Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Book Review: The Murder of Mr. Wickham

5 May

  • Title: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
  • Author: Claudia Gray
  • Genre: Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Austenesque
  • Publisher: ‎Vintage (May 3, 2022)
  • Length: (400) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-0593313817

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

MY IMPRESSIONS:

For Jane Austen fans, The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray is a must read. Not only because one of the most odious of all literary characters meets his end, but because Gray gives the reader a credible look at what might have happened to Austen’s main characters after the curtain is drawn on their stories. Gray explores the what-ifs of Darcy and Elizabeth, Fanny and Edmund, Emma and Knightley, Marianne and Colonel Brandon, Anne and Captain Wentworth, as well as two original characters in Juliet Tilney and Jonathan Darcy. While the murder mystery is interesting with sufficient twists, turns, and surprises, the beyond-the-wedding stuff is great. However, the most interesting character of all is Jonathan Darcy, eldest son of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. I won’t disclose too much, but he decidedly does not fit into the standards of Regency England. His characterization is fascinating, especially through a Regency lens. Gray keeps her writing style true to Austen’s too. You will feel you are right back in Highbury with all your favorites.

Clever imagining of the later lives of the Austen characters all with Mr. Wickham’s murder — what more could a Janeite want? 😉 The Murder of Mr. Wickham is a recommended read.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to AustenProse for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

First Line Friday — The Murder of Mr. Wickham

15 Apr

I am a sucker for Jane Austen knock-offs or variations, as they are often called. When I found out there was a murder mystery with Mr. Wickham as the victim, I said yes, please! Claudia Gray has included a number of Austen’s characters from across her novels in The Murder of Mr. Wickham , and I cannot wait!

Here’s the first line:

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Knightley of Donwell Abbey had been a surprise to those who knew them best and not in the least surprising to those who knew them hardly at all.

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst. 

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

Book Review: Jane And The Year Without A Summer

17 Feb

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.
 
Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.

Advance Praise

“Outstanding…Barron fans will hope Jane, who died in 1817, will be back for one more mystery.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“No one conjures Austen’s voice like Stephanie Barron, and Jane and the Year Without a Summer is utterly pitch-perfect.”— Deanna Raybourn, bestselling author of the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries

“…a page-turning story, imbued with fascinating historical detail, a cast of beautifully realized characters, a pitch-perfect Jane Austen, and an intriguing mystery. Highly recommended.”— Syrie James, bestselling author of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen 

Jane and the Year Without a Summer is absolute perfection. Stephanie Barron expertly weaves fact and fiction, crafting a story that is authentically Austen in its elegance, charm, and wit. The characters and setting will enchant you, and the mystery will keep you guessing to the last page. This Regency-set gem is truly a diamond of the first water.”— Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Siren of Sussex

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written twenty-five books, including five novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, and Death on Nantucket) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the penname, Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | BOOKBUB |

GOODREADS

My Impressions:

It has been a while since I have read one of Stephanie Barron’s Regency mysteries featuring the intrepid Jane Austen as primary sleuth. What have I been waiting for? After reading Jane And The Year Without A Summer I have now successfully added many more books to my towering TBR pile. This mystery is excellent. The book finds Jane in her final years of life. Not a spoiler — anyone can read her biography. Feeling unwell, she and her sister Cassandra journey to the spa town of Cheltenham to take the waters. Upon taking rooms at a boarding house, Jane is privy to all kinds of inside knowledge about her fellow lodgers. With her keen observations, along with the help of a former acquaintance, Jane finds out whodunit. Barron really does capture Austen. The book is told in Jane’s first person voice and contains many of the phrases and references that Austen-philes will recognize. The culture of the watering hole of the day, with its visits to the theater, pump rooms, and assembly room is spot on. I felt like I was on the streets and in the sitting rooms of early 1880s England. The mystery kept me guessing until the end. It was a real treat to read a book that combines excellent storytelling with a credible portrayal of a beloved author. The book is a bit poignant for fans of Barron and Austen — it is evident that Jane’s adventures in crime-solving may soon come to an end. But with all the books I have yet to read, I know that I have many more pleasurable hours ahead of me.

Barron does Jane Austen justice — any one who loves Austen and the many variations of her works will enjoy Jane And The Year Without A Summer. I loved it and heartily recommend it!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the publisher for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Books That Made Me Laugh

23 Feb

Happy Tuesday! This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud. Are you in the mood for a good laugh, a chuckle, a snicker, or a guffaw? Then I have a list of books for you! I’m not sure any of the books can be labeled humor, but they have elements that are just plain funny. What I love about them is their balance — a good story that provides insight with enough levity to even out the hard things of life. I laughed out loud (and sometimes cried) while reading these books because of quirky characters or the predicaments that characters find themselves in. I hope you get a good laugh and a great reading experience from them.

 

For more funny books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books That Made Me Laugh

 

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee

The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

 

For The Love of Joy by Janet Ferguson

The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher

On A Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

 

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

 

What book has made you LOL?

Book Review + Giveaway! — Darcy by Any Other Name

10 Oct

About The Book

Book: Darcy by Any Other Name

Author: Laura Hile

Genre: Historical Christian Romance, Regency

Release Date: May 13, 2016

Discover the Pride and Prejudice body-swap romance that has readers laughing in surprise and delight.

For most, this is a glorious evening of music and dancing. But out in the garden two men are arguing, while a ferocious rainstorm swirls round. And then the unthinkable happens: a lightning bolt from heaven strikes. In that instant everything changes.

Jane Austen’s heartthrob hero becomes the bumbling Reverend Collins. Shorn of his fortune, his social standing, and his good looks, Mr. Darcy is trapped in Mr. Collins’ body. And Mr. Collins wakes up to discover that he is master of Pemberley.

Could there be anything worse?

But the inner man is still Darcy. He is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. And now he is living in her house.

If you enjoy a smart, sparkling Regency romp in the classic “Heyeresque” style, then you will love Laura Hile’s Darcy By Any Other Name.

Click here to get your copy.

My Impressions:

What a fabulously fun book! Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile is a unique reimagining of Pride And Prejudice. This twist on the classic combines all of the Austen-goodness with a Freaky Friday vibe. The premise is that through a freak act of nature, or more likely the workings of God, the handsome, aloof and arrogant Mr. Darcy trades bodies with odious Mr. Collins. For fans of P&P, the action begins at the end of the Netherfield ball. There is quite an adjustment for both men as they navigate the other’s world. More focus is placed on Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett’s relationship. Will a happily-ever-after occur for them? You will just have to read it. The book is faithful to the original in its setting and characterization. Everyone shows up — Caroline and Charles Bingley, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Wickham, Lady Catherine, Georgiana, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Yet there are plenty of twists and turns to make this novel a fresh read. I found the book charming and at times laugh-out-loud funny. Hile injects a faith message that is spot on. Darcy is forced to view his former attitudes in the light of his current circumstances. Humility and care for others takes precedence over social status and Regency manners. At one point Darcy realizes that “when God did a thing  . . . He was frighteningly thorough”.

I am a big Austen fan and enjoy the variations that have been written featuring all of her novels. Darcy by Any Other Name is now at the top of my favorite re-tellings.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author and Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

My journey as a writer began with the Internet. And with Jane Austen.

How is that for an unlikely combination?

I have always loved classic Regency romances. You know the kind – with a dashing, honorable hero and a lovely, intelligent heroine. Delicious banter, unexpected plot twists, humor, and a happy ending. If faith is woven into the story, so much the better.

When I discovered an online forum for Jane Austen-related fiction, I was hooked. With Jane’s characters for inspiration, I began writing and posting serialized Regency stories. To keep readers coming back for more, I developed my signature style: intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor.

The comedy I come by in my job as a middle school teacher—there’s never a dull moment with teens!

I live in Beaverton, Oregon with my husband.

More from Laura

I see that double-take you just did. Darcy By Any Other Name is a what? A Pride and Prejudice body-swap romance? Seriously?

Indeed yes. And it’s a really fun read. I blame my sense of humor. And the fact that I think too much.

Here’s the thing: we women are captivated by Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy—we are! Handsome, aloof, and wealthy, he embodies the perfect male. By comparison, the ordinary guy has no chance. (And heaven help the fellow who is plain!)

Yet we know that attraction involves more than good looks and a fat wallet.

I began to play with this thought. Because Mr. Darcy is also honorable, intelligent, kind, and funny—qualities that transform an ugly man and capture a woman’s interest. The shared smile, the twinkle in the eyes, the finishing of her sentences. These are endearing! These are why we women fall in love!

Once the body swap idea showed up, I knew I had struck story gold. Will Darcy-as-Collins capture Elizabeth Bennet’s heart?

No, wait! She cannot fall for him because he’s the wrong man—no, the right man! But he’s in that podgy body! She cannot love Mr. Darcy when he’s—ugly! Can she?

Ah, but of course she can. Now what?

Think of Darcy By Any Other Name as a happy roller coaster ride. And you know what they say about those: “Get in, sit down, and hold on.”

Do leave a comment and enter the giveaway. I think you will enjoy this fun, romantic book.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

A Baker’s Perspective, October 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 1

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 2

For Him and My Family, October 2

Back Porch Reads, October 3

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 4

Mary Hake, October 4

Remembrancy, October 5

Emily Yager, October 5

Bigreadersite, October 6

Rebecca Tews, October 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray, October 8

Creating Romance, October 8

Blossoms and Blessings, October 9

janicesbookreviews, October 9

By The Book, October 10

Moments, October 11

Pause for Tales, October 11

Texas Book-aholic, October 12

A Reader’s Brain, October 12

Inklings and notions , October 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the HERE to enter.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — From Page to Screen

14 May

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Page to Screen freebie. I was surprised I could actually come up with a halfway decent post since I am notoriously against watching movies that have been made from books. They are almost always disappointing. I really didn’t want my whole post to be negative, but I was surprised that I could come up with more movies that got it right than those that got it wrong. This is probably due to my motto — don’t watch movies that have been adapted from beloved books. Anyway, I hope you find a movie to watch or a book to read from my list.

For more Page to Screen posts, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

From Page To Screen

 

Movies that got it right!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I like Samantha Morton almost as much as Ciaran Hinds (see Persuasion below), and her portrayal of Jane is spot-on. For some brooding Bronte, this movie is a great start.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I recently went to a flashback cinema screening of the iconic Gregory Peck movie. I noticed a few things that were different from the novel, but not enough to make a real impression or to throw me off. Both book and movie are classics.

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen. Widely known as the Colin Firth adaptation, the BBC 6-episode mini-series got everything right. But if all books were treated to 6+ hours of screen time, they might all be winners. Anyway, I love this movie and the book.

Persuasion by Jane Austen. While only the standard 2-ish hours long, the movie with Ciaran Hinds is very faithful to the novel. This is my favorite Austen book and my favorite Austen movie.

Movies that got it mostly right.

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. My book club screened this movie when it finally released on Netflix last summer. There were some things we hated that they changed, but I think they got the spirit of the movie mostly right. And book Dawsy and movie Dawsy are both wonderful!

Bride And Prejudice loosely adapted from Jane Austen. I admit this movie is not faithful to the book, but OMG is it fun! The over-the-top Bollywood look at Austen’s classic will have even the purest of purists tapping their toes and humming along. If you haven’t seen this movie, you need to. 😉

 

Movies that got it oh-so wrong!

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I was so excited to watch my very favorite book in all the world as a movie. It started out really well and I was singing its praises . . .  until the end. They changed the end!! Don’t watch the movie. Read. The. Book!

“A piece of perfect storytelling.” — Robert Louis Stevenson. First published in 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo remains one of literature’s greatest adventures. Based on actual events, this sweeping historical romance, considered to be Dumas’ finest work, recounts the story of Edmond Dantès, a gallant young sailor whose life takes a bitter turn when, during the final days of Napoleon’s reign, he is falsely accused of treason and condemned to lifelong imprisonment. After languishing for many years in a fetid dungeon, he makes his dramatic escape. In a labyrinthine tale plump with themes of justice, vengeance, lost love, and mercy and forgiveness, Dantès is now free to play out his elaborate plans of revenge on those who betrayed him.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Because its my list, and so many movies have been made from this book, I can include it in all 3 categories. If you only have one choice: watch the movie with Greer Garson and Sir Laurance Olivier or read the book —  Read. The. Book! This movie got everything wrong. From the costumes to the portrayal of Lady Catherine De Bourgh — wrong, wrong, wrong!

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Though Austen set the story at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books.”

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin. I have to confess that I did not watch this movie. I was waiting for friends to see it and tell me if it would rival the greatness of the book. No such luck. One of my friends said the only things similar were the title and the place crash. Such a shame, because the book is a must-read.

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport.  Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding.  Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day.   When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection.   And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently.   And then the unthinkable happens.  The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness– one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

Ben, who has broken ribs and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with an incredibly harrowing battle to survive.   Fortunately, Ben is a medical professional and avid climber (and in a lucky break, has his gear from a climb earlier in the week).  With little hope for rescue, he must nurse Ashley back to health and figure out how they are going to get off the mountain, where the temperature hovers in the teens.   Meanwhile, Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well.  He explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder reflecting on their love affair.  As Ashley eavesdrops on Ben’s tender words to his estranged wife she comes to fear that when it comes to her own love story, she’s just settling.  And what’s more: she begins to realize that the man she is really attracted to, the man she may love, is Ben.

As the days on the mountains become weeks, their survival become increasingly perilous.  How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever?

Both a tender and page-turning read, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.

 

Which movie adaptation did you love (or love to hate)?

 

Book Review: Austen in Austin, Volume 1

30 May

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love — Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:

If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.

Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.

Gina Welborn writes lighthearted historicals featuring spunky heroines and wild-at-heart heroes.She can be contacted via her website http://www.ginawelborn.com.

Anita Mae Draper’s historical romances are woven under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yields fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Discover more at:
Website – http://www.anitamaedraper.com
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/anitamaedraper/

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances. You can visit her on her website, http://www.susannedietze.com, and sign up for her newsletter for an occasional cheery hello: http://eepurl.com/bieza5

Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, Debra E. Marvin has rather normal obsessions such as fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas, and whatever mystery series she’s currently stuck on.

debraemarvin.com
Inkwell Inspirations Blog, Colonial Quills Blog
Pinterest @debraemarvin
Facebook debra e marvin
Instagram Debra E Marvin… you get the drift. She’s not hard to find!

 

My Impressions:

Austen in Austin, volume 1, is a fun take on classic Jane Austen stories with the sass and swagger of Texas in the 1880s. With a definite American twist, the four novellas focus on the love stories that make Austen a favorite with romance fans. All four novellas have the fresh voice of their respective authors, but contain a central thread that unites them. While many characters make repeat appearances, Mrs. Collins, the headmistress of the Jeanette C. Austen Academy for Women located in Austin Abbey, provides a great unifying influence. While the stories use the original novels as a framework, they include fun additions and unique takes. There are cowboys, ranchers, and railroad men, along with the women who add sweetness, elegance, and romance to the hill country town. I love Austen variations, and Austen in Austin is a wonderful addition to my Austen-esque library. The original novels given a remix are Emma, Sense And Sensibility, Pride And Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey. Readers in the know easily see the Austen influence, but each novella presents a new story to enjoy. A big plus in this series is the faith thread that runs throughout the book. The characters’ dependance on God is a welcome addition.  It’s hard to pick a favorite of the four (all are great), but I have to say that Alarmingly Charming was great fun. Northanger Abbey is my least favorite of Austen’s works, but this novella made me want to revisit the tongue-in-cheek gothic.

There’s so much reading fun in Austen in Austin, volume 1, that I am glad there’s a volume 2! I can’t wait to travel back in time to Austin and Austen!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE. It’s currently 99 cents for Kindle!

(Thanks to WhiteFire publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review (+Giveaway!): Presumption And Partiality

7 May

About the Book

Title: Presumption and Partiality

Author: Rebekah Jones

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release Date: November 27, 2017

Among the cotton fields and farmland of Gilbert, Arizona in the early years of the Great Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey live a simple, but happy life with their five daughters on a cotton farm. When the wealthy Richard Buchanan moves to town, bringing his family, a friend, and a desire to learn about cotton, Matilda Bailey is convinced that he is the perfect candidate to marry her eldest daughter, Alice.

Richard is cheerful, friendly, and likable. His friend Sidney Dennison doesn’t make such a good impression. Eloise Bailey decides he’s arrogant and self-conceited, but when Raymond Wolfe comes to town, accusing Sidney of dishonorable and treacherous conduct, Eloise is angered at the injustice of the situation.

When the Buchanan household leaves town, Alice must turn to the Lord and face, perhaps, her most difficult test in trust, while Eloise takes a trip to visit her friend and may well discover a web of deceit that she doesn’t really want to believe exists.

Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories. Her goal is to write Bible-Centered, Christian Literature; books rich with interesting characters, intricate story lines, and always with the Word of God at the center. Besides writing, she is an avid reader, songwriter, pianist, singer, artist, and history student. She also loves children. She lives with her family in the Southwestern desert.

Guest Post from Rebekah Jones

Why is he a Navajo?

I’ve had more than one person ask me why I chose to make Sidney Dennison, the “Mr. Darcy” of my novel Presumption and Partiality, a Navajo Indian.

When I commenced planning and research for placing a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in the 1930’s United States, I found myself drawn to the desert of Arizona rather early on. Specifically, the tiny farm town of Gilbert. I knew, however, that few rich people lived in that area; certainly not enough to create social rifts large enough to recreate the social differences of the original novel.

I experimented in my head with a few different ideas, but the idea of Sidney as a Native American came to me one day and just clicked. I knew that I couldn’t fully pull off a Navajo who lived on the reservations. As much as I researched, I couldn’t quite get the feel. Yet, a man whose ancestry included a white man as a grandfather, who lived outside the reservations, though with relatives who clung to some of the old traditions, I thought I could do.

I used to wish I were an Indian, in part because I wanted to have great tracking skills, live in a tee-pee, possess superb bow and arrow abilities, and I wanted to ride a horse. True, most of that did not enter a 1930’s novel, despite my Navajo cowboy, because the eras are different. Though, Sidney did get a horse. Or technically, several.

Further, something about the silent, good-looking Indian appealed to me, much as I tend to shy away from writing about handsome and beautiful people, since they feel so common in fiction. The minute I began imagining the man with his Navajo ancestry, he just felt perfect.

By the end, Sidney turned out to be one of my favorite characters. (I can’t ever pick just one in my novels.) I think I made a good choice and I hope my readers will agree!

My Impressions:

For fans of Jane Austen, particularly Pride And Prejudice, Presumption And Partiality will make a welcome addition to their libraries. This retelling of the beloved Austen classic follows closely to the original story, yet has its own unique twist. The setting is Depression-era Arizona and the Bailey family is the center of the story. As with the original, this novel has all the twists and turns and family meddling in the love lives of Alice (Jane) and Richard (Bingley) and Eloise (Elizabeth) and Sidney (Mr. Darcy). Jones presents her own fresh voice through the addition of historical details, the introduction of the Navajo-angle, and the tweaking of some of the characters. The Wolfe/Wickham character is despicable, but there is some reformation presented. Other secondary characters follow the Austen formula, but are not so over-the-top as in the original. Presumption And Partiality presents a strong faith message — the characters’ lives reflect a dedication to God through prayer, worship, and service to others. This element will appeal to inspirational fiction fans.

Overall, I liked Presumption And Partiality and look forward to reading other volumes in the Vintage Jane Austen collection.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 24

red headed book lady, April 24

Reading Is My SuperPower, April 25

Seasons of Opportunities, April 25

Karen Sue Hadley, April 25

Just the Write Escape, April 26

Remembrancy, April 26

Two Points of Interest, April 27

Views from the Window Friend, April 27

margaret kazmierczak, April 27

Bibliophile Reviews, April 28

Inklings and notions, April 28

History, Mystery & Faith, April 29

Mary Hake, April 29

proud to be an autism mom, April 30

A Greater Yes, April 30

Fiction Aficionado, April 30

Among the Reads, May 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 1

Janices book reviews, May 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 2

Carpe Diem, May 3

A Baker’s Perspective, May 3

Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes, May 4

With a Joyful Noise, May 4

Have A Wonderful Day, May 4

Pause for Tales, May 5

Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Pursuing Stacie , May 6

Bigreadersite, May 6

Faery Tales Are Real, May 7

By The Book, May 7

Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 7

 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rebekah is giving away a grand prize of the complete set of the Vintage Jane Austen Collection!!

Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

https://promosimple.com/ps/cc8f

 

First Line Friday — Presumption And Partiality

4 May

I love Austen variations! So today I am sharing volume 5 in the Vintage Jane Austen collection, Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones. This novel is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but set in Depression-era Arizona. If you are a fan of Austen, especially P&P, check it out! But first, comment with the first line of the book closest to you. Happy Friday!

 

Make sure to visit Hoarding Books to check out other great first lines. It is a wonderful way to discover new authors and books.

 

Among the cotton fields and farmland of Gilbert, Arizona in the early years of the Great Depression, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey live a simple, but happy life with their five daughters on a cotton farm. When the wealthy Richard Buchanan moves to town, bringing his family, a friend, and a desire to learn about cotton, Matilda Bailey is convinced that he is the perfect candidate to marry her eldest daughter, Alice. Richard is cheerful, friendly, and likable. His friend Sidney Dennison doesn’t make such a good impression. Eloise Bailey decides he’s arrogant and self-conceited, but when Raymond Wolfe comes to town, accusing Sidney of dishonorable and treacherous conduct, Eloise is angered at the injustice of the situation. When the Buchanan household leaves town, Alice must turn to the Lord and face, perhaps, her most difficult test in trust, while Eloise takes a trip to visit her friend and may well discover a web of deceit that she doesn’t really want to believe exists.

Rebekah Jones is a mystery author, as well as the writer of children’s books. She is a born again Christian and works to let her books reflect her worldview. Besides being an avid reader, she is also a songwriter, pianist, artist, and history student, as well as a homemaker-in-training. She lives with her family in the Southwestern Desert.

 

First Line Friday — The Christmas Edition!

22 Dec

Only 3 days to Christmas! Yay! I hope you have all your shopping/baking/etc. done so that you can relax with family and friends and maybe a good book! Still have a frenzied to-do list? Consider downloading an audiobook to accompany you on your errands and chores. It just might bring the stress level down.

The folks at Hoarding Books are featuring Christmas on this First Line Friday. I have chosen a book that combines a lot of what I love — Christmas, Jane Austen, and mystery. I am looking forward to cracking open Jane And The Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron and getting lost in a Regency mystery. To find out what Christmas books other bloggers are sharing, click HERE.

Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful murder mystery set over the twelve days of a Regency-Era Christmas party.

Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood: Mansfield Park is selling nicely; Napoleon has been banished to Elba; British forces have seized Washington, DC; and on Christmas Eve, John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent, which will end a war nobody in England really wanted.
 
Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane’s fellow snow-bound guests. With clues scattered amidst cleverly crafted charades, dark secrets coming to light during parlor games, and old friendships returning to haunt the Christmas parties, whom can Jane trust to help her discover the truth and stop the killer from striking again?

 

What is the first line of your Christmas read?