Austenesque, Book Reviews, Holiday Reading, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Hopeful Holiday: A Pride and Prejudice Novella, by Heather Moll — A Review 

From the desk of Sophia Rose: 

What if Lady Catherine never makes her infamous visit at Longbourn? What if Mr. Darcy never returns to the neighborhood? Can Jane Austen’s most iconic pair still discover a way to ‘only remember the past’ with pleasure together? It might take a bit of yuletide mischief and interference orchestrated by a talented writer, Heather Moll, whose tales I have enjoyed in the past.

A Hopeful Holiday opens with Elizabeth Bennet looking forward to the holiday season with a tired, dreary spirit. Her family has noticed and happily encourage her to accept Charlotte Collins’ invitation to visit Hunsford. Elizabeth accepts and is full of regrets over the outcome of her last visit and the heated speech she delivered to Mr. Darcy having no idea at the time that her feelings would be quite the opposite a half year later. If only he had come with his friend back into Hertfordshire so she could make him see that her feelings were all for him.

Fitzwilliam Darcy endures quiet misery that he must be forever parted from the one woman he could ever love. He is convinced that she could never look on him the way she had last summer at Pemberley after her sister ran off with Wickham and it was Darcy’s attempt to protect his family pride that prevented word to get out what a scoundrel was in their midst. And, if his aching heart were not enough, now he has drawn the short straw with his cousin the colonel to represent the family at Rosings for Christmas and Lady Catherine’s annual masquerade ball this year. Wouldn’t it be a lovely dream to discover that the Collinses had a special guest like the last time he visited his aunt?

A Hopeful Holiday is a Pride and Prejudice variation that picks up at a place late in the original story. With such a set up, it is most definitely written for those who are already familiar with the story. The setting is festive with each dwelling decorated so lovely and several scenes of jolly making including a game of Snapdragon, snowball fights, Christmas meals, and a lavish masquerade ball.

There is a feeling of second chances because Darcy and Elizabeth are meeting after the close of major events and in a new place during a time of reflection and renewal. I enjoyed this and appreciated that it fit well with the well-developed shorter story and faster-pace of the already existing romantic feelings.

I appreciated that it wasn’t all clear sailing, however. There are their own hesitating feelings about speaking up for fear the other person doesn’t feel the same, but yes, Lady C must have her say and doesn’t even realize that she is de trop. A new character arrives, Sir Hugh de Bourgh, Lady C’s nephew on her husband’s side, and he is definitely not a fan of Darcy’s. He has his own agenda for the Christmas holidays that include scotching Darcy and Elizabeth’s chances and promoting himself with his aunt.

All in all, A Hopeful Holiday was a light, entertaining, holiday romance pleaser that caught the spirit of the season and the magic of a second chance romance. Sweet holiday historical Austen fans settle in and click this one onto your reader.

4 out of 5 Stars

  • A Hopeful Holiday: A Pride and Prejudice Novella, by Heather Moll
  • Excessively Diverted Press (November 1, 2021)
  • eBook (116) pages
  • ASIN: ‎B09H534MRN

AMAZON | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

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 Excessively Diverted Press © 2021; text Sophia Rose © 2021, Austenprose.com

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

Faults of Understanding: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Jennifer Altman — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet impertinently tells Mr. Darcy that his “defect is a propensity to hate everybody” to which he replies that hers “is willfully to misunderstand them.” Austen enthusiasts everywhere delight in this flirtatious battle of wits over the topic of natural defects. With a title inspired by Mr. Darcy— “I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding”—Jennifer Altman’s second Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel, Faults of Understanding, follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they become better acquainted with each other through unforeseen trials.

At the Netherfield ball, Mr. Darcy is informed that Mr. Collins—a distant cousin of the Bennet family and heir to neighboring estate Longbourn—expects to receive a favorable reply to his planned marriage proposal to the second-eldest Bennet daughter at Longbourn. Darcy is shocked and dismayed by the revelation. “It could not be true. Elizabeth Bennet—his Elizabeth!—married to such a man?” (132) He wants to Continue reading “Faults of Understanding: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Jennifer Altman — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of As a Proper Lady Would: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Bronwen Chisholm

Happy Friday, dear readers. Fall is in the air and it is a great time to curl up with a cup of tea and a new book.

Please help me welcome Austenesque author Bronwen Chisholm to Austenprose today. She has a new Pride and Prejudice inspired novel that was just released this week. As a Proper Lady Would is the first book in the Defying Propriety Series.

Chisholm specializes in variations. Since 2014 he has has written seven novels and novellas, such as The Ball at Meryton (2015), Missing Jane (2020), and Georgiana Darcy, Matchmaker (2016).

Here is the book description and an exclusive excerpt from the author. Enjoy!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety. Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of As a Proper Lady Would: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Bronwen Chisholm”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

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. Continue reading “Dangerous Magic: A Pride & Prejudice Variation (Mr. Darcy’s Magic Book 1), by Monica Fairview — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

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 Continue reading “A Life Worth Choosing: A Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Anngela Schroeder – A Review”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Emma Sequels, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of From Highbury with Love, by Corrie Garrett

From Highbury with Love by Corrie Garrett 2021Happy Friday dear readers. The seasons are changing here. I hope to get into the garden this weekend. How about you?

Today we are delighted to preview a forthcoming novel by Corrie Garrett, From Highbury with Love. Technically it is crossover fiction, combining the characters from two of Jane Austen’s novels: Emma and Pride and Prejudice.

Talking about crossovers, this is an emerging subgenre in Austenesque fiction that is trending. While Sybil G. Brinton’s 1913 Old Friends and New Fancies was the first to incorporate this technique of blending multiple storyline characters into a new narrative, more recently Joana Starnes’ The Subsequent Proposal: The Tale of Pride and Prejudice & Persuasion (2013), and Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright (2021) have expanded the practice to much acclaim. I suspect that we shall see many more authors embracing this device in the future. Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Excerpt of From Highbury with Love, by Corrie Garrett”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

A Preview & Giveaway of Fearful Symmetry: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Gailie Ruth Caress

Fearful Symmetry by Gailie Ruth Caress 2021Happy Friday dear readers. It feels like Spring in my neck of the woods and I could not be happier. Today I am sharing something else as restorative as the change of seasons to gladden a Janeite’s heart—a new Austenesque novel to add to your growing TBR pile. Fearful Symmetry has just been released this week by Quills & Quartos Publishing. It is a Pride and Prejudice variation worthy of your consideration by debut novelist Gailie Ruth Caress.

In the ever-growing field of Pride and Prejudice what-ifs, this novel is a bit different. To feed your addiction, the novel contains many of the characters from Jane Austen’s original, including our dear couple Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy as the focus. Where Fearful Symmetry becomes unique is with its first plot crisis: a fire that engulfs Longbourn, the home of the Bennet clan. This pivoting point from the original story sends Austen’s characters off in a truly new direction before their HEA in the capable hands of Caress. Surprises and twists abound.

We are delighted to share an exclusive excerpt from the publisher with you today and a chance to win one digital copy of the book for our readers. Please check out the giveaway details at the end of this post. Good luck to all!

I am wishing you all a fabulous weekend. Continue reading “A Preview & Giveaway of Fearful Symmetry: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Gailie Ruth Caress”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Persuasion Sequels, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright — A Review

Mr Darcys Persuasion by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright 2021From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In Jane Austen’s final complete novel, Persuasion—published six months after her untimely death—the heroine, Anne Elliot, is influenced by her prideful father, a baronet, to break off an engagement with Captain Frederick Wentworth, who was considered a poor match due to his low social status and lack of wealth. Similarly, in Austen’s earlier novel, Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the prideful man causing heartbreak over his disapproval of an undistinguished family. The consequences of such prejudiced persuasion collide spectacularly in Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion by prolific writing duo Cass Grafton and Ada Bright.

Mr. Darcy is in denial. In a letter to his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, he insists, “Despite your suggestion to the contrary, no young lady has caught my attention.” (152) Yet he flees Hertfordshire posthaste following the ball at Netherfield hosted by his friend Mr. Bingley, whom he has advised to avoid a growing attachment to Miss Jane Bennet. All the while, Darcy knows his own hypocrisy as he likewise advises himself to avoid the undeniable attraction he feels toward Jane’s younger sister, Elizabeth. He acknowledges that the Bennet family is far beneath the notice of a wealthy gentleman landowner such as he, thus he removes himself from danger and warns his smitten friend to do the same. Continue reading “Mr. Darcy’s Persuasion: An Austen-inspired Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion, by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright — A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

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. Continue reading “Fallen, by Jessie Lewis — A Review”