There was no mystery or murder in this one. Just a novella to show the main couple's wedding preparations and day. Loved hearing about wedding detailsThere was no mystery or murder in this one. Just a novella to show the main couple's wedding preparations and day. Loved hearing about wedding details, but it didn't make much of a plot. Thought the bit about Scarlett was really interesting and exciting, wish they made a whole story-line out of that. ...more
Poor Darcy, he receives so many depressing blows in this Pride and Prejudice variation! First, the day before he plans to propose and secure his futurPoor Darcy, he receives so many depressing blows in this Pride and Prejudice variation! First, the day before he plans to propose and secure his future happiness, Elizabeth is called away to meet a distant relation in Falmouth. Then when he decides to propose anyway, he is prevented by all sorts of interferences – Mr. Collins, Colonel Fitzwilliam, inclement weather, etc. And then…when Elizabeth seems like she might welcome a visit and proposal from Darcy in the future, the very next day brings about a whole different attitude in her. Why is she upset and standoffish with Darcy?
When poor Mr. Darcy learns the reason why, he hightails it to Falmouth to set things right, but he has a lot going against him – trying to fine Elizabeth’s aunt’s home without having the address, a newly bestowed inheritance, and a worthy, wealthy, and titled rival who has in the span of a few short weeks earned Elizabeth’s respect and possibly her regard…Suddenly all the wonderful things Mr. Darcy has to offer and give Elizabeth don’t seem as valuable or magnanimous as what she already has…
How I LOVE Joana Starnes’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy! Without a doubt, her depiction of a feeling, privately emotive, and intensely passionate Mr. Darcy is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The way Ms. Starnes expressively denotes every myriad of feeling and thought of Mr. Darcy is to be commended. (I think she takes delight in torturing him!) Mr. Darcy’s anguish, sorrow, hope, and yearning can not but be tangibly felt by the reader. As I read this novel, my eyes were stinging with unshed tears and I could feel my own heart swell with sympathy and love for Darcy’s pent-up emotions and suffering. Ahh, so romantic! Such palpable and evocative prose!
Besides her swoon-worthy and ardent Darcy the other aspect I most enjoy with Joana Starnes’s writing is the originative and varied alterations she creates with these characters. Tired of reading similar variations about Darcy’s unsuccessful first proposal in Hunsford Parsonage or Lydia causing trouble just as Darcy and Elizabeth are about to reach an understanding? Try a variation by Joana Starnes – she adeptly invents new thoughtful premises and scenarios for our dear couple. With The Falmouth Connection, I especially enjoyed the visit to Cornwall and new characters she introduced. These new characters were well-drawn and interesting, and the scenery around Cornwall so vividly and breathtakingly described.
If I was in the mood to be persnickety, (which I know I can be sometimes) I might say that seeing more about the smugglers and their activities would have been interesting. This sinister gang of nefarious individuals were a great deal overshadowed by Darcy’s emotional upheaval and internal struggles. But in truth, I really have no cause to repine...I think Ms. Starnes employed her page time much better. ;)
Brooding, fervent, persevering, frustrated, protective, and brave – Ms. Starnes’s depiction of Darcy in this novel is everything that is admirable and worthy, proving that Mr. Darcy is indeed the penultimate romantic hero! But readers must be warned to prepare their hearts before they read this,novel because not only does Darcy steal tempting kisses in the night, but he also valiantly and capably brandishes a sword to safeguard his beloved Elizabeth… *faints away in a swoon* <3
I can hardly wait to see what Joana Starnes does with Mr. Darcy next! Like Ms. Starnes’s previous Pride and Prejudice variations, The Falmouth Connection is exquisitely and expressively written, and most certainly not to be missed!...more
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: 21 years after Elizabeth and the Gardiners visit Pemberley
MAIN CHARACTERS: ElizabeTYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Variation
TIME FRAME: 21 years after Elizabeth and the Gardiners visit Pemberley
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, George Wickham, Lord Matlock (Colonel Fitzwilliam), Lady Matlock (Anne de Bourgh), Sir Frederick (a.k.a. Dr. Wilson, master of Ramsey House)
What if Darcy, no matter how hard he tried, was not successful in recovering Lydia and saving the Bennets from scandal?
What if nine months after her flight from Brighton, Lydia finally returned to Longbourn, in tatters and mentally disturbed?
What if twenty years later finds Darcy, suffering from severe melancholia and an eccentric recluse battling insomnia and alcoholism?
This variation kind of put me in mind of It’s A Wonderful Life, but like a Pride and Prejudice version – what if Darcy never saved the Bennet family from scandal and shame, what would become of them? How many characters would have altered fates because of the change in Lydia’s fate?
WHAT I LOVED:
This Poignant and Riveting Premise: Disgraced Bennets, a mad Mr. Darcy, twenty years of separation for our dear couple. When have we seen such a unique combination of elements in a Pride and Prejudice variation?!? Truly a brilliant and original concept! And kudos to Alexa Adams for executing it perfectly – these alterations didn’t feel outlandish or out of character.
A Historical Fiction Read: Besides being a poignant tale of past regrets and harsh trials, this story includes much that enlightens and educates the reader about mental illness in the 19th century – the conditions of madhouses and asylums, and the popular treatments and various schools of thought regarding mental illness at the time. It is evident that Alexa Adams thoroughly did her research with this novel, and I think her efforts made this story all the more interesting.
The Narrative Voice: Ever since reading First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice in 2010 I have been impressed with Alexa Adams’s knack for emulating Jane Austen’s witty and ironic voice. I love her narrative asides, sharp social commentary, and humorous observations. Just look at the dry humor she employs in this tale…
Darcy suddenly asked, “I am surprised Anne agreed to this scheme of yours at all, Richard. Surely she invoked my late aunt’s shock at the notion?”
Richard smiled with genuine good humor. “Anne is always careful to ensure Lady Catherine receives her share of the conversation…” page 48
Familiar Friends: I always love it when an author mix together characters from different Jane Austen novels. It was wonderful to see Mr. Darcy encounter Maria Rushworth, Lady Elliot, and Mr. John Knightley and to learn what brings them all to Ramsey House. In fact I loved all the quirky and eccentric characters assembled in Ramsey House and the attention paid them. I also loved seeing their interactions with one another – the games, the experiments, the conversations. They were a colorful and endearing bunch.
Everlasting Love: The romance in this story was so pleasing to witness. Both Darcy and Elizabeth remain fervently devoted to each other through all their trials, hardships, and years of separation. The journey each of them has been on is emotional and heart-wrenching, but to see the constant love they have for each other is deeply satisfying. I love how Elizabeth wanted to see Darcy again, I loved seeing her defend him and protect him from the other Ramsey House guests, and I especially loved her letters. I greatly enjoyed how Ms. Adams depicted both Darcy and Elizabeths internal feelings, private thoughts, and reactions to being once in each others’ company. Just brilliant.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
Ummmm….that it ended?? Can’t really find anything I didn’t like…was so sorry to see this story come to an end!
Alexa Adams created a compelling and unique journey for our dear couple to traverse and I truly loved every minute of it! The ending was pure satisfaction in every sense of the word – all past sorrows were erased and I felt each character experienced healing and peace. I highly recommend this exquisitely crafted variation! ...more
If you weren’t already aware, To Refine Like Silver, is a Pride and Prejudice variation that includes themes of a spiritual and religious nature. SimiIf you weren’t already aware, To Refine Like Silver, is a Pride and Prejudice variation that includes themes of a spiritual and religious nature. Similar to authors Robin Helm and Debra White Smith, Jeanna Ellsworth has crafted a story filled with faith, prayer, and the importance of developing a relationship with God. This kind of religious integration with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice might not be everyone’s cup of tea. (Just like paranormal novels aren’t everyone’s cup of tea!) But if you enjoy inspiring tales of finding faith and spiritual journeys, read on…
In this variation of Pride and Prejudice Georgiana does not easily recover from her experiences in Ramsgate. Three months later finds her in a very dark place emotionally and mentally, a shell of her former self, and suffering from deep depression. While visiting her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in their newly inherited estate near Lambton, Elizabeth Bennet meets Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy and immediately recognizes and understands the deep sadness she sees in Georgiana’s eyes. It is then she realizes her true reason for being in Derbyshire is to help Georgiana through the darkness and share her own experiences and journey.
What impressed me most about this novel was how author Jeanna Ellsworth capably tackled the serious and difficult subject of depression with such bravery, skill, and honesty. She wanted to send an important message with this story to people who suffer from or have had experience with depression and I felt she chose her character and premise perfectly. (It makes sense that Georgiana would feel this way after having such a traumatic experience with Wickham) And the emotional sadness and difficulties Georgiana faced were portrayed in my opinion realistically, with great understanding and sympathy. But before you think this story is filled with darkness and hard subjects, let me just say that Ms. Ellsworth includes just as much light, uplifting joy, and healing. Brava, Jeanna Ellsworth! I’m sure writing this wasn’t easy to do!
As mentioned above, this story stresses the importance of having a relationship with God. A message that Elizabeth knows and shares with both Georgiana and Fitzwilliam. As with other Christian-inspired Austenesque novels I read, I enjoyed the spiritual content and themes Ms. Ellsworth highlighted in this tale. I personally, did not find them to be heavy-handed or preachy… Some may feel that Darcy’s spiritual journey received too much focus, but I enjoyed seeing Darcy go through these unique and different set of obstacles for a change. His determination to heed Elizabeth’s words and make himself a better man was inspiring to witness. Darcy was, as usual, adorable and irresistible, I loved seeing his love for Elizabeth and Georgiana. The only thing I would want to quibble over is that Darcy did steal some of the focus from Georgiana and her healing midway through the novel…but too much Darcy is not the kind of thing one really complains about. ;)
If you are familiar with Jeanna Ellsworth’s works than you know she has a penchant for using symbolism and metaphors to help carry her themes across. I loved the refining silver metaphor! What a perfect representation how and why we are given trials. I enjoyed seeing Darcy challenged with the passage in Malachi 3:3 and observing him learn all he can about mining silver and the refining process. It was enlightening for me too! In addition, I loved Elizabeth and her frogs! So adorable!
To Refine Like Silver is an inspiring and thought-provoking tale of three Pride and Prejudice characters and their walks of faith. This story is filled with difficult trials, inspiring words, heart-fluttering romance, and an uplifting message that brings peace. For fans of Christian Fiction and Inspirational Romance this is not one to you will want to miss!...more
This review is coming from the perspective of two readers who are not very familiar with the children’s classic, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownThis review is coming from the perspective of two readers who are not very familiar with the children’s classic, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (shocking, I know!) Hubby, born in Colombia, didn’t read it as a child, and I honestly can’t remember if I did! My more memorable childhood reads were books by Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, and Robert Munsch.
Regardless, we were both looking forward to reading this parody of a classic!
Hubby: I enjoyed the story a lot. Being familiar with Pride and Prejudice, it was nice to see all the key words and familiar characters represented such as: Netherfield, Lydia, Jane, and Mrs. Bennet. The artwork is well done, attractive, and colorful. I liked how they paid homage to Goodnight Moon, with the similar cover, color palette, font, and even saying on one page “Goodnight Moon.”
Meredith: Super fun and cute! With such an abbreviated medium to tell the story of Pride and Prejudice, it looks like the author mostly focused on two main elements – the Netherfield Ball and the happily ever after. :) Keeping it light for young readers who might not be ready for tales of pride, prejudice, and misunderstandings before they go to bed! I loved seeing such beloved characters in this storybook kind of setting. And the ending was perfect with the rhymes chosen!
However, we both agreed that the story did feel a little bit jarring in how it changed from setting the scene at the Netherfield Ball and introducing the guests there, to saying the litany of goodnights. Maybe one more page about the events of the ball/evening coming to an end would have made a smoother transition.
As a Children’s Story: 4 stars Great for a bedtime story, will lull little ones to sleep with the rhythmic rhyme scheme. If we were reading it to a child though, we’d definitely elaborate the story a little bit. Explaining what “fine eyes” are and why Mr. Bennet has to say “hush.”
As a Parody: 5 stars Perfect! There many little touches that were added to pay homage to Goodnight Moon, including a a cute little mouse! Looking through the amazon preview of Goodnight Moon, we see there are so many lines and images that are alluded to in this parody. Very impressed.
As an Austen-Inspired Work: 4.5 stars Represented Jane Austen’s era and characters very well! Austen-lovers will definitely appreciate all the subtle nods to Pride and Prejudice.
The books published by BabyLit are a fabulous way for literary minded adults to share their love for great classics with their children/grandchildren/nieces and nephews. Want your children to know Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and Jane Austen? Start ‘em young! Goodnight Mr. Darcy is a brilliant way to introduce young children to the world of Jane Austen! ...more
In her latest retelling of Pride and Prejudice, author Maria Grace gives readers a refreshingly different Darcy and Elizabeth tale to enjoy. Similar tIn her latest retelling of Pride and Prejudice, author Maria Grace gives readers a refreshingly different Darcy and Elizabeth tale to enjoy. Similar to Ms. Grace’s Given Good Principles series, Remember the Past does not follow the Pride and Prejudice canon – there are altered personalities, new characters, different situations, and less focus on pride, prejudice, and first impressions. These novels are perfect for readers who want something that stands out and is dissimilar to many of the JAFF novels out there. But this novel may not be the favorite of readers who don’t like it when much license is taken with Jane Austen’s characters and plots.
The premise for Remember the Past is wholly unique – Mr. Bennet is actually Admiral Bennet, a widower with a successful career in the navy, substantial wealth, and the father of two daughters and two younger sons. The Bennet family purchased an estate in Derbyshire and are neighbors with those in residence at Pemberley – which includes a widowed Mr. Darcy, his mother-in-law Lady Catherine, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, and Darcy’s two young sons. These two families begin to form fast and strong friendships, and more than one romantic attachment begins to blossom. However, when Darcy’s childhood friend George Wickham is hired as steward for Mr. Bennet’s estate these budding relationships are put to the test…
As stated above, there are quite a few differences with characters and their traits with this Pride and Prejudice retelling. Even though this made some of these characters less recognizable, I did enjoy seeing these unique changes. Instead of being negligent and sarcastic, Admiral Bennet is a blustery and stalwart navy-man who runs his household with military precision. His daughters have connections, dowries, and know how to protect themselves with knifes or swords. And probably the most striking alteration is with Lady Catherine, who is strong-willed but far more loving, kind, and maternal than Jane Austen’s Lady C by far.
One of my favorite elements of the story were the new original characters Maria Grace crafted. I loved the four young boys. Oh, how I love to see Darcy and Elizabeth interact with children. (It melts my heart! :)) I enjoyed witnessing several lovely and tender moments with these young children and our dear couple. I also greatly enjoyed Piper, Admiral Bennet’s man who is gruff and menacing on the outside, but loyal, dependable, and caring inside, he is such an integral part of the Bennet family.
My main issue with this novel and the reason it is not receiving a higher rating is because I felt it was too fast-paced and a little underdeveloped. Yes, fast pacing is a good thing in a story – it means things are exciting and riveting – but if the story proceeds at too quick a pace it can diminish development. And that’s what I felt in this case – Darcy conquered his scruples quickly, the couples in love reached understandings easily, and any obstacles in their path were swiftly overcome. I would have loved to explore deeper into these characters and feel more emotional connection to them. Learning more about their pasts would have helped I think, almost each character has past experiences that impacted their lives. Seeing some flashbacks of these experiences and internal introspection would have aided in making the characters more complex and dimensional.
Imaginative, distinct, and romantic – Remember the Past is a wonderful choice for readers who have read dozens and maybe even hundreds of Pride and Prejudice inspired novels and is looking for something new. :) As always, I love seeing how Maria Grace plays with and creatively alters these beloved characters and their stories! However, my favorites of hers remain the first two books in the Given Good Principles series. :) ...more
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Austen-Inspired, Biographical Fiction
TIME FRAME: The summer of 1791, our beloved authoress is fifteen
MAIN CHARACTERS: JaneTYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Austen-Inspired, Biographical Fiction
TIME FRAME: The summer of 1791, our beloved authoress is fifteen
MAIN CHARACTERS: Jane Austen, Cassandra Austen, Edward Taylor, Edward Austen, Elizabeth, Sophia, and Fanny Bridges
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL: So many reasons…but I’ll be brief – it is by Syrie James, an author who has written some of my most favorite novels including several magnificent gems about Jane Austen and her life.
SYNOPSIS: To celebrate the engagements of their two daughters – Fanny and Elizabeth, the Bridges family hosts a month-long house party and invite the Knights, the Austens, and other neighbors. Jane attends this house party with her older sister, Cassandra, younger brother, Charles, and their mother. It is there that Jane Austen has her first experience of love – not with Tom Lefroy, by the way!
WHAT I LOVED:
- Jane Austen at 15: Unlike other novels depicting Jane Austen’s life in her later years, this story shows us Jane Austen at the age of fifteen – a time where life was full of possibilities, romance, and pleasure. Like most fifteen-year-olds of her era, Jane Austen yearns to be out, to experience society, and attend all matter of parties, balls, and special outings. She does not have to face the many responsibilities, duties, or realities of her poor financial situation…just yet. I loved witnessing Jane Austen during this time period of her life. She had some silliness in her character, and is not as wise and proper as we see depicted in her later years, but I felt this portrayal accurate for an exuberant, romantic, and inexperienced young lady not yet out in society.
- Brilliant Characters: With a large house party involving several families and their progeny, there are many characters and personalities to keep track of in this tale. I found, as usual for Ms. James, all the characters were well-drawn engaging, and in possession of an assortment of quirks, foibles, and charms. I especially loved seeing how some characters showed small resemblances to some of Jane Austen’s future characters – following the theory that some of Jane Austen’s characters are inspired by people she knew and met in her real life.
- Full of Romance: Jane isn’t the only one falling in love in this tale. I loved seeing all the speculating, matchmaking, and flirtations. Of course, Jane and Edward’s were the most fun to witness! So many lovely scenes together, I can easily understand how Jane lost her heart to him so quickly. I also loved how Jane experimented with a little matchmaking! I really couldn’t predict how everything would turn out for all these young lovers!
- A Midsummer’s Night Dream: As a fan of Shakespearean comedies you cannot imagine my delight when I saw that the characters were going to produce and perform a home theatrical of A Midsummer’s Night Dream! I loved hearing all about the casting, rehearsing, and unexpected results of everyone’s participation in the play. Ms. James chose the perfect play to outline and echo the important themes of this novel.
- The Author’s Afterword: One of my favorite aspects about biographical fiction novels is learning how the author crafted the story from true events and people. Reading the Author’s Afterword for this novel made my jaw drop…I’m so very impressed and amazed with how much research, truths, and actual events/people were used as the foundation of this story. It is more than you would think! Big applause to you, Syrie James!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
Part of the Conclusion: Definitely a minor quibble. Everything seemed to wrap-up and conclude rather quickly, and for me, the closure felt a little abrupt. However, that might be because I desperately did not want to see this story come to an end! :)
Imaginative, thoughtful, and expertly crafted – Syrie James has done it again! With her dexterous blend of truth, supposition, and fiction her stories creatively and beautifully render the life, romances, and secrets we all dearly wish Jane Austen to have had....more
(Note: Potential readers should be made aware that this is the second book in the Yours by Design trilogy and that it is necessary to read book 1, Acc(Note: Potential readers should be made aware that this is the second book in the Yours by Design trilogy and that it is necessary to read book 1, Accidentally Yours, prior to reading this one.)
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Austen-Inspired, Time Travel, Christian/Inspirational
SETTING: Alternating between Modern-Day (2012) in Georgia, USA and 1795 in England
Will Darcy (from the 21st century) is joined by Elizabeth Bennet, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Jane Bennet, Mr. Gardiner, and Mr. Bennet Fitzwilliam Darcy (from the 18th century) is surrounded by Mrs. Thomas, Lance Bingley, Jane Bennet, and Liz Bennet
- Two different men living two centuries apart make two similar pleading prayers that result in their switching bodies with each other – think “Freaky Friday” – The Regency Edition. A modern-day man who grew up reading and loving Jane Austen named Will Darcy, finds himself in the body of Fitzwilliam Darcy after his ill-fated Hunsford Proposal. And Fitzwilliam Darcy finds himself in the body of Will Darcy who lives in Georgia in the 21st century.
WHAT I LOVED:
- Two Darcys: Need I say more??? Both Darcys are quite different from each other. Will Darcy is very charming and has both the appearance and actuality of “goodness.” His Regency counterpart, Fitzwilliam Darcy, while haughty and arrogant, isn’t the responsible and just Master of Pemberley we all thought he was. The story alternates with each chapter – changing time periods and perspectives – giving readers an equal amount of both Darcy men. ;)
- Things Are Developing: I loved how this book showed more of each Darcy’s development. They acclimated to their new lives (or are trying to), establishing relationships with the people who surround them, and pursued their hearts’ desires. Will is occupied taking care of a bad investment his Regency counterpart made and admitting his errors in judgment to Charles Bingley. And Fitzwilliam Darcy is busy with his physical therapy work and learning how to live in the 21st century.
- I Like Fitzwilliam Darcy Again!: In Accidentally Yours,I found the Regency Darcy to be very unlikable and I was disappointed in some of the things he said and thought. Well, while that is his character make-up at the start of this series, I’m happy to see a gentle transformation starting to take place. His eyes, mind, and heart have been opened and he is truly desiring to change himself and make others happy and proud. I liked seeing Fitzwilliam “Fitz” Darcy’s interactions with his new companions and witnessing the many lessons he has to learn daily about modern society and customs. It kind of reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory a few times with how he needed to have so many things explained!
- Cute Fitz Moments: Some of my favorite moments in this story are when Fitz (Regency Darcy) does something adorable. In this installment we see him become better friends with his physical therapist/live-in nurse Lance and witness his introduction and first encounters with Liz Bennet. Without spoiling anything I’ll say my favorite scenes were the golf cart incident, Liz’s contraction challenge, and when Fitz experiences confusion over our modern expressions. So many LOLs!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- I’m Not Into “Pictures of Perfections”: I’ve said this numerous times before, but I just don’t like it when a character is nearly perfect, faultless and flawless, or has nothing to overcome. At this point, I find myself loving the Fitzwilliam Darcy parts of this story more than Will Darcy because he is flawed character learning to be a better man. Will and Elizabeth, on the other hand, are seemingly perfect people with very little to mar their happiness or block their paths.
As you can see, I’m definitely more a fan of this series now than I was after reading the first book! With so many loose threads, this installment definitely left me hanging. I’m eagerly anticipating the third book, Forever Yours, which I hear is coming out soon! Can’t wait to see what happens with these Darcys and their Elizabeths! ...more