Did you know that contemporary fiction outnumbers historical fiction by tenfold in the young adult genre? I have never understood this trend. I have been told that teens prefer to read about heroes and heroines their own age and set in their own time. When I was younger, I read many historical novels and adored period dramas, and still do, so when a special historical romance in this genre arrives I am doubly pleased. Dangerous Alliance, by Jennieke Cohen is being touted as The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Jane Austen. For those of you who have not read Mackenzi Lee’s bestselling 2017 novel, I highly recommend it. Most of you landing on this blog have read a Jane Austen book or seen a movie or two, so I am sure that you will understand the comparison to Ms. Cohen’s new novel.
Dangerous Alliance is not only a witty historical romance, it has some mystery elements in it to keep you guessing. Here is the description from the publisher and an exclusive excerpt from the author.
Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home. But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.
Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility. Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Continue reading
It’s time to announce the winners of the giveaway of three paperback copies of How to Rescue a Rake, by Jane Fresina. The lucky winners drawn at random are:
- clm1743, who left a comment on January 18, 2016.
- Priscilla, who left a comment on January 19, 2016
- dholcomb1, who left a comment on January 18, 2016.
Congratulations to the winners! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 04, 2016, or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment to US addresses only.
Thanks to all who left comments, to author Jayne Fresina for the guest blog and her publisher Sourcebooks for the giveaways.
Cover image courtesy of Sourcebooks © 2016, text Jayne Fresina © 2016, Austenprose.com
From the desk of Katie Patchell:
While most of Jane Austen’s beloved novels are set in the countryside or resort towns, there is one that stands out from the rest because of its tantalizing glimpses of life at sea: Persuasion. In Jane Austen’s novel, readers discover her own admiration for the daring men in the British Navy with her addition of the remarkable Captain Wentworth into her cast of Regency heroes. Debut author Jennifer Moore follows Jane Austen’s lead by focusing on Navy life during the 1800s in her 2014 Regency romance, Becoming Lady Lockwood, a novel featuring a brave heroine, heroic captain, and the excitement and peril of life on the high seas.
At twenty, Amelia Beckett has happily accepted her sudden widowhood—after all, she’d never met Lord Lawrence Walter Drake, Earl of Lockwood, the man her father had forced her to marry. Amelia expects her life to continue as before; her father, now content, would continue living a debauched lifestyle in London, and she would run the family’s sugarcane plantation in Jamaica, finally free of chaperones and matchmakers. But Amelia’s plans are dashed when her father commands her to travel to London in order to fight for Lord Lawrence Drake’s fortune, and he sends the one man who will fight against her rights in court to pick her up: Captain William Drake, brother to Amelia’s deceased husband, and new Earl of Lockwood. Continue reading
Heyday! Traditional Regency romances are back in vogue. I see more and more being published and authors like Julie Klassen, Sarah M. Eden, and Julianne Donaldson winning awards and having incredible success. This is great news considering publishers wrote off the genre in 2005.
For those of you who do not know what a traditional Regency romance novel is, just think Jane Austen and her descendants: Georgette Heyer, Carla Kelley, Candice Hern, and Mary Balogh all write novels set in the Regency era (1811-1820) featuring a comedy of manners, social commentary, and sweet romance. When new authors appear on the scene, I am always eager to check them out and see if they are up to snuff. I am happy to introduce debut novelist Charlotte Brentwood’s The Vagabond Vicar to you today with this preview and an exclusive excerpt.
PREVIEW (from the publisher’s description)
William Brook is an idealistic young cleric, desperate to escape dreary England for a mission adventure in exotic lands. It’s his worst nightmare come true when he is posted to a parish in a small backwater village, populated with small-minded people and husband-hunting mamas. He’s determined not to form any ties and to escape the country as an independent single man.
A free spirit, Cecilia Grant is perfectly content to remain in her family home in Amberley village – when she’s not wandering the countryside at all hours painting. Marriage options are few, but that won’t stop her mother from engineering a match with one of the ruling family’s sons. Cecilia attempts to win the man, but what is it about the new vicar and his brooding ways that is so appealing? Could he be the only one who has ever really understood her, and can she discover what he is running away from?
As William struggles not to fall in love with the lady’s intoxicating beauty and mysterious eccentricity, he finds himself drawn into the lives of the villagers, despite their best efforts to alienate the newcomer. When he makes it clear he’s not sticking around, Cecilia strives to restrain her blossoming feelings for him. Just when it seems love may triumph, dark secrets are revealed in Amberley and a scandal from William’s past may see the end of not only his career, but his chance at finding an everlasting love.
From the desk of Katie P.:
In most novels, the heroine has some kind of quirk, trait, flaw, or unique quality—physical or otherwise–which the hero (and the reader) falls in love with. She could have a temper (Serena, Bath Tangle) or a limp (Sorrel, Friends and Foes). She might stutter (Horry, The Convenient Marriage) or make judgments too quickly (Elizabeth, Pride and Prejudice). She could love to twirl (Marianne, Edenbrooke) or love to take charge (Sophy, The Grand Sophy). She might be stubborn (Margaret Hale, North and South) or love matchmaking (Emma, Emma). She might love to read novels (Catherine, Northanger Abbey) or collect insects and plants (Alice, The Naturalist). The list could go on and on. But the one characteristic not often seen (or even seen) in a Regency heroine is shortsightedness. In Christina Dudley’s latest continuation of the Hapgoods of Bramleigh series, A Very Plain Young Man, readers meet a rake in need of a bride…and a heroine in need of spectacles.
Frederick Tierney is three things: the heir to two estates, a rake, and an extremely handsome man (which he is very much aware). While in London, he breaks off his relationship with his latest conquest, for the first time getting tired of living the life of a profligate (which disappoints his family), saying false ‘I love you’s’ and being chased after by shallow women. He travels to Somerset for his younger brother’s wedding, and to escape his ex-lover’s clutches, he sends her a letter saying he’s soon to be married. Continue reading
From the desk of Katie Patchell:
Women writers in the 21st century are accepted and praised for their ability to write great literature. Their books are proudly published alongside the books written by men, and literature today is not judged by the gender of the author but by the quality of the content. But it wasn’t always like this. Female authors in the Regency underwent many struggles that are not experienced or understood today. Society in the 1800’s rarely accepted female authors, and it was the exception, not the norm, that guaranteed a woman protection from society after publishing under her own name. So if society frowned upon female authors, then how would an authoress even go about finding and meeting with a publisher? How could she recover from public knowledge of her authorship? What was the consequence of daring to become an author? And what were the pros and cons of remaining anonymous? Julie Klassen answers these questions and more in The Girl in the Gatehouse, a Regency novel filled with romance, intrigue, and a mysterious authoress.
After a terrible indiscretion ruins her in the eyes of polite society, Mariah Aubrey is sent by her father to live in an abandoned gatehouse on the edges of her aunt’s estate, accompanied only by her loyal servant, Miss Dixon. Ignored by her aunt and scorned by all of her loved ones and past acquaintances, Mariah plans to spend the rest of her days living quietly and going unnoticed by all, supporting herself anonymously by writing novels. But when Captain Matthew Bryant moves into Windrush Court after the death of her aunt, Mariah discovers that her heart isn’t as closed up as she thought. But could Captain Bryant ever love her if he knew what had happened in her past? When a house party hosted by Captain Bryant includes many guests who are from Mariah’s previous life, can she protect herself from them and keep them from revealing her secrets, past and present?
With a fortune in prize money and the title of Captain, Matthew Bryant leases Windrush Court, with the hopes of eventually buying it and securing his status as a gentleman. With unshakable determination, he plans on wooing Isabella Forsythe, the woman who rejected him before he left for the navy. But to Matthew’s bewilderment, his future plans start to lose their excitement as he spends more and more time with the mysterious Miss Aubrey. Her conversation and inner beauty attract him, but with the hoped-for future Mrs. Bryant coming to his house party (who happens to be arriving with her fiancé), Matthew keeps Mariah at a distance, telling himself that surely the woman he loves is the dazzling Miss Forsythe, not the puzzling Miss Aubrey. When the truth comes out, will Matthew discover who it is he truly loves, and will Mariah and Matthew both be able to forgive their own past mistakes in order to save their future? Continue reading
From the desk of Katie Patchell:
What must it be like to be the forgotten sibling? The one, like Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, who is forever being ignored in favor of older and more flawless siblings? Until recently with the focus on Mary Bennet in novels like The Pursuit of Mary Bennet, The Forgotten Sister, and the Return to Longbourn, authors have been ignoring this type of character, the one who at first glance has nothing to offer the reader. But sometimes it is the quiet character watching from the sidelines that has the most difficult problems to overcome, and the most potential to grow. Sarah M. Eden has created a hero who is used to being hidden in the background in her most recent novel, As You Are, the third in Sarah M. Eden’s series, The Jonquil Brothers. Without any prior knowledge of this series (or indeed, Sarah M. Eden’s novels) this reviewer has ventured into a Regency world unlike any other, one that is managed by the seven Jonquil brothers. While the other two novels in this series told the tales of the eldest two brothers, Philip and Layton, As You Are tells the story of the forgotten middle brother, Corbin. Like Mary Bennet, he has his own unique struggles to overcome. Continue reading
From the desk of Katie Patchell:
Dancing—one of the first things that come to mind when imagining the Regency era. Ballrooms, white gloves, dashing men and beautiful women, weaving in invisible patterns on a marble floor, surrounded by fragrant flowers and glowing candelabras. But where do these heroes and heroines learn that beautiful and necessary skill? The answer: Dancing masters – the men who mixed with those in the highest circles, but were not their social equals. This group of men has been in the shadows of Regency fiction…until now, in Julie Klassen’s latest novel, The Dancing Master. In this romantic novel, the focus shifts from the dancers on the dance floor to the teacher behind the dance.
Alec Valcourt finds himself suddenly in a new town: his future drastically different from what he had planned. Gone is the exciting life as a dancing master for his father’s academy in London—now he must support his mother and sister on his own, all while protecting them from shameful secrets from the past. Alec seeks to restart his career as a dancing master but soon discovers that dancing has been mysteriously prohibited from the town of Beaworthy for twenty years. The imperious Lady Amelia Midwinter has banned all dances and, as Alec quickly finds out, despises dancing masters—especially if they get too near her beautiful but willful daughter, Julia. Continue reading
This is my eighth and final selection in the Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013, our celebration of romance author Candice Hern. We have read all of her traditional Regencies over the last nine months, discussed her characters, plots and Regency history. Her next novel Social Climber was scheduled for release in October but has been extended to January. Participants in the challenge, please leave comments and or links to your reviews for this month in the comment section of this post.
Have you ever read a short story and wished it was a full-length novel? That is how I felt after completing “Lady Ann’s Excellent Adventure.” Short and sweet at 43 pages, Candice Hern has introduced characters that I instantly loved and wanted to know more about. What grabbed me so immediately you ask? The humor and effervescent theme.
In this brief format, an author must use every word and sentence to advance the narrative quickly to its conclusion. Hern wastes no time by introducing the two main characters in an outrageous and humorous way: our hero, the Earl of Evesham, is test-driving his new curricle down Park Lane in London and spies a young woman perched in a tree attempting to make her way over a fence. Caught by her skirts on a branch, she is prevented from progressing and literally up a tree! The unusual sight of a finely dressed woman in such a predicament is quite intriguing to the lord, but the fact that she is attempting to escape from the garden of the royal owner that he was appointed to meet the next day to make a formal offer for his daughter’s hand is even more interesting. It is an arranged marriage since his boyhood and he has not seen his future fiancé since she was a child. Could this pretty young lady be his intended? No. It was highly unlikely that Lady Ann of Gloucester, daughter of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and niece to the king would be dangling from a tree in the fashionable Mayfair district. Was she instead a housebreaker escaping with the family silver? Who could this “adorable sprite” be? Continue reading