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Once Upon a Kiss (Book Club Belles Society, #1)
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Once Upon a Kiss (Book Club Belles Society #1)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  200 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
These Book Club Belles are ready to put down their novels and find some real-life leading men!

In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, five young ladies of the local book society are reading a salacious romance called Pride and Prejudice. Upon finishing the book, the ladies race to find their own Mr. Darcy, and the handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright is the perfect mark
Mass Market Paperback, 401 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
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Jun 24, 2014 Kyraryker rated it it was amazing
Calling all Pride and Prejudice fans, this book is for you. Once Upon a Kiss follows the (mis)adventures of Justina Penny. As our heroine, she is spirited, bold, and at times foolhardy. You see, Justina hails from a small country town, has a rather loud mother whose whole mission in life is to get her daughters wed, specifically her older, very attractive daughter, a tolerant father, and an independent streak. During one of Justina's grand schemes, she meets Mr. Darius Wainwright. He just so hap ...more
Amber  Read
Apr 04, 2014 Amber Read rated it it was amazing
From the beginning this book was silly, fun, and just what I was looking for. Justina Penny is a young woman living in a small country town outside of London. The youngest daughter of the town doctor, she is high spirited and has an imagination that would be anyone to shame. She keeps a journal that she writes in every night and it's hilarious. She runs around with her very proper and pretty older sister. And Jussy, as she's called, has muddy boots, ripped pinafores, and hair all over the place. ...more
Stevie Carroll
Jun 04, 2014 Stevie Carroll rated it it was amazing
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread:

It’s no secret that I’m a great fan of Jane Austen in general and Pride and Prejudice in particular, and so I approached this book about young women encountering the book for the very first time with a mixture of joy and trepidation. I shouldn’t have worried; the humour is spot-on, and while some incidents and characters parallel those in the original, there always turns out to be a twist on the theme.

Justina Penny is tall, ungainly, and
Once Upon a Kiss was an absolute delight to read and one that I highly recommend to fans of Jane Austen retellings. Here we have a wonderful free-spirited heroine and a lovable socially awkward hero who’s very Darcy-esque.

Justina Penny is an unconventional young lady living in a sleepy little village. She’s known for her many missteps in society. She’s quite aware that she’s not nearly as lovely or ladylike as her elder sister, and knows that she’ll never be a man’s first choice. But that doesn
Kimberly Rocha~ Book Obsessed Chicks
Miss Justina Penny and her menagerie of odd females make up the Book Club Belles Society, who are reading Jane Austen and pining away for Mr. Darcy. Justina, also known as Jussy and her sister are not women of means, but their parents would like for nothing better than to see them married, but with Justina's tendency to always get into trouble, her parents only hope is her sister.

Darius Wainwright flees London at the mention of an impending visit by his meddling step-sister. He goes to his decea
Sep 27, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! The writing was clever and witty, and the romance was sweet with just the right amount of silliness. The allusions to "Pride and Prejudice" were well done and not overpowering. I thought Darius and Justina were a great couple, I liked the Book Club Belles and even Sir Mortimer Grubbins (view spoiler) I'll definitely read the next in the series and I'm going to look at the author's backlist.
Carolyn F.
The heroine was so childish in the beginning of the book - doing things for just a reaction, writing in her journal like a paranoid 13 year old - that when she "grew up" shortly thereafter it was not believable to me. I just could not get why the hero was even attracted to her in the beginning unless he was just thinking with his "Richard" because of her wet gown, but that still wasn't enough for me. Bleh!
SOS Aloha
Jun 22, 2014 SOS Aloha rated it it was amazing
Now a soft kiss. Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss. - John Keats.

British author Jayne Fresina has already delighted Regency fans with her Sydney Dovedale series of "beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines". She comes roaring back with a bold new series, the Book Club Belles Society, featuring her trademark humor and healtfelt storytelling that would impresss Jane Austen. In fact, the Book Club Belles Society - five refined ladies tucked away in the country - are reading Austen's PRID
Guilty Pleasures
Jun 11, 2014 Guilty Pleasures rated it it was amazing
Autry‘s review posted on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews


Review copy provided for an honest review

Once Upon a Kiss, is a great historical romance that has charm and wit flowing from its pages! I loved every minute of reading Once Upon a Kiss, the character are fantastic, the development of those characters instantly start to provoke emotion and make you feel for them, especially for Justina and Darius.
Justina (Jussy) is a second born daughter to a country doctor. She loves to explore and o
Blodeuedd Finland
This book was just delightful :D The pages flew by and I was charmed by it. I do hope all the books in this series will be as good.

It's a book a book club (yay), and they are reading Pride and Prejudice. And the author weaves her spell and the book read a bit like PP then too. More fun for me.

Our heroine is, gods, crazy! Ha, in a good way. I loved her. She did all the wrong things, said the wrong things, she just wanted to have fun, to lose her bonnet and get her petticoats dirty by jumping in a
Arielle Dumas
May 07, 2014 Arielle Dumas rated it it was amazing
Loved it! I'm a big P&P fan - love all the retellings (well, most!) This one was sweet, funny and kept me reading to the end. When it was over I wanted to start from the beginning again right away.
Rosie Read
Jun 02, 2014 Rosie Read rated it liked it
Once Upon a Kiss is a nice shadowing of the book club's study, Pride and Prejudice. Once Upon a Kiss tells the tale of Justina Penny, the youngest daughter of a small town doctor and owner of a pleasantly active imagination. Longing for some excitement that goes beyond the activities of her book club, Justina decides to set upon new arrival and very eligible bachelor, Darius Wainwright, as the perfect man to marry her much prettier and much more sensible older sister.

Jussy would be described by
A small village Regency Era Romance about five girls in a book club with this first story taking on the retelling of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice? Count me in! I was very enthused to try this new author and this new series. It has a light romping tone to it and the connection to Pride & Prejudice is visible though it has much originality too. I really wanted to like this one wholeheartedly and I liked most of what had drawn me toward the story, but the heroine didn't completely do it ...more
Sonya Heaney
Originally posted HERE .

This book did so many good things!

Something you should be aware of is that there is a free introductory novella to this series: Before the Kiss, and I really think it should be read first. There’s a whole crazy backstory for four of the characters and you’ll get much more out of the book by getting to know them that way.

Now, the funny thing is, I was really hesitant about Once Upon a Kiss. In the novella, our heroine is young, immature, a social disaster, and bordering o
Jan 19, 2016 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Once Upon a Kiss is the first book in the new series Book Club Belles Society by Jayne Fresina. I loved this book, it has a wonderful twist on Pride and Prejudice. The girls of the Book Club Belles are all different from one another each has a different personality type much like the sisters in P&P. You also have your Darcy and Bingley types and their unlikely friendship. The raving mother pushing her eldest daughter to marry, and the quiet but profound at times father, we even have the dash ...more
Lindsey ( United By Books Reviews)
Ohhhhh where to start.... I absolutely adored the book. Jayne Fresina kept me thoroughly entertained with her characters throughout the book. Leading lady Justina Penny had me dying laughing through most of the book. She is quite a character. Since she has condemned herself to spinsterhood, she figures if you’re gonna get in trouble, might as well make it count and boy does she ever. This intrigued Mr. Darius Wainwright. Though they have had an incident in the past, he is surprised to come acros ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Becca rated it it was amazing
What an adorable, fresh take on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice story! There were nods to Austen throughout the story--in quotes, characters, and plot lines. However, Fresina still managed to surprise me. When I first started reading, I had to adjust to the writing style, which is more long-winded and flowery than what I am used to in modern books. It actually reminds me of some of the classic novels in the writing style. Once I got used to the book's flow, I got sucked in and couldn't put the ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hallelujia!!!! An interesting heroine! A huge thank you to this author for giving us an awesome female! In The majority of books I read, the lead female is usually on the dull side. I'm always left wondering why the male even takes any interest in these lead females after every boring or bitchy conversation between the two characters. Because authors either make their females rude and bitchy to the male love interest in an attempt to make them seem feisty or harder to get or something or they ar ...more
Romancing the Book
Sep 01, 2015 Romancing the Book rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, romance
Reviewed by Robin
Book provided by the publisher for review
Originally posted at Romancing the Book

Let’s take a trip to Hawcombe Prior. Where I think you will find yourself laughing out loud. So you may want to watch who is around when you read this or maybe just keep them wondering…

If you are a fan of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice you will enjoy Ms. Fresina’s take on the classic. Everyone looks for their own Mr. Darcy with Justina being no different.

I loved the book club…where you find a grou
Julie LeMense
Jul 09, 2015 Julie LeMense rated it it was amazing
I have to say that I haven't enjoyed a book this much since Maggie Fenton's The Duke's Holiday, which was just a rollicking good time. Once Upon A Kiss shares many of that outstanding book's great qualities...a repressed and awkward hero, a completely unconventional heroine, and a pampered pig to boot. While reading it, I was very annoyed by any and all interruptions (imagine the audacity of a family waiting to be fed!) I highlighted thirty three passages that I just adored, but obviously should ...more
Justina Penny isn't very impressed with the book her club is reading. I mean, really, why would somebody choose a Mr. Darcy if there's a Mr. Wickham hanging around in the wings. And who in their right mind would be attracted to that dreadful Mr. Wainwright who's only in town to settle his uncle's estate? Just because the two of them have a past doesn't mean that she wants to have a future. Especially not with him.
Darius Wainwright has had his own problem with women. The one he truly loved ran of
Nov 14, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it
I've been hit or miss with historical romances lately -- a natural side effect of randomly selecting books off the library shelves -- and I really wanted a hit after the last miss, so I chose Once Upon a Kiss. This isn't my first Jayne Fresina, and I felt reasonably certain she'd deliver.

And she did. Oh, how she did! And better yet, I knew it by the first paragraph of the second chapter.

You see, characters and tension drive the plot of any book, and Jayne Fresina does such a good job of introduc
Jul 15, 2014 Annette rated it it was amazing
I am not a fan of books which try to alter Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This book does not alter anything, it simply uses the pattern to show the reader what we have in Once Upon A Kiss.

Justina Penny is the daughter of a doctor in a small village where nothing ever happens. So, Jussy tries to entertain her world with outrageous deeds and stories. She and her sister Cathy are part of the Book Club Belles. This is a group of young ladies who read together. The current book is Pride and Preju
Jun 06, 2014 Gaele rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I can’t imagine the kerfuffle at the time of Jane Austen’s release of Pride and Prejudice: wholly skewering of societal conventions. Jayne Fresina uses the book club and the story to contrast and inform the relationship that finds Justina with her first real beau.

As the book club meanders through the book, Justina (or Jussy) is wholly unconstrained: she is as different to prim and proper as can be described: always slightly disheveled, with a wonderful lack of self-consciousness and sense of fun
Jun 04, 2014 Miriam rated it really liked it
I met Darius and Justina in Before the Kiss, and I was thrilled to find out their story continued in Once Upon a Kiss.

In a world of prim and proper ladies, Justina's a breath of fresh air. She's wild and adventurous. She speaks her mind and doesn't usually listen to instruction. But you know what? That's okay. Her friends and sister, all members of the Book Club Belles Society, can be the prim and proper misses.

Oh God. While Justina had me in stitches with her antics, Darius had me smirking and
Jeanne Murray
Apr 06, 2014 Jeanne Murray rated it really liked it
I've come to appreciate Jayne Fresina's wit and clever, fast-paced narration, as well as her engaging characters. For both Darius and Justina, the past has shaped self images that are askew. Thus the interaction between them is all the sweeter. At first, the seeming opposites are hostile, but as these things go in romance, and sometimes in life, they find in each other exactly what is missing. This is a fun read, very clever.
Jun 25, 2014 HeatherJay rated it it was amazing
One of the best historical romance authors around.
Sep 07, 2015 KarenF rated it it was amazing
Super fun historical. I loved Justina & Darius and the allusions to Pride & Prejudice. I liked the friendship between the Book Club Belles and especially between the two sisters. The character have enough issues to keep them interesting but this isn't angsty at all (which is fine by me). It reminds me a bit if Tessa Dare in tone. And in the inclusion of an usual pet. I love pigs and Sir Mortimer Gubbins is no exception.
Jan 31, 2016 Rina1001 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justina (Jussy, really?! Ugh) drove me bat shit crazy in the beginning. I totally could not figure out what the hell Darius saw in her. I get she is young and her mother (and other people in town) treat her poorly. I get that sometimes when someone always has negative expectations of you that you might start to live up to them. But OMG. Her total immaturity was almost off putting. In fact, the last 35_40% of the novel was what saved it for me.

Justina did grow on me though. I definitely liked th
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 17, 2015 01:19PM  
  • A Rake by Any Other Name (Somerfield Park, #1)
  • Wicked, My Love (Wicked Little Secrets, #2)
  • To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield (Wicked Wagers, #1)
  • The Baron Next Door (Prelude to a Kiss, #1)
  • A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy, #3)
  • Have You Any Rogues? (Rhymes With Love, #2.5)
  • The Spinster Bride
  • To Charm a Naughty Countess (The Matchmaker Trilogy, #2)
  • A Christmas Dance
  • The Dangerous Viscount (The Burgundy Club, #2)
  • The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, #1)
  • Lady Lissa's Liaison (To Woo an Heiress, #1)
  • No Place for a Lady (Regency Rags to Riches, #1)
  • How to Catch a Wild Viscount
  • The Reluctant Countess
  • One Night with the Laird (Scottish Brides, #2)
  • Surprising Lord Jack (Duchess of Love, #2)
  • What a Wicked Earl Wants (The Sinful Scoundrels, #1)
Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England, the youngest in a family of four daughters. Entertained by her father's colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters - all with far more exciting lives than hers - she's always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines.
More about Jayne Fresina...

Other Books in the Series

Book Club Belles Society (3 books)
  • Sinfully Ever After (Book Club Belles Society, #2)
  • How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society, #3)

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“He knew then he was in danger. Very real danger. No woman had ever given him a gift or spoken to him as she did. Or tied him in these breathless knots. Or left him so aroused just by standing close and letting him hold her hand.” 1 likes
“What makes you think you can stop me?”
“I’m a lady, and you’re a gentleman.”
He smirked. “Are you sure about that?”
“About which?”
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