Ingrid Hahn, Author of To Win a Lady’s Heart
Ingrid Hahn’s flagship novel “To Win a Lady’s Hand” marks the ushering of a new entourage of talented newbie authors hitting book shelves.
To Win a Lady’s Heart is a sweet romance with lots of angst and an almost near missed in the happily-ever-after category. Don’t be fooled by her poetic prose, yet clever storytelling ability and character development techniques as Hahn’s words and story pulls you along with the suffering hero and heroine, page after page wondering, hoping, praying that these two will defeat the pressures of society and find their way back to each other.
I was reminded of New York Times bestseller, Amanda Quick. This young author is someone to watch out for. Can’t wait for her next book.
Hetty St. James, Author of Bertie’s Golden Treasure
The story begins with Bertie attending a fair with her siblings. She soon gets into the excitement of the fair and has her fortune told by a gypsy―a promise of a golden treasure in her future. She is joined by her twin sister, Bessie and her brothers’ friends, including the one boy, Sean, she has secretly loved. Humiliated and disillusioned about her love over a prank played by them, including Sean, Bertie is heartbroken and humiliated.
Five years pass and Bertie has not seen Sean since that fateful day. She is now on her way to London for her introduction into society. In London, Bertie fails miserably in her attempt to enter into society. Once again, humiliated she begs to go back home, vowing to never leave home again or marry.
Bertie’s Golden Treasure is a wonderful story for the young and old at heart in that not only is the reader reminded the importance of young love but it teaches all that forgiveness is necessary in order to receive that promised treasure. The story is told from Bertie’s perspective and though the hero does not come back till nearly the end, his appearance is worth the wait.
St. James beautifully creates a character and a fictional world that you can sympathize with, while appreciating the historical accuracies and pressures placed by society on a young woman, in this case the regency period.
This is a great book for a young teenage girl starting out reading romance novels. For a copy of Bertie’s Golden Treasure, please visit Bertie’s Golden Treasure – Hetty St. James.
I hope you enjoy!
As a descendant of Morgan Le Fay, Tatiana Vallentyn, the seventh child of the seven with child is expecting her seventh child. Prophecy predicts that her seventh child will be a girl and that she stands to inherit the greatest magical power among all of the Vallen clan.
Upon finding out the infant she has just delivered is a boy, Tatiana tries to kill him. It is only through succumbing to her husband’s pleas that she lets the boy live.
Tatiana curses the child to the forest where he grows into a young man. There are moments of frustration for our hero, Morgan, who grows more and more impatient waiting for the day he fulfills his destiny to become the most powerful of all Vallens.
Ms. Bond’s character development of Tatiana is extraordinary and while some may argue that such a character is so unbelievable, because of her intense hatred of her child, the truth is that such evil does exist. Tatiana is incapable of loving, even her other children suffer as she barely tolerates them. She is driven by magic and status.
Tatiana’s ambition is a part of Ms. Bond’s plot, as Tatiana hopes to marry her son, Lord Vallentyn to a young lady of good standing and one that would assist him in his career in politics, as our heroine, Adriana Hayden, finds out early in the story. Adriana is under her uncle’s guardianship. Hers is an unhappy life as she struggles to nurture her artistic abilities, much to her uncle’s chagrin. She is eventually threatened to have her art destroyed should she not marry Lord Vallentyn. Ms. Bond’s heroine is sweet and innocent―quite the opposite characteristics of her antagonist.
Magic in the Storm moves fast and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Ms. Bond cleverly adds real literary and historical characters to her story, as is the case with Lord Byron, who turns out to be another member of the Vallen clan and helps the hero and heroine in their journey. The story is well written and she succeeds in creating a world full of magic with characters you can either love or just plain hate with a touch of fear. For a copy of Magic in The Storm, please visit Magic In the Storm – Meredith Bond.
My first romance novel was a Harlequin Romance, I was in high school. For me the experience was a rite of passage―a transition that introduced me into a fictional world where the heroine always overcame obstacles and found true love in the process.
This journey led me to discover other romance writers and the eventual desire to become a romance writer.
When I first met Ms. Duncan at the Washington Romance Writers retreat of 2012, I felt as if I had met Harlequin royalty. She was gracious in spirit and friendliness―unaffected by the status of her success. She brought back memories of all of the Harlequins I had devoured since my teenage years.
She also reminded me of why I believe Harlequin Romances could be pivotal in a young girl’s life as she experiences the beginning pangs of first love. These Romances hold intrigue and magic in the struggles of relationships, while overcoming obstacles standing in the way of all that encompasses love and honor.
In Rodeo Daughter, Ms. Duncan brings to the forefront a realistic point of view of the affects of coming from a dysfunctional home and how these experiences affect us as we reach adulthood. Duncan’s heroine is Amanda Markette, a former rodeo star. But, because of her painful childhood she gives up her rodeo career to become a family law attorney. Like Cassiel, a divine angel, she takes it upon herself to become protector of the children who come from these homes.
When she runs into her former lover, old feelings come back for both of them. But when she is hired by her former lover’s ex-wife she stifles her feelings for the sake of the child, who is believed to being abused by him. Amanda’s still unresolved issues and prejudice against the people who reminded her of her parents almost costs her, her happiness as well as placing Hailey in danger by winning a temporary custody suit against Mitch.
Duncan’s antagonists are not only Amanda’s emotional baggage, but Mitch’s ex-wife, who Duncan brilliantly and surprisingly gives her, her own road to redemption. It was refreshing to see the changes Mitch’s ex-wife goes through.
The book is well written and Duncan’s story-telling techniques superbly evoke feelings of anger, sadness and frustration against the heroine’s father, the system who sets out to protect these children and the unfit mother (who is the female version of the heroine’s father) fighting for custody of Hailey. It is my believe that a good book, is a well written story that gives the reader food for thought and/or evoke such strong emotions. Duncan’s Rodeo Daughter has it all.
I may have said a lot about the plot of the story, but remember, if you have not read the book then you have not truly experienced the wonderful worlds and stories created by these talented women. For a copy of Rodeo Daughter, please visit Rodeo Daughter – Leigh Duncan.
If you have a daughter, niece or granddaughter coming of age who is interested in reading romance novels, I recommend you guide them to Harlequin’s “Love Inspired Historical” or “Historical”.
Congrats to Ms. Duncan on her fourth book, Rancher’s Son for hitting #1 in Kindle sales of all Harlequin Americans. She just signed a contract for 4 more Harlequin Americans, including the one she just turned in, Major League Dad. The next three of her books will return to the Circle P, the setting for Rancher’s Son. All four of them are slated for release in 2014.
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Ms. Monica Fairview’s The Other Mr. Darcy, is a well written, and thought-provoking story of one of Jane Austen’s beloved but yet very much loathed character, Miss Caroline Bingley of Pride and Prejudice. In The Other Mr. Darcy, Caroline Bingley, not only gets her own story, but is redeemed of her past sins against Elizabeth Bennet and her family, and gets her own happy ending.
Ms. Fairview’s story takes place right after the wedding of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Caroline is besieged with grief over having lost him and seeks solace in a private room where she breaks down. It is here that you begin to see a subtle change in Caroline as we perhaps begin to wonder if we had misunderstood the young woman who acted poorly because of her love for Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Ms. Fairview paints Caroline’s pain like the bold color of red on a canvas― “…Then with a wrench, something tore in her bosom―her chest―and she finally understood the expression that everyone used but that she had always considered distinctly vulgar. Her heart was breaking…she was heartbroken. Her Mr. Darcy had married that very morning…He had preferred Elizabeth Bennet.” You can’t help but feel her pain and yes, feel sorry for her. Perhaps it is here that Caroline begins her transformation from the mean spirited and selfish young woman we all have come to know to the humble, gentle and caring young woman that Elizabeth Darcy gladly comes to call sister.
As the reader is privy to Caroline’s pain, they soon find out that, a gentleman had also watched Ms. Bingley during her breakdown. Respecting her privacy he does not make his presence known until he is discovered by Ms. Bingley. Apologetic the gentleman admits his error. Still he bares her scorn like a gentleman. Later much to Caroline’s disgrace, she discovers that the gentleman who saw her bare her soul is Mr. Darcy’s American cousin, Mr. Robert Darcy.
Robert Darcy is the total complete opposite of his English cousin. Where Mr. Darcy is proud and stiff, Robert is carefree, jovial and does not stand on ceremony, however, he is a complete gentleman very much like his cousin. He comes to Caroline’s aid when she is compromised and pretends to be engaged with her.
The book is well written, and the dialogue is witty and refreshing. I love the conversations between Caroline and Robert. Robert Darcy’s Americanization gives him the ability to keep with Caroline’s stuffiness and often demeaning barb.
Ms. Fairview introduces a pair of thieves and brings a justifiable end to Mr. Wickham. The introduction of these characters were unexpected surprises and while I felt they were not really needed, they were however, very entertaining and as I said it added an element of surprise making the story more refreshing and one of a kind. The authoress captures the other characters of Pride and Prejudice true to form. I found myself wishing many times over, “if only I could smack Lydia Wickham, oh, how I wish I could.”
In the end Caroline learns the value of friendship and family and comes to respect the Bennets and see the error of her ways. She is redeemed and it is through this redemption that she is finally able to find happiness with the other Mr. Darcy.
I could go on and on, on the positive attributes, which are many, in the novel, but then I would be giving away a lot more than I already have. And well you are just going to have to get your own copy, definitely worth keeping a copy in your library. Having read The Other Miss Bennet by Ms. Patrice Sarath, Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson’s, Charlotte Collin by Jennifer Becton, and finally Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd, I have become a believer of sequels from Jane Austen’s beloved stories. Enjoy!
For a copy of The Other Mr. Darcy, please visit Other Mr. Darcy – Monica Fairview.
Book review coming soon…
To get a copy, please visit: Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion – Regina Jeffers
Book review coming soon…
Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta
Book review coming soon…
In her novel, Lady’s Wager, Georgie Lee wages a war of the hearts between her hero and heroine in their struggle with trust, especially in a society where finding love was considered a luxury that many could not afford, for marriages of convenience was common and detrimental to women of good fortune. Lee takes it further by introducing a hero who is rich, but pretends to be poor so that he can find a woman who would love him for himself and not his fortune.
The story begins with a reminder to the reader on the constrictions society places on women during the Georgian/Regency period. Her heroine Charlotte Stuart is getting ready for a soiree where the guests are apothecaries. Members of the hospital Charlotte is trying to raise money for. Her aunt Mary gently reprimands her, “Had I known you intended to entertain apothecaries, I never would have sent the invitation…You said you wished to host a small soiree. I was so happy to see you finally showing an interest in proper society.” Charlotte ignores the slight comment about conformity. She is clearly a young woman of tomorrow and refuses to settle just because society deems it.
Victoria Lynn Schmidt (Author, 45 Master Characters), uses Artemis, to explore the Amazon. The Amazon is a feminist, who values her independence and believes in fighting for the underdog. In Schmidt’s book the underdog for the Amazonian are the women and children who need her protection.
Lee’s heroine falls into the Amazonian archetype in that Charlotte stands up for her causes, isn’t afraid to go against social norms and is self-sufficient. In Lady’s Wager, the underdogs and Charlotte’s causes were the hospitals lacking funds in order to have the appropriate medicines and technology needed to help its patients. In her travels, she always managed to find a hospital to help.
While this may be an admirable trait of Charlotte’s, she has her flaws as well. According to Schmidt the Amazonian while having many assets, also has flaws, she “can be very opinionated and thickheaded, and puts on blinders; everything but the goal at hand is forgotten” to list a few (Schmidt 37).
Lord Woodcliff, Lee’s hero is just as flawed―claiming to being a pauper when he truly is not. He distrusts the women of his society, for marriage was often seen as a way of making prosperous connections―connections, which often included the acquisition of a title and/or fortune. It was refreshing to see a man go through some of the angst women faced during the Georgian period.
The story is well written and while the dialect is simple, don’t let that fool you into thinking it is not a story worth reading. Simple prose can often be as beautiful as a love sonnet. Lady’s Wager is a sweet story about trust and love and realizing that with the right partner you can have both during a time when marrying for love was rare.
I hope you have enjoyed the review. For a copy of Ms. Lee’s Lady’s Wager, please visit Amazon.com.
According to Miss Klassen, The Girl in the Gatehouse is “…something of a subtle ode to Jane (Austen), while having romance, mystery…” The “subtle ode” comes in the form of the heroine having to hide her passion for writing and society’s expectation of what a young woman’s role during Regency period should be. But, unlike any of Jane Austen’s depicted heroines, Miss Mariah Aubrey is not the conventional maiden, as a matter of fact, she is not a maiden, having believed herself in love and fooled into thinking that she would be married to the man she loves she gives herself to him in a moment of passion.
Her father believing that novels were to blame for her romantic notions and eventual downfall banishes her to live with an aunt in Whitmore. Like Jane Austen Miss Aubrey hopes to supplement the small income her father provides through her writing. And like female authors of that period, Mariah struggles with keeping her identity a secret.
Throughout the entire novel Mariah spends it in angst over her mistake, but never so that she cannot help others in need or solve the mystery surrounding her and her new friends.
Klassen’s hero, Captain Matthew Bryant, is flawed in many ways. He sought fortune, prestige and property in the hopes of impressing the young lady who jilted him because her father did not think him good enough to marry his daughter. Bryant hopes that this time around since he possesses the qualities important to win the woman he loves, that he would succeed. However, these qualities are all of the materialistic kind, that is not to say he does not possess the qualities important to the makings of a hero for he is kind, brave, honest and loyal, indeed, but misguided nonetheless.
In their quest for love both Mariah and Captain Bryant alienate themselves from their families. The story moves slowly, but not in a way that distracts, if anything you are pulled into the reality of characters’ plight and their fictional world.
Miss Klassen’s novel is a sweet and touching story about making mistakes and forgiving oneself before forgiving others. We are human and to err is indeed a human trait and to forgive ourselves is being able to step above that humanity and achieve divinity. In forgiving ourselves we then forgive others leading us to find the peace and happiness that we deserve. It is not often we can read a story and walk away with such thought provoking ideals.
There are plenty of characters throughout the novel and because of her talent for storytelling you can’t help but get caught up in their pain, struggles, economical status, needs, and hunger for love.
While Miss Klassen reminds us that Jane Austen’s heroines remain pure in virture and spirit, her Miss Aubrey remains pure in spirit and perhaps that is all that matters, especially in a society ridden with duplicity where its manners were concern.
The Girl in the Gatehouse is destined to become a classic and a must have for any personal library.
I truly hope you enjoyed the review. For a copy of Ms. Klassen’s book, please visit Girl in the Gatehouse – Julie Klassen.
Ms. Bolen’s “With his Lady’s Assistance” is a beautiful love story mixed with humor, murder, fact and fiction. Bolen uses a threat against the Prince Regent as her plot to thrust her hero and heroine together into an investigation that will take them from finding a killer to finding love. There is a brilliant element to the story as Bolen consistently mocks the social manners and peerage of the era—evident through the eyes of her hero.
Captain Jack Dryden is a spy for the British monarchy and the best according to his superiors. Bolen’s novel starts with him being called back home by the Prince Regent. Apparently he needs Dryden’s assistance in finding out who is trying to kill him. Jack being the son of a country squire is paired off with the eccentric Lady Daphne Chalmers as her phony fiance in order to gain access into the peerage and hopefully find the killer before he succeeds.
Lady Daphne Chalmers, the eldest of the Chalmers girls, is unlike any heroine you will find. She is smart, witty and unlike any of her fair sex, she can best any of her male counterparts. But because of her awkwardness and plainness she remains unwed, much to the chagrin of her family. So you can imagine their surprise and joy when they learn that their ugly duckling is suddenly with a fiancé, not only because they did not know she was being courted, but also because they felt it odd that anyone would be interested in her. Don’t get me wrong, Daphne was loved by her parents and sisters – they had just lost hope of her ever finding someone to love because of her oddity.
To Captain Dryden’s surprise Lady Daphne is as unconventional as they can get. He is thrown into one loop after another as the lady humorously develops story plots to further their investigation while often risking it. I found many of the humorous scenes between the two of them refreshing and excellently executed.
Lady Daphne’s peaceful world is thrown into chaos as she discovers her partner in the investigation is not only handsome, but a man of great integrity, patriotism and of high values. Both Captain Dryden and Lady Daphne are alike in that they hold their values high and the sacrifices they make are always for the benefit of another, unlike many of their peers.
When the Captain first meets Lady Daphne he is convinced of her plainness. He also learns through her cynicism her dislike of her own society as men and women are shown to be adulterous, gamblers and living at the moment with no consequence or thought for tomorrow. As a product of society Daphne is seen plain, tall, unkept and blind. But under Captain Dryden’s moral values and love, she begins to flourish and become a beauty. Bolen cleverly brings about her transformation through vivid prose from the hero’s perspective. I found it interesting that while Captain Dryden was of the world, he was naive to the ways of upper society, while Daphne was not of the world but was knowledgeable in the ways of the worlds. I found this role reversal refreshing.
From a reader’s perspective and one who usually likes reading from the point of view of the heroine, it took me a little to realize that I was reading mainly from the hero’s pov. However, because I was pulled in by the plot and plight of the main characters, I did not seem to mind at all. In the end I was glad not to have let my reading preferences ruin the opportunity to read the entire story.
Bolen is a masterful storyteller who brings us enchanting love stories that offer fresh outlooks on love, while combing humor and mystery. In “With his Lady’s Assistance” she brilliantly creates a world true to the manners, language, fashions and social etiquette’s of the period, while simultaneously introducing people who were very much alive at the time and the morals that were either upheld by a few and lost by many.
Please do not wait to get your copy of “With his Lady’s Assistance” at With His Lady’s Assistance – Cheryl Bolen. I hope you enjoy!
Second Chances by Tess St. John
In “Second Chances” Tess St. John weaves a delightful tale about second chances; not only about love but redemption, as well.
Emma is rescued by Lord Easton, a man old enough to be her grandfather, from an abusive father. Marrying the sixteen year old he shocks English society, but he does not care. He needed a companion and Emma needed a haven. It was the perfect situation for both of them. The story starts with five years having passed and Lord Easton is on his deathbed, with Emma by his bedside.
Worried about Emma after he is gone, Lord Easton sends for his best friend, Harold Drake, the fifth Viscount Drake. As he is dying, Lord Easton asks Drake to marry Emma. Having recently lost his wife and raising a two-year old daughter with his mother’s help, Drake tells him he cannot make such a promise for he still loves his wife. But, he instead promises to watch over Emma and make sure her father keeps his distance.
Claiming that their marriage should be annulled, because it was never consummated, Emma’s father arrives with the support of Lord Easton’s sons, the now angry adult sons whose mother claimed Lord Easton had killed her child.
While St. John’s novel is heavily character driven, this is a good thing. The novel pulls in the reader into its world where the characters are humanized with faults and their eventual road to redemption with the exception of Drake and Emma who St. John purposefully felt did not required redemption, though one would argue that resolving their own issues; Drake to fall in love again and Emma to trust, someone else other than her husband; could be called redemption, but still not to be compared with the redemption of the minor characters.
Once the brothers realize that their mother had twisted the truth they are filled with regret for their treatment of Emma and side with her against her father and his claims. There is a sweet development in their relationships with Emma as they all align themselves as her champions. St. John goes further by introducing Drake’s sister-in-law, his deceased wife’s twin sister. At first I was annoyed at the possibility that she would be in competition for Drake’s affections, but instead I was pleasantly surprised when St. John reveals that their relationship is one of brotherly love.
Another pleasant surprise – St. John hints of a possible romance between Malcolm Westbourne, Lord Easton’s eldest and heir and Drake’s sister-in-law, Katherine Ashby. Joyfully and cleverly pulled off, they are given a few minutes of time throughout the novel as their relationship begins to develop. I did find out that St. John is having their story told in her next part of the “Second Chances Are” series – “A Chance for Freedom” coming out this year.
Character driven novels are usually considered taboo, unless of course you can pull it off and St. John is one of those writer’s that does it with finesse. The novel is true to the period, but told in a more modern dialect – which I am happy to say does not distract or take away from the story or period. Please do not wait to get your copy at Second Chances – Tess St. John. I hope you enjoy!
In Ms. Sarath’s “The Unexpected Miss Bennet” Mary Bennet gets her happy ending, but not before going through her own journey of self-alienation and then –discovery. Miss Bennet has often been portrayed as the least appealing of the Bennet girls.
Ms. Sarath’s Mary is quite plain, indeed, and because of her overzealous faith in God brings about her own self-alienation from her family and society ― like Jeremiah, who had peace with God, but was very lonely in the world; for in his day, very few people followed the Lord.
While it is assumed that the other key characters, with the exception of Lady de Bourgh, were Christians, none of their faiths were to the extent of those given to Mary Bennet’s character; whose consistent sermonizing and self-righteous attitude kept everyone at bay. Even Mr. Collins, a man of the cloth, who chooses to openly worship Lady de Bourgh more than God, himself, does not suffer from self-alienation, perhaps because he is focused more on a materialistic world and not a spiritual one.
“The Unexpected Miss Bennet” begins with Mrs. Bennet admitting to Jane that after getting Kitty married she would no longer have the energy to marry off Mary. That Mary will remain a comfort for her in her old age. For which then once she passes on, Jane would have to make herself responsible for her unmarried sister. Jane agrees and writes to Lizzy about her concerns for Mary. Lizzy designs a plan to have Mary stay with her for a while hoping to introduce her into society.
In the meantime, during a party Mary is playing the piano while a group danced when a young man comes by and asks her if she is not too tired of playing. In her usual manner, Mary responds ‘Music is the balm that comforts our soul,’ Mr. Aikens is unaffected by her comment, where as any other young man would have thought her strange. He tells her that he could never sit still long enough to do something over and over. He then invites her to dance and find out which one was more exhilarating, dancing or playing music. Mary is about to reply, when Maria Lucas intervenes, telling Mr. Aikens that ‘Mary doesn’t dance – if she did we would have no one to play…’ The young man is then forced to dance with Maria. Mary takes a moment from the keys of the piano to watch them dance.
In this scene we begin to see that this is the end of the Mary, we have grown to know, and a new Mary, who begins to question herself and faith, emerges. The piano no longer holds interest to Mary, nor do the sermons from Fordyce that once brought her comfort. Even days, after the party, Mary is still disturbed by her encounter with Mr. Aikens. Her lack in self-confidence and ardor for her faith in God had for a longtime given her a false sense of fulfillment, which she now begins to question.
Ms. Sarath elegantly begins Mary’s journey into self-discovery and eventual road from a plain girl to a pretty Bennet girl by using vivid imagery and well thought out contemplations from Mary about her life, her sisters’ lives as married women, marriage, loneliness and family. As Mary communes with nature and makes friends, she begins to change physically, emotionally and spiritually. Ms. Sarath is not saying that in order for Mary to have become pretty she needed to give up on her faith, but rather through self-discovery as a child of God and her desire to be find a happiness that had for so long eluded her, she becomes whole – hence a physical manifestation takes place. And it is through this wholeness, she succeeds freeing herself from her self-imposed prison. Hence, freeing herself not only to love, but to have a healthy relationship with God.
The author’s writing is filled with wonderful thoughts, emotions and vibrant characters, as she captures Jane Austen’s characters from Pride and Prejudice, almost as if her hand was being guided by none other than Ms. Austen herself. She keeps true to the language of the period and the angst felt by the women of that era on finding a husband, leading a life of loneliness or hoping that some relative would take pity on her and hence providing her with a home in her old age.
This story is sure to become a classic among Austen fans. There is more to the story including the hateful Lady de Bourgh and her daughter Anne. Even Mr. Darcy makes an appearance, but in order for me to tell more, it would no longer be a book review, but perhaps a dissertation. I mean that in the most respectful way, because Ms. Sarath raises a lot issues about the anxieties of a self-righteous society and its expectations, which I am pretty sure would make an excellent paper. Who knows I may be up to the challenge. I had initially download the Kindle version for this book, but after reading it, I thought my library merited a hard copy.
For a copy of Ms. Sarath’s The Unexpected Miss Bennet in Kindle form or paperback, please visit The Unexpected Miss Bennet – Patrice Sarath
Ms. Kennedy creates an enchanting world of magic to rival that of J.K. Rowlings’ The Harry Potter series. In this world she brilliantly combines Victorian period society and magic to create an imaginative world where the divisions among her characters are based on class structures; specifically, those with magic and those without. Among the ones without magic are the were-animals: people who have the ability to change into a specific animal at will. Were-animals are only allowed to have the title of Baron or Baroness and were immune to magic. To the magicals a were-animal, is considered the lowest of all classes and therefore, unthinkable for them to associate with and not to mention marry.
After Lady Felicity May Seymour’s parents die, she is taken in by her Aunt Gertrude and her husband, Uncle Oliver. They have one son, Ralph, who relentlessly tortures the poor girl with his magical tricks. Lady Seymour stands to inherit her family’s properties and the title of Duchess. That is if she can prove she possesses magic through a ceremonial function similar to being presented at court.
Sir Terence Blackwell, a were-animal, is friend and bodyguard to the Prince. The night of Lady Seymour’s introduction, he senses relic-magic — an evil magic that is prohibited in their society. Terence realizes that it is the girl. His brother having been killed by relic-magic, Sir Terence has made it his mission to find and destroy any relic-magic, including the violet-eyed beauty he feels a strong attraction.
When Felicity fails her test she loses everything, including her title and property. Forced to attend a ball, where she is nearly run over by the other attendees. It seems someone had cast a spell of invisibility on the girl. Sir Terence sets a plan to get to know her in order to either destroy her if she is the one using the relic-magic or destroy whoever is using it against her.
Though of opposite class structure, a sweet relationship forms between Kennedy’s hero and heroine. At a party Terence saves Felicity from being crushed. They take a walk in the garden where they discuss were-animals and Felicity asks him to show her his. Terence shape shifts into a beautiful lion. Not afraid Felicity approaches the lion and pets him. It is no surprise that of all the animals in the wild kingdom, Kennedy assigns Sir Terence – the Lion. According to mythology the lion represents sovereignty, power, bravery, and sometimes vengeance.
Back in human form Sir Terence asks her if she had not lost her title and properties would she have ever given him a chance. She tells him that she would not have given him a second thought; while hurt at her truth, he cannot help but admire the beauty for her honesty. It doesn’t take him long to realize that she is innocent and sets out to protect her and as well as find out who is tormenting her, especially at night when she is asleep. Because of her love for Sir Terrence Felicity is able to use her magic, once she learns she is magical, to transform at will into a lioness. She rejects her inheritance in order to be with the man she loves. No matter what form or culture the lion appears in he or she is a force to be reckoned with.
Kennedy’s world is colorful, full of magical scenes; including an underground city. The love between her hero and heroine is pure and innocent. It is a love the crosses the class structure of her magical Victorian world to overcome an evil. I had a hard time putting the book down and look forward to re-reading again. If you have not read it, check it out, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Ms. Beaumont’s “Ode to a Dead Lord” is a brilliant story about murder, deception and love. Young Lord Ashe is found dead – an apparent suicide. However there are others who believe that he was murdered, including his now penniless widow, Lady Charlotte Ashe.
Prior to marrying Lord Ashe, Charlotte was the granddaughter of a wealthy tradesman. Wanting to buy his granddaughter a title, something that was often done in Regency period, he approves of her choice for a husband and settles all of her fortune irrevocably on the young man.
Ms. Beaumont’s Charlotte is wealthy unlike Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) the Misses Bennets of Pride and Prejudice and the Misses Dashwoods of Sense and Sensibility who were either in danger of being left penniless or left with very little to manage in a male dominated society.
Ms. Beaumont underlines the simplicity of the story with social issues of the Regency period that affected both men and women. Many of these women’s fortune, upon marrying, were automatically turned over to their husbands.
Beaumont complicates the story further by adding a male’s perspective; like Austen’s Willoughby of Sense and Sensibility, who is threatened by a distant aunt to marry well or risk being left penniless should he settle on Miss Marianne Dashwood. Ms. Beaumont brings us Mr. Theo Bryght. Mr. Bryght, nee Nathaniel Clermont, is the younger son of the fifth Earl of Warrington. Unlike Willoughby, who would rather lose the woman he loves for the comforts that wealth could bring him, Clermont chooses to go against his father’s wishes – to join the clergy.
Clermont is disowned. The uniqueness of Beaumont’s hero and what separates him from Willoughby lies in his belief that ‘to thine own self (he must) be true’. He would rather risk the comforts of living well than to risk his self-worth and integrity. Needing to earn an income, Nathaniel Clermont becomes a Bow Street Runner – a member of London’s professional police force. Ms. Beaumont uses Clermont to show that women were not the only ones in Regency period who were often left penniless and thus find another means of earning their living.
Ode to a Dead Lord is well written and flows easily while several story lines are interwoven. Ms. Beaumont ties all loose ends with the exception of the relationship between Theo Bryght and Charlotte Ashe. One can only hope (I know I am hoping) that she intends to bring us a sequel, where both Theo Bryght and Charlotte end up together – though they do go as far as admitting to themselves how they feel about the other. I think that Ms. Jolie Beaumont is sitting on wondrous gold mine of untold stories about Mr. Theo Bryght and his future investigations alongside his lady love, Charlotte Ashe. Reading about these bow street runners, I think of Ms. Anne Perry’s Victorian period hero of the “Inspector Pitt” series.
The Best Intentions by Candice Hern
If Candice Hern’s best intention was to bring us a magical story, then she has most definitely succeeded. Best Intentions is a story about magic—the Magic of Love—finding it when you least expect it and being given a second chance at it.
Miles Prescott, Earl of Strickland, needs a wife, but more than a wife he needs a mother for his two young daughters. A year after his wife’s death, the Earl’s sister, Winifred, decides it is high time that he remarries, so she descends upon his home with her husband, her two boys and her husband’s cousins, a widow and her yet to be introduced to society younger sister, in tow.
Stiffer than Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy—Miles Prescott is proud, and willingly upholds his place in society. Though still mourning the loss of his wife, he is determined to marry for the sake of his daughters. But what separates him from his peers is that he wants a woman who is already mature and not a “young girl in her first season.” He discusses his dilemma with his friend, “They may think they want a title and wealth and position. Indeed, their mothers certainly think so. But in the end, it is a love match they want, whether they admit it or not. It’s all those romantic books they read…What are they called?…those little pasteboard books…Sentimental pap where some aristocratic young fools falls in love with a frightfully ineligible girl—usually a shopkeeper’s ward…and finally throws sense out the window and swoons in raptures at her feet.” I loved the idea that Hern uses a little humor to poke fun of the types of novels she writes and loves—this passage also has a dual purpose in that it predicts the Earl’s future—as he comes to realize to never-say-never.
Hern’s Miss Hannah Fairbanks is totally against social norms. She dreads entering society and prefers to read about architectural designs and history, much to her sister’s chagrin, Lady Abingdon—Winifred’s choice as the Earl’s intended. Hannah is the woman of the future—though sweet, loyal and innocent, she has great wit and refuses to give her love of everything antiquity just because society demands it. The children gravitate towards her because she mirrors their innocence and zest for knowledge. Even the Earl cannot help but be attracted to her wit. Hern brilliantly shows us Regency society and the expectations it demanded of its male and female members. She further expands this view by the development of Lady Abingdon, who whenever in the presence of the Earl exhumes sexuality in order to get the Earl’s attention. She is demure, motherly, and sensual. A widow, Lady Abingdon, like her single counterparts is in constant reminder of her obligations to society and therefore her responsibility to find a husband to provide for her.
There is humor throughout the book and Hern carries it off nicely. Like Ms. Amanda Pryce’s intentions in Lost in Austen, Hern’s best intentions go awry when the Earl and Hannah fall in love. I refuse to say more for fear of giving away more than I already have. Best Intentions is a very sweet love story and an excellent one for all young and old alike. It especially makes a great read for any young woman who is interested in getting her hands on her first romantic novel.
To get your copy, please visit The Best Intentions (A Regency Romance) – Candice Hern
Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson
Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister is a wonderful story that picks up right after Elizabeth and Darcy; and Jane and Mr. Bingley become engaged. However the main voice of the novel is from Miss Georgiana Darcy’s perspective, Darcy’s sixteen year old sister.
The book starts with Georgiana writing a letter to Elizabeth Bennet, her soon to be sister-in-law“My dearest Sister –To-Be…I cannot even begin to tell you how delighted I am to know that you are making my brother the happiest of men! I look forwards with joy to the prospect of our relationship and trust that you will soon consider me a true sister and not merely a relation in law.”
Pierson captures the true embodiment of Georgiana Darcy as the young, sweet and terribly shy young girl you meet in Pride and Prejudice, “Georgiana’s reception of them was very civil; but attended with all that embarrassment which, though proceeding from shyness and the fear of doing wrong, would easily give to those who felt themselves inferior the belief of her being proud and reserved.” Much of Georgiana’s angst over her shyness and regret of her indiscretion at the hands of Wickham are felt throughout the novel.
At the beginning of the novel, Darcy and Elizabeth are engaged as well as Jane and Mr. Bingley. They eventually marry and Georgiana is privy to their happiness. She learns that she too would love to find someone who would love her as much as the Bennet sisters love and are loved. Georgiana is hardest on herself, especially because of her mistake with Wickham. With Elizabeth’s love and understanding Georgiana comes to her own; and finds her own true love.
Like a piece of intricate lace, Pierson cleverly intertwines Georgiana’s angst over her mistake along with the upcoming nuptials of Elizabeth and Darcy; and Jane and Bingley. She also includes deception, kidnapping, a mission on behalf of the Prince Regent, a famous poet–Lord Byron; and family woes creating a fast but richly written story about the characters we have come to love from Pride and Prejudice. I could go on, but I do have to leave something for you to read—which I highly recommend you do.
I have been cautioned many times about using the omniscient voice. Though it is the voice I am most comfortable in, I tend to shy away from it because of it. The pace of the novel moves quickly and thanks to Pierson’s ability to carry on the omniscient voice, so do all of the story-lines, as well as brilliantly tying all loose ends.
Pierson’s diction of the novel is closer to the Regency period and her research into societal manners as you will see before, during and after Georgiana’s presentation at court are accurately detailed. Pierson even uses the famous letters between the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Fitzherbert whom he had secretly married as a mission for Darcy to retreat them from the woman, who stole them, after the Prince had concluded their affair. Had these letter been made public it would have ruined the Prince’s chance to become King.
The only problem I found with this book, and the same goes for all of those others I have read for my book review section of The Regency Inkwell, is that they left me wanting more. I found myself slowly dragging my feet as I neared the end.
To purchase your copy of Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, please visit Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister – Pierson, C. Allyn
Pride and Prejudice could be called Jane Austen’s flagship novel. Its themes focus on issues of manners, morality, marriage, and love. Charlotte Lucas, a minor character in Pride and Prejudice, is the close friend of Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the story’s heroine. Charlotte is older and more practical than her younger friend.
When Mr. Collins, a distant relation to the Bennets, is rejected by Elizabeth, Charlotte seizes the opportunity to accept Mr. Collins’ proposal of marriage in order to acquire security and a home of her own. By not believing in love as an important component of marriage, Charlotte dooms herself to a loveless union to a sanctimonious man of the cloth.
Actually, this was expected by Regency Era society from a young lady with no fortune of her own. Elizabeth disapproved of the match, and when she approaches Charlotte about it, Charlotte replies: “I am not a romantic you know . . . I ask only a comfortable home.”
In Charlotte Collins, author Jennifer Becton brings us a world full of thought-provoking moments and a society that continues to demand that its members follow rules or suffer condemnation.
At the beginning of Charlotte Collins, Mr. Collins has just met with an untimely death, and Charlotte is newly widowed. She may be free from her husband, but society continues as the role of her jailer. Societal rules cause Charlotte eventual alienation through seeming misjudgments on her part. To err may be of human consequence, but to forgive or not to forgive is society’s right in the Regency Era.
Ms. Becton’s writing style is very much like 19th century English. There were moments when we had to shake ourselves mentally to remind ourselves that we were not reading a novel by Jane Austen.
She chooses powerful yet simple words to tell the story of this thoughtful, selfless, compassionate young woman who falls and then rises to the challenge. From the first page to the last, readers cannot help but feel her pain and loneliness. Readers will want to rally for her. They are magically pulled in to be her champions, only to realize that she needed none but herself.
Charlotte Collins is a triumphant story about second chances at life and love. We could not put the book down, and often found ourselves intertwined with the lives’ of Ms. Becton’s characters.
Though we purchased the novel through Kindle and paperback, Charlotte Collins, in hard copy is a book worth adding to your library. It is a definite must read for all historical romance and Jane Austen book lovers. Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – Jennifer Becton
In Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Miss Fanny Price is a poor, orphaned child who goes to live with her uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Bertram, and their four children. Together with the Bertram children—Tom, Maria, Julia and Edmund—Fanny flourishes into a beautiful and loving young woman. Fanny falls in love with Edmund, who had always been kind to her, but Edmund only sees her as his dear cousin. Tom, who stands to inherit, spends his life indulging his habits of drinking and gambling. The two Bertram girls are selfish and spoiled. Maria is the worst of the two and uses her position to mistreat Fanny. The arrival of Mary and Henry Crawford, brother and sister, disrupts the calm world at Mansfield Park, sparking a series of romantic entanglements, including Edmund’s affection directed toward Mary Crawford. The Crawfords’ are amoral, and both have secret agendas concerning Edmund and Maria Bertram.
In Murder at Mansfield Park, Shepherd cleverly shifts the story and characters around. Ms. Pamela Mooman, co-author of The Vicar’s Deadly Sin, made an interesting observation on the shift: “Lynn Shepherd takes Mansfield Park and creates an alternate universe or a mirror image of it, while still following Jane Austen’s storyline.”
Like Jane Austen, Shepherd’s story starts off slowly, allowing readers the chance to assimilate the new changes and get to know the characters. Shepherd also allows readers to become familiarized with societal rules and manners at that time, as well as the emotional damage that they caused.
However, it is what Shepherd does with her alternate universe that will have readers on the edge of their seats. In an alternate storyline, she creates a whole new world allowing filled with interesting twists and turns, including murder.
Noble characters are now amoral. For example, it is Mary Crawford who becomes the loving and beautiful heroine and her brother Henry becomes a decent fellow making his living as an architect. Gone is the noble Fanny Price of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Even Edmund is not spared a change, as you will discover he is no longer a Bertram, but rather the stepson of Mrs. Norris, Lady Bertram’s sister. In Shepherd’s novel, Miss Price is rich, spoiled, and mean-spirited.
We expect you will soon come to detest her enough to wish her ill. Shepherd also cleverly intertwines other characters from other Austen novels in her novel, as when snobbish and annoying Robert Ferrars becomes a potential new client for Henry Crawford.
Later in the novel, Shepherd introduces readers to a new character, Mr. Maddox. Known as a thief-taker, Maddox is hired by Tom Bertram to find the murderer. Thief-takers were known as private individuals hired to capture criminals. Not respected and initially detested by everyone at Mansfield Park, Maddox proves a valuable asset to the story. He is brilliant and on occasion shows compassion to some of the females in the story.
In fact, there were certain instances when we wished Mr. Maddox played a larger role in the novel. But his sole destiny in this novel is to find and apprehend the murderer. Like a diamond in the rough, Maddox is brilliant in his deducing skills and definitely a character worthy of his own crime-solving adventures—much like Anne Perry’s Detective Pitt of the Victorian era. Hopefully, Ms. Shepherd will give us more of Mr. Maddox.
We will admit that as purists of everything Jane Austen, we were hesitant about reading Shepherd’s Murder at Mansfield Park, Jennifer Becton’s Charlotte Collins, and Regina Jeffers’ The Phantom of Pemberley.
However, we are happy to report that reading them was time well-spent. We learned a valuable lesson. As a recovering purist, Miguelina Perez, co-author of The Vicar’s Deadly Sin, is excited to say she will gladly give it all up, once more, for another opportunity to read more stories by these ladies and other authors who bring us glimpses of Austen’s literary world in such an exciting and creative way. Miguelina said: “What I would have missed, if I had not taken the opportunity to read these wonderful works that commanded 19th Century English manners, language and societal rules, is unthinkable.”
We refuse to say anything further on the grounds that we might accidentally diverge too much of the rest of the plot. This is definitely a book worth adding to your library. Murder at Mansfield Park – Lynn Shepherd
Unlike stories written as sequels to Jane Austen’s works, The Scandal of Lady Eleanor is a story set in the regency period, but has no ties at all whatsoever to any of Jane Austen’s character, as a matter of fact it is more of a story in line with novels written by historical romance writers. Kathleen Woodiss, a pioneer in historical romances and author of “The Flame and the Flower” comes to mind.
The Scandal of Lady Eleanor is a story written by Jeffers for her “The Realm” series about a group of men who work for the British government. The men of “The Realm” are loyal, courageous, will fight to the death to protect the innocent and when they love they do with great intensity. This particular story focuses on James Kerrington, the leader of the group and now the Earl of Linworth, who comes back to his peaceful home and to claim his title. Barely having experience the quietness of the countryside, Kerrington is sent for by his friend, Brantley Fowler, also a member of the Realm and now the Duke of Thornhill to help solve a mystery.
When James arrives he meets Brantley’s sister and falls head over heels in love with her. The feelings are returned, though Lady Eleanor is a lot more reserve in her initial estimation of Kerrington and rightly so. For years Lady Eleanor has harbored a horrible secret, involving her father and his sexual appetites. Ashamed at what she had to endure she had given up on ever finding love until she meets Kerrington, the man who would change everything, including reminding her of her self-worth.
According to Jeffers, “Every woman dreams of her one great love, the man who inspires an emotional response with just a glance across a crowded room. A romance novel must by definition exist purely for the advancement of the hero’s love affair with the heroine; yet, the reader must want the hero to win the woman’s love. To be believable, there must be a connection beyond the sexual appeal; there must be some conflict, which is character-driven. The characters must have believable reasons to be drawn together, as well as to be frustrated by their dreams.” The Scandal of Lady Eleanor is no exception to this rule.
This story has a lot for everyone: love, mystery, villains, misunderstandings, sex and happy endings. Jeffers commands regency accuracy in her details of the societal expectations of its members. She weaves the many characters of the story with grace and wit. Warning! Your heart will go out to Eleanor for all she had to endure including humiliation and abuse from the one person who should had protected her, her father.
While human weakness is a constant theme throughout the novel, there is also the knowledge that all the evils of the world can be conquered through love, faith and trust, attributes Eleanor exhumes through all of her trials, as do the men of “The Realm.”
Last but not least, I found the sex scenes very explicit and a little too much for my sensibilities. However, I believe it was necessary in order for Jeffers to get an important point across ― while sex abuse is wrong and should not be tolerated at all by any society, sex between two people who love, trust and believe in each other with their entire being is a beautiful experience. I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to reading other stories about the men from “The Realm” series and the women they come to love and rescue. The Scandal of Lady Eleanor – Regina Jeffers
In The Phantom of Pemberley, Regina Jeffers, author of several books including The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, continues the much endeared love story of the key characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.
The Phantom of Pemberley takes place a little over a year after Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding and both are happily settled in their match. The novel begins with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy getting ready to head into town to pick up Elizabeth’s sister, Lydia. Although Mr. Darcy still harbors bad feelings toward his wife’s sister, Lydia Wickham, and her husband, George Wickham, he makes an effort to welcome his sister-in-law sans her husband to his home for a short visit. If you recall, Wickham had convinced Darcy’s 15-year-old-sister, Georgiana, to elope with him in order to get his hands on her inheritance.
As in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” Jeffers gives us a sense of forewarning when an impending winter storm arrives. After they set to town to pick up Lydia, the Darcys are forced to extend their home to a group of stranded guests due to an already fully occupied inn. While gracious in their roles of playing host and hostess to the group, the atmosphere in Pemberley takes a sudden change for the worse when a murder is committed. The realization that a murderer is walking among them has Mr. Darcy and his wife hurrying to find him or her before they strike again.
Jeffers cleverly brings back Lady Catherine de Bourgh, adding a constant thorn at Elizabeth’s side, much to Mr. Darcy’s chagrin. However, Lady Catherine de Bourgh has her own problems, which is why she showed up at the Darcys, hoping to involve Darcy in preventing a scandal involving her daughter, Lady Anne.
Jeffers commands the language of the period, gives us a fresh plot, and even weaves in pieces of Pride and Prejudice. Though I suspect Jeffers wanted to give readers who had not read P&P a little prehistory of the beginnings of Darcy and Elizabeth, I believe this was not crucial to the plot of her story. However, Jeffers does over emphasize Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s relationship, creating a constant overflow of sentimentalities between the two that can be distracting to the reader.
I still enjoyed reading the book, especially experiencing the creativity of many of these writers. I love to see that both Lydia and Lady Catherine were up to their usual obnoxious selves, Jeffers captured their true nature. For all you fans that pitied Lady Anne and would have liked to have seen more of her, this is the book to read. Lady Anne eventually comes into her own right as she stands up against her bullying mother and finds happiness.
Contrary to other reviews, I found the ending a pleasant surprise, especially learning the murderer was not whom I suspected. Anytime a book can surprise me is a great plus for me, besides shouldn’t reading be in the mind of the beholder—in other words we can’t always please everyone.
Check out Jeffers’ The Scandal of Lady Eleanor. Though filled with explicit sex, the story was not only enjoyable, but fresh, including her brilliance in introducing the men of “The Realm”, a secret society of the British government. These are gallant men who not only fight for their country, but for the women who capture their hearts. Get your copy at Amazon.com.
In her next and final installment of her regency romance “Naked Nobility” series, author Sally MacKenzie brings us The Naked King.
The Naked King is a triumphant, funny love story about second chances. Lady Anne Marston, a spinster, who because of an indiscretion at the age of seventeen, steals herself away from society and the hopes of ever finding love. She is content living her life quietly with her family, until she learns that it will be up to her to prepare her sister’s introduction into society. Anne has been responsible for taking care of her sister and 10-year old twin brothers, during her father and his wife’s constant absence in search of antiquities. Her quiet life is further disrupted when one day while walking the family dog she is literally thrown into the arms of the town’s most talked about lover, Mr. Stephen Parker-Roth, nicknamed the “King of Hearts.”
MacKenzie is clever in her creation of the quintessential hero. Stephen Parker-Roth is the purest essence of bravery, honor, and while considered a Casanova, he is morally bound to his beliefs, especially those of regency society. Though his reputation as a lady’s man is widely known, it is a persona he gladly gives up the moment he meets Lady Anne. Unlike Lady Anne, Roth comes from a functional home with two loving parents and siblings. Because of his sense of propriety it is no surprise when he declares himself as her fiance in order to save her from ruin after accidentally compromising her.
MacKenzie’s use of a more modern diction in The Naked King, does not impede the story’s success as she is able to keep true to the period in which the novel is set. Impressively, because of her choice of language, like Monet’s choice of colors on a blank canvas, MacKenzie paints for her readers a world full of colorful imagery through dialogue, characterization and plot. Her use of sex, in the novel, is more about making a statement that rape by any other name is wrong and unacceptable.
Like most romantic stories, The Naked King is not without its bad guy, shady characters, and great friends whom come to Roth and Lady Anne’s aid when they are in trouble.
In the end, The Naked King is a wonderful and humorous story that takes you away from life’s imperfection and leaves you longing for your own quintessential hero. The Naked King – Sally MacKenzie
The Necklace by Amy Corwin
The Necklace is a historical regency romance mystery about a cursed necklace and two young people who set out solve a mystery, end up solving a murder and then discover a love for each other.
Miss Oriana Archer is content living the quiet life, such as can be, when Uncle John is not stirring up trouble. Mr. Chilton Dacy is the eldest son of Edward Dacy, baron of Chichester, and much to his father’s chagrin, an embarrassment to the family. Unbeknownst to the baron, Chilton works for the British military. Upon being summoned by his father, Chilton is recruited to find a vowel his father’s wife lost to John Archer. The vowel signs away his half-brother’s inheritance. His father claims that his wife was taken in by Mr. Archer.
Ms. Corwin’s story is told in modern English while keeping true to the period. Her story contains a consistent intertwining of simplicity yet complex in her thoroughness of character development, specifically her three main characters. While Oriana, Chilton and Uncle John are complex, their character can be explained in simple terminology.
Uncle John suffers from the Peter Pan complex. He loves to gamble and live dangerously and is often in need of being rescued and reprimanded as one does a child.
Mr. Chilton Dacy sells his services to the British government. He is a loner and likes his life that way though it pains him to have a difficult relationship with his father. As the protagonist Mr. Dacy has his own demons to exorcise. His struggles over not having a family of his own and his anger over the loss of his mother and his relationship with his father, always weigh heavily on his shoulders. Like Oriana he is convinced love is not for him, but begins to question that belief soon after meeting her. When he meets with John Archer he is quick to believe that as soon as he acquires the vowel that nothing would please him more than to see him go off to prison, but as he gets to know Archer, Dacy comes to regret the deceit, and questions his ability in putting the old man away when the time arrived—in the end, like Joseph Campbell’s hero, Dacy achieves his boons and with it he finds the courage to make a difference in the lives of his new found love and family.
Miss Oriana Archer represents the Goddess Artemis. After finding out her fiancé had been unfaithful she breaks off the engagement and declares to never marry and like Artemis she has a love for animals. She is the maiden who plays the role of mother to her uncle and her sister. Like Mr. Dacy she carries the weight of her family’s woes on her shoulders.
Like the Greek myth, The Necklace from Harmonia, Corwin’s necklace is cursed and brings death to its wearer. However, to each of three main characters the necklace represents a different desire.
The Necklace is a delightful read; the characters are lovable and at times humorous. The tender moments between Miss Oriana and Mr. Dacy as they slowly work their way to discovering a love for each other keeps you on the edge of your seat. Corwin’s takes her time in doing this, perhaps to show us that true love will always be worth waiting for. I think I have said enough—do not want to give away the ending. If you have not read The Necklace, what are you waiting for? To get your copy please visit The Necklace – Amy Corwin
Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise
In Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, Kara Louise brings us a delightful alternate retelling of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s love story. The original timeline, from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is changed somewhat in Louise’s book—a year after she rejects Darcy’s marriage proposal, Elizabeth’s father, Mr. Bennet, dies leaving Mrs. Bennet and her daughters destitute. As soon as the Collins’ take over Longbourn—the family has no choice but to split up. Elizabeth is forced to seek employment as a governess for the Willstones, while Mrs. Bennet and her younger daughters move in with her sister and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, and Jane goes to live with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner to help with their children.
The book starts off from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s perspective. He and his cousin, Patrick Fitzwilliam, are on their way for their yearly visit with their aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter, Anne. From the onset you are privy to Darcy’s pain. The angst of losing Elizabeth is evident through Louise’s use of such vivid phrases as, “He had told not a single soul of his offer to Miss Bennet and her subsequent rejection of his suit. He fought hard against the ensuing melancholy and constant self-evaluation that had taken much of the joy out of his life.”
To put such emotion and feeling into a man like Mr. Darcy, would perhaps make some historical writers shake with dread, but Louise pulls it off cleverly and with great impact. The reader is taken aback at such declarations from Darcy. One would argue that he did indeed do a lot of self-evaluations and was able to admit his true feelings and own up to his mistakes. He even goes as far as admitting his hopes at getting a glimpse of Elizabeth, each time he visited his aunt at Rosings. Louise will use this technique often throughout the book from both Darcy and Elizabeth’s perspective. By doing this she evokes the pain and loneliness that goes with the mistakes we make and the losses we experience as a result.
Having lost her father and separated from her family, Elizabeth is somewhat content with her life at the Willstones as the governess to their little girl. The Willstones love the influence and care she instills on their young daughter. However that all changes as soon as Louise introduces the conflict, in the form of Mrs. Willstone’s unmarried sister, Miss Rosalyn Matthews. Soon after meeting Elizabeth, Rosalyn declares herself in love with Darcy. Elizabeth is devastated by the news, but soon learns the young woman has not made the acquaintance of the Darcy and therefore hopes it to just be a passing fantasy. Wishful thinking on Elizabeth’s side for a chance meeting at a dinner party hosted by the Willstones, Elizabeth meets up once again with Mr. Bingley and Miss Darcy.
After learning of Elizabeth’s dire situation, Mr. Darcy invites the Willstones for a two week stay at Pemberley, in the hopes of seeing her again. Elizabeth of course dreads the visit, not only because of seeing Darcy, but at the thought he and Miss Matthews might form an attachment. Once at Pemberley Elizabeth comes to realize that she had made a mistake in her judgement of Mr. Darcy. And to her pleasant surprise, she gets to see a kind and loving Mr. Darcy. As she re-evaluates her feelings for him, Elizabeth is once again pained at the thought of having lost her opportunity to be with the man she now loves.
As the story progresses, with an underlying tone of sadness, you come to a point where you believe Louise is going to finally let the lovers reunite only to have them pulled apart by Mrs. Willstone, who senses the closeness between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. Sending Elizabeth away, she hopes that with her out of the picture, her sister would stand a chance of becoming the next mistress of Pemberley. Louise keeps faithful to one of the most important themes throughout Austen’s novels and the Regency period romances—the stress that English society places on its female members to ascertain a marriage of good standing and fortune.
By the end of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, Louise brings the alternate timeline back to match that of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. With the exception of Mr. Bennet’s death, Jane is now married to Mr. Bingley, Lydia to Mr. Wickham, and Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy.
Louise’s story is a delight and definite must read. The story keeps true to the manners and language of the period. To purchase your copy of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do please visit Amazon.com.