when they were first published. Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought if their lives begin to follow the plot of whichever book they are reading? They certainly had more chance of meeting a “real” Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy or Colonel Brandon than anyone living today.

For one thing, men just don’t dress that way today. Sigh! Not since Elvis has there been a man who could carry off a good sideburn!

I sent the series proposal to my editor at Sourcebooks and she loved it. And so the idea for the Book Club Belles was born. Justina and Catherine Penny, Diana Makepiece, Lucy Bridges and Rebecca Sherringham were soon sketched out in my mind and then filled out on paper. As young ladies living in Austen’s time, her books are a form of escape for them too, just as they once were for me — and as they continue to be for so many readers, old fans and new.

I thought it was important that the books have a sense of humor, so I kept them light-hearted and not too “angsty”. As I wrote I was very conscious of staying as true to the period as possible. The ladies of my book society, however, are considerably more rebellious and daring than Miss Austen’s heroines — a sign of these times, I’m afraid. Hopefully, Jane can forgive me for that!

After all, Mr. Darcy is now remembered by many as Colin Firth walking out of his lake in a rather fabulous wet shirt— a state of undress in which the real Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy would never be caught. Whenever I watch that scene (drool over it, maybe more accurate), I wonder what Jane Austen would think of all this— of how beloved her characters have become to so many generations of readers (and watchers now too). What would she think of all these TV adaptations and movies? What would she make of all these books influenced by her work?

I can’t help thinking she’d be laughing. Once she got over the shock of Mr. Darcy’s impromptu swim and delightfully bedraggled wet curls.

Yes, it’s a chancy business taking on the work of an author like Jane Austen and giving the story a new twist, but I think she would agree that, if a little fresh treatment brings more readers to her books and introduces them to that wonderful world, all the better!

AUTHOR BIO

Jayne-Fresina 2016 x 150Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England. Entertained by her father’s colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters, she’s always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines. She lives in upstate New York. Learn more about the author at www.jaynefresinaromanceauthor.blogspot.com, follower her on Facebook as Jayne Fresina and on Twitter as @JayneFresina.

How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society #3), by Jayne Fresina
Sourcebooks Casablanca (2016)
Mass market paperback & eBook (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402287824

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

Cover image courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca © 2016; text Jayne Fresina © 2016, Austenprose.com

The Loner: (The Canyon Club Book 1), by Kate Moore – A Review

The Loner by Kate Moore 2014 x 200From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

I’ve always been a sucker for dark and brooding men in romance novels (hello Mr. Darcy!). One trait that seems to go along well with these types of characters is that they are loners in their own right. Yes, they may have friends and family around them, but their internal isolation is the first thing that they must overcome before they take on a new romantic interest. I find this struggle quite interesting and therefore was excited to read The Loner by Kate Moore, which stars a loner much in the same predicament.

Will Sloan is a loner with a tough upbringing, coming from nothing and making a name for himself. His mother was a waitress and his father was a rodeo cowboy, killed in a tragic accident in the ring. The former scholarship student is now a wealthy tech entrepreneur, Continue reading “The Loner: (The Canyon Club Book 1), by Kate Moore – A Review”

Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread by Mary Jane Hathaway – A Review

Persuasion Captain Wentworth and Craklin' Cornbread x 200From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

Mary Jane Hathaway’s Jane Austen Takes the South series has a new addition. Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread was just released last month and follows Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits, and Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs. Readers should not worry if they haven’t read the other two novels in the series. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. The title was enough to pique my interest. I’m always a fan of Persuasion retellings (in my opinion, there aren’t enough of them.) So, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that I would quickly turn the pages of this read, and discover a new (to me) author.

Every community has some well-renowned and connected families that are integrated into the local history and fabric of the area. One of these families is the Crawfords, a wealthy, respected family Continue reading “Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread by Mary Jane Hathaway – A Review”

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