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.

Elizabeth Bennet has been raised in the countryside, instinctively developing her magical skills without any formal training and only vaguely aware of the war being fought on English soil. Her life changes dramatically on the day the Royal Mages arrive to enlist her services for King and Country. “Conscripted. A heavy sense of dread had lodged inside Elizabeth, along with a prickling of fear. What if she had to be in a battle? What if they sent her to fight in France?” (95) Although she is not a true-blooded mage, she is extraordinarily talented, and she has become their last, best hope for saving England from the French.

The challenging circumstances escalate when it’s decided that, due to the extensive amount of training time they must spend together, an unmarried man and woman cannot form a magical Bond as Janus Twins without utterly ruining the woman’s reputation, and therefore, Darcy and Elizabeth will be forced to marry for the benefit of the war effort. Darcy is bitter. “An insignificant young lady, from an insignificant family, and an even more insignificant village? …All I can hope for is that she is at least tolerably pretty.” (54) Elizabeth feels trapped. “Serving as a mage for a few years was one thing. Being bound to a stranger for a lifetime with no possibility of escape was quite another.” (249)

Sparks fly—literally—and the volatile situation becomes ever more dire as they fight with each other, as well as against mysterious forces determined to keep them apart, and the French mages continue to hunt for a battle. When the dust settles, will Darcy and Elizabeth reign victorious?  

This book was an absolute page-turner from start to finish. My only complaint is that it felt like it ended too soon—mostly because I read it so quickly and couldn’t put it down—and I want to read a sequel posthaste. Imagine my delight when I discovered that this book, although easily a stand-alone story, is the first in a series and a sequel is, in fact, forthcoming. The story was so immersive and had such a cinematic feel to it that I wish I could see a film adaptation. The creative yet believable world-building was enhanced by beautifully descriptive explanations of the magic used. It was fascinating to see the wealthy, upper-class ladies and gentlemen working together with a real purpose, instead of their usual leisure pursuits. I also enjoyed the apt depiction of Janus, the Roman god with two faces, representing beginnings and transitions. Our courageous Lizzy was her usual obstinate, headstrong self, with some impressive magical talents making her a truly accomplished young lady. Taciturn Darcy was just as proud and prejudiced as ever, with the added bonus of his role as an esteemed Royal Mage to make him that much more dutiful to tradition and reluctant to change. Their fiery interactions were, dare I say, magical. 

Dangerous Magic is an enchanting tale that will charm both Austen enthusiasts and fantasy fans in equal measure.     

5 out of 5 Stars

  • Dangerous Magic, A Pride & Prejudice Fantasy, by Monica Fairview
  • White Soup Press; 1st edition (March 15, 2021)
  • Trade paperback & eBook (242) pages
  • ASIN: B08W4CFT4Y

AMAZON | GOODREADS

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 complements of White Soup Press © 2021; text Katie Jackson © 2021, Austenprose.com

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 been born so… he hadn’t been born. He was now Mr. Fitzroy, gentleman and owner of a small estate and nobody to all the familiar people around him. Familiar people, who seem to be suffering painful and bizarre fates. Why? He wonders and the enigmatic Clarence reminds him that this is the result of him never being there during pivotal times in these people’s lives.

While in the person of Fitzroy, Darcy has a new chance with Miss Elizabeth and a new life before him if he wishes to take it. If he chooses his former life, he can restore what is lost and lose love a second time. Continue reading

The Indebted Earl: Serendipity and Secrets (Book 3), by Erica Vetsch – A Review

The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch 2021From the desk of Katie Patchell: 

Hello, fellow Austenprose readers! Finally—the winter is over and spring is here. To commemorate this season of growth and new beginnings, we bring you Erica Vetsch’s latest Regency creation, The Indebted Earl. The third in her Serendipity and Secrets series, it can be read as a standalone or as a continuation of the series. This novel’s themes of making (and forgiving) debts and starting afresh are universal, but this time, they come with the added flair of a wild seascape and even wilder hearts.

Portugal, 1814: As he sits by his friend’s deathbed, Captain Charles Wyvern wishes he could trade places. An oversight risked both of their lives during a Naval battle, and he believes it unfair that he—career member of the Royal Navy with no loved ones waiting for him on shore—healed from his near-fatal wounds, while Major Rich Richardson will leave behind his devoted mother and charming fiancé, Sophie. In Rich’s moments, Charles agrees to his friend’s final request: Will he temporarily leave the sea and do whatever he can to take care of the two women Rich is leaving behind? 

Things were simpler at sea. The rules of engagement were clear, and the chain of command set in stone. Feelings and opinions didn’t enter into the equation, and total obedience was expected. Yes, things were definitely simpler at sea…but lonelier, too, if he was to be completely truthful. (118)

England, 1814: Lady Sophia Haverley—Sophie, to her friends and family—never expected to lose someone who has been such a constant in her life. From their mischievous childhood to their maturing young adulthood, she and Rich knew they were meant to be together. They were mistaken. When the stoic Captain Wyvern arrives on her doorstep after Rich’s funeral, offering to give any aid he can, Sophie plans to refuse out of her anger that maybe (just maybe) he could have saved her fiance’s life. Yet it is her beloved almost-mother-in-law that offers a solution to free themselves from grief and Captain Wyvern from his promise: what if the captain escorted them away from familiar places and prying relatives, and took them to a new home by the sea? Continue reading

The Year in Between: A Sense and Sensibility Variation, by Christina Morland — A Review

From the desk of Sophia Rose:

At the end of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility after the last vestiges of the book’s main conflicts, the reader is met with a less than meticulous summation that closes out the book. For those who fell in love with the Dashwood family and their friends—even those who are not their friends—there is a feeling of dissatisfaction about the wrap-up.  The Year In Between, by Christina Morland fills in that gap by continuing the story before Austen jumps forward to the marriage of Marianne and Col. Brandon, offering an in-depth and layered exploration of that time. We shall see if it quells our curiosity.

The story opens at the time of Elinor Dashwood’s marriage to Edward Ferrars and their preparations to leave Barton Cottage for Delaford. Marianne Dashwood’s health is restored, though she still struggles with the vestiges of a heartbroken by John Willoughby. She is determined to do better, but the loss of her capable sister leaves her for the first time in the role of eldest daughter of the Dashwood house and the responsibilities that come with it. Her personal observations are shared with her journal as are her connection with poetry, nature, and music. She is eager to visit her sister and new brother at Delaford, but is oddly reluctant and even irritated to encounter Delaford’s master, Colonel Brandon.

The Colonel has been generous and good to her and her family, but she is bewildered why he turns into a poker when it comes to her. In the past, she wronged him greatly with her silly and cruel jokes at his expense and her rudeness while she pursued folly with Willoughby, but now the taciturn man fascinates her—even when she resists being fascinated. Who is the man? His character is far from open though his actions show him to be honorable and noble and having sensibilities toward music and nature that match her own. Marianne is determined to get under the man’s skin yet doesn’t want to closely analyze why.

Meanwhile, Elinor is settling into married life at the vicarage and living in the village of Delaford. Love is strong and so much more than she could ever imagine. Her usual rationality and steadiness go out the window when she faces strained finances, a haughty and hurtful family of in-laws, the possibility of being with child, stirrings up in the village when the Colonel’s ward and her illegitimate son move into one of the cottages, and a husband who is struggling to not give into his fears about her health or his feelings of inadequacy. Elinor must adjust and somehow find a way through it while an interesting situation between her sister and the Colonel develops. When she begins to understand how deeply wounded and insecure Edward remains from his family’s treatment of him, she realizes being his helpmeet is complicated and full of pitfalls that require all her love and wisdom to fathom how to respond and care for her fledgling marriage. Continue reading

The Earl’s Lady Geologist: The Linfield Ladies Series (Book 1), by Alissa Baxter — A Review

The Earl's Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter 2021From the desk of Melissa Makarewicz:

Miss Cassandra Linfield has been against marriage after seeing what it did to her dear mother. Lord Rothbury has loved, and then been rejected. Will two people so opposed to a romantic relationship be able to see that theirs was meant to be? In Alissa Baxter’s new release, The Earl’s Lady Geologist, a romance unfolds asking if the risks of love are outweighed by the rewards?

When I saw that this book was not only historical romance but also highlighted an actual woman from history, I knew I had to read it. More and more we are seeing the stories of women hidden from history. Reading a story that highlights a lady geologist sounded quite intriguing.

Cassandra is a lady who loves collecting fossils with her friend Mary Anning. She has lived a life in Lyme Regis free from the rigid rules of the ton. Her mother and father have passed away leaving her to the care of Cousin Agnes. A stuffier caretaker could not be found anywhere. Cassy has no plans to marry. She is quite content in her life of fossil collecting and research paper writing.

Lord Rothbury is a man of science. Geology is a passion of his that fits quite neatly into his structured life, and he plans to keep it that way. He has no space for sentimental fluff—especially after having been spurned by a lady in his younger days. Continue reading