The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally Smith O’Rourke

Wow! I knew this was going to be good, but what I found in the pages of The Man Who Loved Jane Austen was not what I expected – in an Oh-So-Delicious way! Did I ever tell you I adore time travel stories? How could I not love a novel that includes a sweet, contemporary Austenesque-type romance, a Regency romance including Jane Austen herself, AND time travel, all wrapped up into one? Sally has a beautiful way of describing scenes; I saw what the characters were seeing.

If it weren’t for a lack of commas, which every once in a while made me stop reading and start editing the text in my head so I was able to understand what was meant by the sentence, I’d say this was perfect! In the end,  I was able to accept them. Putting that aside, I LOVED this book.

Once I got started, I had trouble putting it down and read it within a 24-hour period.

Off I go to begin reading “Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen” the sequel! Can’t wait!

Official Blurb:

When New York artist Eliza Knight buys an old vanity table one lazy Sunday afternoon, she has no idea of its history. Tucked away behind the mirror are two letters. One is sealed; the other, dated May 1810, is addressed to “Dearest Jane” from “F. Darcy”–as in Fitzwilliam Darcy, the fictional hero of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Could one of literature’s most compelling characters been a real person? More intriguing still, scientific testing proves that the second, sealed letter was written by Jane herself.

Caught between the routine of her present life and these incredible discoveries from the past, Eliza decides to look deeper and is drawn to a majestic, 200-year-old estate in Virginia’s breathtaking Shenandoah Valley. There she meets the man who may hold the answer to this extraordinary puzzle. Now, as the real story of Fitzwilliam Darcy unfolds, Eliza finds her life has become a modern-day romance, one that perhaps only Jane herself could have written. . .

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This review is part of my commitment towards

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

hosted by AustenProse.com.

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A Change of Heart (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Although it took me longer to really “get into” A Change of Heart than it did Candice Hern’s other novels, once I did, it was definitely worth it. I enjoyed it quite a bit and recommend this book. I feel the backstories of Jack Raeburn, Marquess of Pemerton, and Lady Mary Haviland are more well developed than those of Hern’s other novels, and I have to admit that I love it when detailed backstories are revealed slowly, always keeping me guessing! The characters are definitely not perfect, their flaws so realistic that I couldn’t help but love them, and I was squirming in my seat through their mistakes. Don’t you love it when you find yourself talking to the characters, telling them, “Don’t do it!” 😉 The “Happily Ever After” doesn’t always seem possible, but of course, it comes in the end.

The official blurb is a perfect description, so here it is:

Jack Raeburn, a longtime pleasure-seeking rakehell, is now unexpectedly the Marquess of Pemerton, a title inherited after the tragic deaths of his father and older brothers. Unfortunately, he inherited a mountain of debts along with the title, and believes his only option is to marry an heiress. He finds a surprising champion in Lady Mary Haviland, a spinster of unremarkable looks and a charming personality, who has decided to help him find a bride. When Jack discovers that Mary has a large fortune, their comfortable friendship takes an unexpected new direction. By turns witty and emotional, A CHANGE OF HEART follows the path of two wounded souls from friendship to betrayal to redemption. The ballrooms of London and the rugged cliffs and coves of the South Devon coast come alive in this poignant tale of the healing power of love.

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This review is part of the Regency Romance Reading Challenge

hosted by Austenprose.com

A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance)

A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance)

First in Candice Hern’s Regency Rakes Trilogy

Here is another highly enjoyable, light romance by Candice Hern!  Hern’s delightful style of writing makes me never want to stop reading her books.

The novel opens with a prologue—I know some readers skip prologues, so I’m hinting that you should read this one since it explains how our heroine’s parents became estranged from her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Pentwick.

Emily Townsend is a beautiful, intelligent, modest, and proper lady of twenty-six, who is also very much aware of her place in the world as a penniless orphan. Emily is employed as a companion to the Dowager Countess, Lady Bradleigh—a feisty, eccentric older lady who loves deeply, and has great affection for Emily (I loved Lady Bradleigh!) Escaping her employer’s early attempts at matchmaking was not difficult while they lived in Bath, where year-round residents are mostly of an older generation, but that is about to change.

The story begins with Lady Bradleigh upset after reading an announcement in the newspaper stating that her beloved grandson, Lord Robert Cameron, Earl of Bradleigh, has become engaged to marry a woman his grandmother does not like.

Having traveled from London to inform his beloved grandmother of his news in person, Lord Bradleigh comes upon the ladies just after his grandmother reads the article. Since he had never felt affection toward any woman he’s met, and since he knew it was high time that he provide an heir to his title, Lord Bradleigh admits that he has now sworn off his disreputable, rakish ways and arranged a marriage of convenience.

His grandmother is miserable knowing that her grandson has taken such a business-like approach to marriage when she had hoped  he would follow her example by marrying for love. Eventually resigning herself to accept his choice, Lady Bradleigh decides to make the journey to the earl’s house in town so that she may prepare a grand engagement ball in celebration of her grandson’s betrothal.

Upon first meeting him, Emily is wary of Lord Bradleigh due to his notorious reputation with the ladies, but she finds she can’t help but like him since he is very much like his grandmother. The attraction between Emily and Lord Bradleigh is immediate, although they keep to themselves. After living in the same household in Bath, and then in London, knowing it is impossible to become more, the two become good friends.

Once in London, the fun really begins. With gentlemen of an appropriate age available, Lady Bradleigh recruits her grandson to assist with her matchmaking efforts for Emily. Emily’s nasty, estranged relatives also come into the picture. Meanwhile, Lord Bradleigh can’t seem to keep his mind on his engagement to the coldhearted Miss Windhurst. Although he regrets the betrothal, he feels a responsibility to follow through with the marriage.

Can Emily and Robert find happiness elsewhere while denying the love they feel for each other?

Since I can’t seem to get enough of Candice Hern’s stories, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more reviews here as part of the Regency Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Austenprose.com

One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy

One Thread Pulled:

The Dance with Mr. Darcy

by Diana J. Oaks

Although I’ve read it twice before, I decided to revisit this excellent story—full of sweet romance, intrigue, and even a mystery—for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge. I highly recommend this book!

What if, from the story of Pride and Prejudice, weaved by Jane Austen, one thread was pulled? Diana J. Oaks imagines just that when she pulls the thread that has Elizabeth Bennet overhearing Mr. Darcy’s insult at the assembly ball. As a result, One Thread Pulled goes off in  directions increasingly dissimilar to the original as the story unfolds.

Since there was no knowledge of the insult, Mrs. Bennet declares that they should forgive Mr. Darcy’s pride, and Elizabeth agrees. Jane suffers a fall on her way to Netherfield rather than an illness, resulting in some rather amusing scenes which explain the changes in her character from the original.Without Elizabeth’s injured pride, her behavior toward Mr. Darcy is friendlier, causing both their feelings to develop sooner. Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy appear earlier, as well, and the characters we love to hate are even more hate-worthy in this adaptation—a very satisfying deviation.

I was sorry to see this book end, and I am looking forward to the second of the series to be published! Diana’s first draft of the sequel is being posted to BeyondAusten.com, titled Constant as the Sun.

Loving Miss Darcy (Brides of Pemberley)

Loving Miss Darcy (Brides of Pemberley)

by Nancy Kelley

You know it’s a really good story when you hit the end and you still want to read more. If one listened closely when I finished this book, they would have heard a very audible, “Awww! There’s no more?!” and noticed that I kept flipping to see if there was any mention of a sequel.

In Loving Miss Darcy, Elizabeth and Darcy are very happily married. Richard Fitzwilliam is now out of the army at half-pay and has been taking care of his father’s estates in lieu of his brother, who does not really care for the land. His brother decides to take an interest after all—mainly, it seems, in order to spite Richard. Wanting nothing to do with his brother, Richard leaves Matlock and heads over to Pemberley.

Upon arrival, he finds that, after putting off Georgiana’s season in order for Elizabeth to be presented, it is now time for Georgiana’s coming out. The gentlemen are rather reluctant about it—as is Georgiana. As Mary Bennet has no interest in having a Season, and Kitty is all for it, the Darcys ask Kitty to accompany them to London to be presented at court as well, hoping some of her enthusiasm will wear off on Georgiana.

As the Season begins, Richard can’t understand the extreme discomfort that comes over him whenever he thinks of Georgiana having suitors, and heaven forbid anyone should mention that the purpose for a Season is so that she shall marry!

Although at times I wanted to shake some sense into poor Richard, experiencing his confusion was all part of the fun—an Austen-inspired story would be nothing without misunderstandings!  I think this is one of my favorite Colonel Fitzwilliam characterizations, and I really loved Georgiana, too. I enjoyed all the new characters that Nancy Kelley came up with, as well.

A big “thumbs up” from me for Loving Miss Darcy!

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I read this novel as part of the

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

at Austenprose.com

Text of Pride and Prejudice – 200th Anniversary personal challenge

I woke up this morning and remembered a dream I had – for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, I was typing the entire text.  Since many of my ideas for my stories also come from dreams, I decided that”s just what I’m going to do!

Check out the new page on my website.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Since I’m afraid it might disappear if I type it here, I’ll be typing in Word and pasting it from time to time.  I certainly hope it all fits!

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I was going to simply read Pride and Prejudice as part of

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

at Austenprose.com

but this is one step better!

Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey

Have you ever become so involved with a story that you didn’t even want to stop reading long enough to eat or sleep?  Yep, that’s what happened while I was reading Jessica Grey’s new release:

Attempting Elizabeth

Janeites everywhere will love this story! It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed this hard or this often while reading a book. The characters were alive, and I couldn’t help but connect with Kelsey on so many levels.

I had written up a description for Attempting Elizabeth, and even chose a couple of quotes that I absolutely loved, but I decided not to use them when I realized they gave away too much of the plot. The official description tells the perfect amount:

“Kelsey Edmundson is a geek and proud of it. She makes no secret of her love for TV, movies, and, most especially, books. After a bad breakup, she retreats into her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, wishing she had some of the wit and spirit of Elizabeth Bennett.

One night at a party Kelsey meets handsome Australian bartender Mark Barnes. From then on, she always seems to run into him when she least expects it. No matter how Kelsey tries, she always seems to say the wrong thing.

After a particularly gaffe-filled evening around Mark, Kelsey is in desperate need of inspiration from Jane Austen. She falls asleep reading Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar place that looks and sounds suspiciously like her favorite book. Has she somehow been transported into Pride and Prejudice, or is it just a dream?

As Kelsey tries to discover what’s happening to her, she must also discover her own heart. Is Mark Barnes destined to be her Mr. Darcy? In the end, she must decide whether attempting to become Elizabeth is worth the risk or if being Kelsey Edmundson is enough.”

I was left with one question at the end, but I was able to answer it myself by opening my copy of Pride and Prejudice. I’m relieved to declare that all is still as it should be!

I’m sure I’ll be reading this again soon!

~

I’m counting this book toward the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (austenprose.com)

A Garden Folly (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Writer’s block has me reading at light speed!

Next up for review is another for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com.) I read a sample chapter of the following at the end of Desperate Measures, and I couldn’t resist adding it to my list:

A Garden Folly (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Catherine Forsythe lives with her sister and sweet aunt. Penniless, the ladies depend on the kindheartedness and, erhm, resourcefulness of their manservant, MacDougal. Having already sold most of their belongings to put food on the table, they are never sure whether they’ll be able to continue doing so.

All are thrilled when Aunt Hetty’s old friend, the Duchess of Carlisle, invites them to her annual summer house party at her estate in the country. Always the most sensible of the three, Catherine sees the invitation as the chance of a lifetime—surely either her beautiful sister or she will find a rich husband and save them from living in poverty!

Stephen, the eccentric Duke of Carlisle, is unhappy about his mother’s plans to hold her house party this year. Although he usually left Chissingworth during her August gathering, this year he could not accept an interruption to his project – the addition of a glass conservatory to the estate, where he does much of the work personally. Stephen insists that his mother tell her guests that he is not in residence so that he will be spared the need to socialize and can continue his work.

When Stephen literally runs into Catherine while she admires his plantings, he finds there is indeed one guest he’d actually enjoy spending time with, especially since she does not recognize him as the duke and assumes he is the estate’s gardener instead. In order to continue hiding from the other guests, he uses his first two names when introducing himself, leaving off the rest which would identify him as the duke—and the charade begins!

A Garden Folly is an engaging and amusing tale of mistaken identity and romance that I highly recommend to all! I’m very glad I decided to add this to my list.

Desperate Measures (A Regency Short Story)

My first read for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com), my choice is:

Desperate Measures (A Regency Short Story) by Candice Hern

Lydia Bettridge is in love, but the gentleman couldn’t possibly think of her that way. Lydia, her brother, and his friend come up with a plan to catch the unnamed gentleman’s attention. When the scheme goes awry, will she still be able to cause her heart’s desire to become jealous, or will she fail, leaving her miserable for all time?

If I had to choose one word to describe this short story, it would have to be “delicious.”  If you enjoy unrequited love stories, this short story is one you should not miss!

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

hosted by Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose.com

2013 is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I’m joining the celebration at Austenprose.com.

Between January 1, through December 31, 2013, participants can read, listen to, or watch movie adaptations of Jane Austen’s novel, or choose from the multitude of variations, sequels, and re-tellings.

Really, this should be a breeze for fans of Pride and Prejudice, but since I’ve never participated in a reading challenge before this year, I’m going to start off slowly, choosing a participation level of Neophyte: 1 – 4 selections.

If you’d like to participate, head on over to Austenprose.com to sign up before  July 1, 2013.

Decisions, Decisions!

There are so many, I’m having a little trouble figuring out just which novels, movies, or audio books to use for the challenge!

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – not only am I reading it, but I’m typing the whole thing out on my website! Update: I’ve had a shoulder injury and can’t type for very long, so this is on hold. (I haven’t checked for typos yet, but I will eventually.) I have to save my typing time for my new story 😉
  2. Pride, Prejudice, and the Perfect Match by Marilyn BrantReview 1/19/13
  3. Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica GreyReview 1/26/13
  4. Loving Miss Darcy by Nancy KelleyReview 2/2/13
  5. One Thread Pulled by Diana J. OaksReview 2/17/13
  6. The Man Who Loved Jane AustenReview 4/26/13
  7. Yours Affectionately, Jane AustenReview 4/30/13
  8. I’ll be watching as many movie versions as I can lay my hands on.

I’ll update my list to include more as I read them.