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

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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

Book Reviews, Regency Romance

The Scoundrel’s Daughter: The Brides of Bellaire Garden (Book 1), by Anne Gracie — A Review

From the desk of Katie Patchell:  

 When I was a teenager, I “met” Georgette Heyer for the first time. Bath Tangle was my introduction to her Regency world via a battered, coffee-stained copy housed at shoe-level in my library’s ‘H’ section. Serena and Rotherham’s banter and Heyer’s madcap plot was the perfect entry to the world of Heyer (I’ll never forget the line: “You may set the county alight, if you choose, but ride rough-shod over me you will not!”). In months I checked off the rest of her Regencies. Gray-eyed hero after gray-eyed hero made my acquaintance; so too did Heyer’s remarkably clever, daring heroines. Two of her main leads are the strong-willed younger woman and the independent spinster, equally fan favorites.  In Anne Gracie’s latest Regency and series opener, The Scoundrel’s Daughter, these two types of heroines are brought together in a romantic tale, one filled to the brim with its own madcap escapades.

Alice, the newly widowed Lady Charlton, has blessedly escaped her husband’s cruel neglect. With only a few of his debts left to pay, Alice looks forward to a life free of the ton, free of gossip, and free—finally—of any connection to her husband. Everything is going according to plan until a sinister man Continue reading “The Scoundrel’s Daughter: The Brides of Bellaire Garden (Book 1), by Anne Gracie — A Review”

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”

Between the Wars Era, Book Reviews, Historical Fiction

A Bright Young Thing: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — A Review  

From the desk of Katie Patchell:

I have a question for you, fellow bibliophiles: Have you read P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves series? Written between 1915 and 1974, this series of short stories and novels is a sometimes biting (yet always fun) satire of Britain’s posh upper class. Starring wealthy and hapless Bertie Wooster and his much-put-upon butler, Jeeves, these stories dazzle with Wodehouse’s charming turn of phrase and list of characters with bizarre surnames. There’s a brilliant adaptation as well, starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, that further brings to life these wonderful characters and their times. Brianne Moore’s 2021 release, A Bright Young Thing, echoes the glamour and glitz of the aristocratic set that Wodehouse immortalized. In this novel, readers meet a heroine who lives up to the title’s moniker–but who, like all of us, is so much more than merely a label or stereotype. Continue reading “A Bright Young Thing: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — 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”

Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Regency Era, Short Story Anthology

A Seaside Summer: Timeless Regency Collection (Book 17), by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, and Heather B. Moore — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

As summertime meanders through our calendars each year, with its slower pace and often unbearable heat, it is natural to dream of the refreshing breeze and the tranquil sounds of the perpetual waves at the seashore. A Seaside Summer invites readers on a soothing journey to the shore through a trio of sweet romance novellas in the latest addition to the Timeless Romance Anthology® collection from Mirror Press.

“The New Countess” by Josi S. Kilpack explores how open communication and common goals can lead to trust and true companionship. Lord and Lady Avery have entered into a marriage of convenience after their respective spouses’ untimely deaths. The earl needs a countess to manage his household and his reputation and to raise his motherless daughter. His new wife, left penniless by her late husband, Continue reading “A Seaside Summer: Timeless Regency Collection (Book 17), by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, and Heather B. Moore — A Review”

Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Victorian Era

The Merchant and the Rogue: The Dread Penny Society (Book 3), by Sarah M. Eden—A Review  

From the desk of Katie Patchell:

Thanks to Charles Dickens’ vivid imagination and keen eye for the overlooked, Victorian England’s readers met paupers and rag-sellers, prostitutes, and orphans. Many other authors followed his example in showing the light, the darkness, and everything in between, that are a very real part of our world. John Thornton, Dorothea Brooks, Helen Huntingdon, and more came to life alongside Oliver Twist, each fighting for truth, justice, and hope in a hard world. Sarah M. Eden’s latest in “The Dread Penny Society” series, The Merchant and the Rogue, is set in the city of Dickens: the mad, bustling, glittering, foul, terrible, great streets of 19th century London. Like the Victorian classics, it shines a light on the individuals who are not wealthy or aristocratic, and like the dread-penny novels of the time, it does this with plenty of flair, humor, and mystery.

If laughter truly were the best medicine, Brogan Donnelly would have been the healthiest Irishman in all of England. Jests came as easy to him as breathing, and that was more-or-less all anyone knew about him. He preferred it that way. – Chapter 1, Location 59 

Continue reading “The Merchant and the Rogue: The Dread Penny Society (Book 3), by Sarah M. Eden—A Review  “

Book Reviews, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Regency Era

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque: A Novel, by Todd M. Johnson—A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Crusaders come in all shapes and forms and some don’t even realize they are such a person until they face down injustice at the expense of reputation, career, and even life to see a wrong is righted.   The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson, a historical mystery that balances Regency backdrop with legal thriller, contains a crusader that captivated me from page one.

A Regency period barrister, William Snopes, who champions the commoner in his clever and cunning way finds himself faced with a conundrum. Does he take a case that goes against his principle of never representing someone from the upper classes and particularly a case that has far reaching ramifications for all involved or tell the desperate woman, Lady Madeleine, he cannot?

To help make up his mind, he has his well-trained, staunch junior barrister, Edmund, his solicitor, and other reliable sources help him determine if the lady is telling the truth about her cousin, his ship, his crew, and goods being seized by the Crown for piracy because the Letter of Marque he was carrying Continue reading “The Barrister and the Letter of Marque: A Novel, by Todd M. Johnson—A Review”