Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, by Sally Smith-O’Rourke – A Review

Yours Affectionatley Jane Austen by Sally Smith O'Rourke (2012)From the desk of Lisa Galek

In this sequel to The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, Sally Smith-O’Rourke takes us on a journey through time and across continents as we explore what happened to the characters and romances from her first novel.

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen picks up moments after the previous book leaves off. The heroine, Eliza Knight, a contemporary New York artist, is staying at the home of Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome, southern gentleman and the owner of Pemberley Farms in Virginia. Previously, Eliza and Fitz were brought together by a pair of mysterious letters written by Jane Austen herself which suggested that she once had an affair with an American named Fitzwilliam Darcy. A man whom she later used as the basis of the hero of Pride and Prejudice.

Though the letters are valuable, Eliza decides to give them to Fitz (for reasons revealed in the previous book, which I won’t spoil). Eliza must now deal with the fallout from refusing to reveal the contents of the letters to the public while navigating her blossoming love for Fitz and trying to understand his past as a time traveler. Yup, a time traveler.

Eliza’s story also intertwines with that of an 1813 Jane Austen. Fresh off the success of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, Jane is planning to publish her newest novel, Mansfield Park. Jane writes and spends time with her family, though she cannot quite forget the handsome American who suddenly fell into her life just three years before and disappeared just as quickly.

I may be at a disadvantage here because I’ve never read The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. If you’re in the same boat, you will probably be able to catch up very quickly as the author spends quite a bit of time recapping the events of the previous story. However, I would really recommend going back and reading the first installment if you plan to tackle this one.

The main reason for this is that I just couldn’t shake the feeling that The Man Who Loved Jane Austen was probably a much more interesting book than this one. Jane Austen? Mysterious letters? The truth about the real Fitzwilliam Darcy? Time travel? Budding romance? Sign me up. Once all of those questions are answered, there just doesn’t seem much left to do. Continue reading

Nocturne, by Syrie James – A Review

Nocturne, by Syrie James (2011)From the desk of Christina Boyd:

After loving best selling author Syrie James’ The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, as well as her Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker, my next obvious step was to read her latest offering, Nocturne. Our story begins with Nicole Whitcomb driving to the Denver airport from a Rocky Mountain wedding and ski mini-break, when a blinding snowstorm whips up, and her car hits black ice, spinning her out of control and over an embankment. She blacks out, only to wake in a rustic, mountain lodge having been rescued by its owner, a handsome, recluse named Michael. The blizzard outside prevents her from continuing on her journey. As the hours turn into days, an uneasy companionship ensues, as Nicole becomes ever curious of her mysterious host. Why does he choose to dine alone? Why is the kitchen so under stocked? Why is he shockingly rude but yet still thoughtful?

Curious attraction fuels this odd companionship through their common interest in books when she discovers his first edition collections of classic literature represented by Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain… When she asks if she can borrow one, he answers,

‘Whatever you like, Miss Whitcomb.’ She heard something different in his voice—a quieter, mellower tone that he’d yet exhibited – and she turned to look at him. He was leaning up against his desk, his arms crossed over his chest, his long legs stretched out before him. His guard was down, and he was studying her with an expression that resembled something like tentative delight. It was the first time he’d looked at her that way – as if she might prove to be an interesting human being after all and not just an inconvenience. It wasn’t the most flattering look in the world, and yet the newfound warmth in his blue eyes made her heart skitter. ‘This isn’t Pride and Prejudice.  You can call me Nicole.’ Page 49.

As the sexual tension increases and her imagination runs rampant in this mountain seclusion, she readily makes his excuses, only to discover that her wildest dreams, or nightmares, are now her reality. Will I ruin it for you if I tell you that yes, Michael is a vampire? Like the iconic vampires of Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, and even Stephenie Meyer, Michael has his impossible strengths and weaknesses. When Nicole realizes what he is, the shock and fear that she has fallen for a vampire sets her on a dangerous escape.

But it’s his unlikely humanity, as well as his “love for her” that allowed him “to hold his carnal instincts in check” that endeared me most. As the sun comes out and the roads have cleared, Nicole and Michael must find a way to co-exist if their forbidden love is to survive.

Tauntingly compelling, the ending left me spent. Let’s just say however, thankfully Syrie James included an Author’s Note (and helpful Author’s Questions and Answers) that gave me hope (or at least wishful thinking) that she might revisit Nicole and Michael’s love story in the future. If not, let me be the first to petition such a work! The haunting Nocturne is the perfect escape book for romance readers with some pretty steamy love scenes sure to warm you to your toes these cold, winter months.  Enjoy!

4 out of 5 Stars

Nocturne, by Syrie James
Vanguard Press (2011)
Hardcover (288) pages
ISBN: 978-1593156282

Cover image courtesy of Vanguard Press © 2011; text Christina Boyd © 2011,

Seducing Mr. Darcy, by Gwyn Cready Wins 2009 RITA Award

Seducing Mr. Darcy, by Gwyn Cready (2008)Congratulations go out to author Gwyn Cready, who was awarded a 2009 RITA for her novel Seducing Mr. Darcy in the Best Paranormal Romance category by the Romance Writers of America® (RWA) at last night’s Awards Ceremony held at RWA’s 29th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. We are so happy that Mr. Darcy seduced the judges as well.

Seducing Mr. Darcy is a sexy time travel novel inspired by Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice. Here is the publisher’s description…

Mr. Darcy just isn’t Flip Allison’s style. She prefers novels with hot sex on the bathroom sink to the mannerly, high-tension longing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. That is, until she pays a visit to Madame K, who promises a therapeutic massage with an opportunity to “Imagine Yourself in Your Favorite Book.” Somehow, on the way to a sizzling sink-top session with a Venetian Adonis, Flip lands right in the middle of Regency England — and dangerously close to handsome Mr. Darcy. So close, in fact, that she discovers a side of him even Jane Austen couldn’t have imagined.

Waking from her massage, Flip is on top of the world and ready for her upcoming book club — that is, until she notices a new scene in which Darcy and spunky heroine Lizzy Bennet are arguing over…Flip Allison? Her rapturous liaison with Darcy has had disastrous consequences for Austen’s characters — not to mention millions of Pride and Prejudice fans! Flip has twenty-four hours to put the story back on course, and Magnus Knightley, a sexy but imperious scholar whose brooding good looks and infuriating arrogance are decidedly Darcy-like, is the only one who can help. The only problem is, Flip can’t keep her hands off him, either…

Cover image courtesy of Pocket Books © 2008; text Laurel Ann Nattress,