Fallen, by Jessie Lewis — A Review

A lady’s reputation was everything during the Regency era, as we are so sanctimoniously reminded of by Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice after her sister Lydia’s scandalous elopement.

“…loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable—that one false step involves her in endless ruin—that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful—and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.” (Chapter 47)

Fallen, Jessie Lewis’ new Jane Austen-inspired novel, embraces this dictum and explores the predicament of a fallen woman and to what lengths a family will go to hide the truth to save their social standing. When that family is from wealth and circumstance, such as the Darcy’s of Pemberley, it makes the tale even more intriguing to those who enjoy Austenesque variations. We shall see what it takes to make a brittle reputation break.

The story begins cryptically with a prologue involving two unnamed men discussing the plight of a pregnant woman in their charge. She is crushed when she overhears that their decision will ruin her reputation. That leaves the reader immediately guessing and sets the theme of the story that will be interwoven throughout the narrative.

“Do not talk to me of scruples as though she overflows with them! Nothing you say will change my mind. I will not marry her.” (2)

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A Preview & Giveaway of The Year in Between: A Sense and Sensibility Variation, by Christina Morland

Happy Friday dear readers. I have a new Austenesque novel to share with you today that gladdens my heart by just reading the title. Yes, a Jane Austen-inspired novel based on Sense and Sensibility. They are as rare as hen’s teeth and as welcome as tulips in the Spring.

The Year in Between has so much going for it without even opening the cover. Its author is Christina Morland, one of the most astute and sensitive writers of my reading acquaintance, it continues the story of Marianne and Elinor Dashwood after the end of the original novel, and it is a whopping 715 pages! Now, some of you might be intimidated by that size. Stop. There is no need for apprehension, I assure you. The advance praise of this novel is so encouraging and if it is the quality of Christina’s other novels, those pages will just fly by.

We are thrilled to feature The Year in Between here on Austenprose today with an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway chance offered by the publisher. Please check out the details at the bottom of this post and leave a comment to qualify.

I hope that you all have your reading lined up for the weekend and are enjoying the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere.

Cheers, Laurel Ann 

BOOK DESCRIPTION 

Marianne Dashwood was “born to an extraordinary fate…to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favorite maxims” (Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility). After Willoughby’s betrayal, how did Marianne learn to see Colonel Brandon—and herself—in a new light? And how did Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars fare during their first year of marriage?

The Year in Between explores the untold year in the last chapter of Sense and Sensibility. Whether you know Austen’s novel well, or this is your first introduction to Elinor, Marianne, Edward, and Brandon, I invite you to visit Delaford, where friendship, love, and all the challenges that come with these gifts abound.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

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Flirtation & Folly: A Season in London (Book 1), by Elizabeth Rasche – A Review

Flirtation & Folly by Elizabeth Rasche 2020From the desk of Katie Patchell:

Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen’s greatest gems, yet one of her most underrated novels. It is a coming-of-age tale of Catherine Morland, a comedy, a romance, and a commentary on the Regency-era literary scene. In all of that, it is both a down-to-earth study of real-life and a beautifully plotted promise that even the most mundane of circumstances hold a glimmer of heaven. In Elizabeth Rasche’s Regency debut, Flirtation & Folly, these same ingredients are bound together in the endearingly flawed, eternally hopeful heroine, Marianne Mowbrey.

Marianne Mowbrey is a dreamer. Fresh from the country to visit her aunt in London, she believes with all of her heart that she will become a heroine just like those in her favorite novels. As she soon discovers, wishing is not the same as getting. Under her aunt’s disapproving gaze, Marianne tries to learn the skills needed to be a society darling from her new “friends,” the beautiful yet mocking Stokes’ sisters.

No matter if day after day proceeded with the same rise and fall of expectations. For Marianne, the morning always burst with the fresh, flowering hope of the charming young lady she would become by eventide. (78)   

Robert Hearn arrives in London not knowing where he belongs anymore. Originally from Ireland yet raised in England, he has spent his adult years in India and beyond. All that is left of his home are memories of an idyllic childhood. With the desire to win his estate back from the hands of another, Robert has no time for social graces or flirtations. What slips past his guard, however, is a newfound friend who might be as lost as he. Continue reading

A Captain for Caroline Gray: Proper Romance Regency, by Julie Wright — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

An outspoken bluestocking lady in Regency England, unless independently wealthy, was most likely to be shunned by Society into involuntary spinsterhood and poverty. Suitable husbands were difficult enough to come by, but for a lady with a clever mind and vibrant opinions, her options were fewer still. Desperation led many a spurned lady onto a ship bound for India in search of Englishmen with lower standards and plentiful wealth. That long and arduous journey is depicted in author Julie Wright’s latest Proper Romance, A Captain for Caroline Gray.

Miss Caroline Gray’s unconventional education at the behest of her well-meaning parents had included “politics, science, and literature” (99) and none of the silly arts of flirtation that might have secured her future. Consequently, she had endured three London Seasons where the gentlemen “all liked her well enough before she opened her mouth. Conversation with her led them from interest to wariness. And when they’d discovered that she was often found at public lecture courses on physics, their wariness turned to outright disdain.” (182)

Living with her widowed mother on the family estate, Caroline is not prepared for the sudden news that her cousin—her father’s heir—has decided to marry and claim his inheritance, thus displacing Caroline and her mother. Her future looks bleak indeed as her mother asks if she wishes to see herself passed around by their relations like an unwanted parcel, a perpetual nursemaid or caregiver, husbandless and childless. The reality of their economic situation was that “all of her prospects hinged on marrying. Without marrying, she had no possibilities. No prospects. No choices.” (168) Caroline berates herself for her inability to make a match but quickly realizes that she could have been nobody but herself. And “did she truly want to cheat some man out of genuine happiness by making him believe her to be what she was not?” (210)

An opportunity arises in the form of an offer from her mother’s acquaintance. Mrs. Barritt’s third son has a purchased commission as a captain in the army is making his own fortune in India, and is looking for a pretty and proper English wife. She will pay half of Caroline’s passage to India in exchange for Caroline’s obligation to spend some time with her son, Captain Nicholas Barritt. Caroline is determined “to pretend she felt some excitement. She would pretend to thrill at the adventure of it all. She would pretend that her heart was not breaking at the thought of leaving her family and her beloved England.” (192) Continue reading

A Preview & Giveaway of A Life Worth Choosing: A Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Anngela Schroeder

Happy Friday dear readers. Do you have your reading lined up yet for the weekend? I am working my way through Jane Austen & Adlestrop, by Victoria Huxley. It is a detailed history of the Leigh family of Adlestrop, a village in Gloucestershire, and Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire, the ancestral seat of Jane’s mother Cassandra Austen nee Leigh. I highly recommend it for those interested in Austen’s many family connections and how they influenced her writing.

Today I am delighted to feature a new Austenesque novel written by the exceptionally talented Anngela Schroeder. A Life Worth Choosing is a unique Pride and Prejudice variation—unlike any that I have heard of. Imagine the plot of Austen’s tale at the point after the failed first proposal by Mr. Darcy and then add in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Yes, this is a fantasy story so to speak, and a very clever one at that.

Anngela is a seasoned author who has written several popular Austen-inspired novels including The Goodness of Men, and A Lie Universally Hidden. She has also contributed short fiction to three anthologies: Yuletide, Rational Creatures, and Then Comes Winter. I hope that you will be as intrigued as I was by the creative concept of A Life Worth Choosing and give it a try this weekend.

The publisher has generously shared an exclusive excerpt from the novel and offered a giveaway chance to our readers. Check out the details at the end of the post. Good luck to all and happy reading! 

BOOK DESCRIPTION

“You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.” Jane Austen

Reeling from the unexpected rejection of his proposal, Fitzwilliam Darcy prepares to quit Hunsford for London but not before he defends himself against Elizabeth Bennet’s accusations. He cannot forgive her harsh words; her assertion Mr. Wickham would have made a better son has cut him to the core.

Suffering an accident while delivering the fated letter, he wakes to a world he does not know—and to those who do not recognize him. With a new life, a different name, and a fresh chance at winning the woman he loves, Darcy must decide which is “A Life Worth Choosing” ––the past he remembers or a future he has created for himself.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

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