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21st Century Austen #3

Love and War in Woodhouse Hall

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Amelia is stuck in the worst dorm on campus for a whole year! She’ll have to make the best of it in Woodhouse Hall and her roommate Jenna will be her new best friend, Amelia’s sure of that. Jenna’s sweet personality and openness to new things incite the matchmaking-genius in Amelia to find the perfect boyfriend for her new bestie. She shoots high by attempting to entice Eric, the President of the Student Government, to fall for her roommate. Amelia’s past success makes her confident they will be a couple in no time. When that turns out to be a disaster, she is forced to face the lies she's told herself about her strengths and her assumptions about the people she loves. Over the year, Amelia learns who she is, what she wants, and how to fight for what's really important.

This novel, inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, will have you laughing, crying, and finding a little of yourself in one or all of the characters.


First published October 28, 2019

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About the author

Sara Marks

25 books51 followers
Born in Boston, MA and raised in Miami, FL, Sara has two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated. She now lives in Lowell, MA and is a librarian at UMass Lowell. She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess and winning with the most degrees in her family. She cries at nearly every movie she sees (ask her about when she cried at a horror movie), but it’s full-on weeping for Disney animated movies. She loves reading nearly every genre but likes to write romance and fantasy books. Her heroines are women who don't want the expected life, rarely worrying about their age, weight, marriageability, or fertility.

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5 stars
3 (13%)
4 stars
11 (47%)
3 stars
3 (13%)
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3 (13%)
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,782 reviews289 followers
October 20, 2019

As soon as I saw the email from Xpresso Tours for the new Sara Marks, I knew I wanted to read it immediately as A) I have enjoyed Sara's past books and B) readers of my blog will know that I am a sucker when it comes to renditions of classic novels and variants of Austen's tales are one of my weaknesses. Woodhouse Hall is a rendition of Jane Austen's story Emma. As those will remember from the Clueless movie with Alicia Silverstone, Emma was quite self-absorbed and oblivious and naive about things relating to herself but she really loved matchmaking and setting people up on dates and seemed to know what was best for everyone. Our Emma in Woodhouse Hall is Amelia who is in her second year of college and staying in the Woodhouse Hall dorm thanks to her best friend Adam who is the RA of the dorms. He is the one person that Amelia can rely on as he is always there. The book starts off with her getting a new roommate Jenna and along the way trying to set Jenna up with Eric who is the president of the SLG aka Student Government. The thing is though that Jenna likes someone else and Eric does too but due to Amelia's oblivious nature, she doesn't take note and heads down on a destructive path which eventually leads to attempted assault, friendship break-ups and a whole lot of chaos and mayhem. The second storyline that runs in the background is trying to save Woodhouse Hall from being demolished as if that goes then those who chose to live here due to the affordability will have to leave.Can Amelia not only find love for herself and her mistakes be rectified and everyone gets their HEA but also save Woodhouse Hall rents from rising?
Find out in this fun rendition of Emma by Sara Marks, that fans of College Fiction, New Adult stories, and Jane Austen will love and enjoy.
Profile Image for Elin Eriksen.
Author 17 books90 followers
October 29, 2019
Contemporary romance inspired by Emma

A sweet and chaste book, inspired by Jane Austen's Emma.

Not the most thrilling plot I have read as the question of demolishing/rebuilding the Woodhouse dorm is considered but I really liked the interpersonal relationships. It is perhaps written with young adults as the target group but it was not naive in its expression.

Profile Image for Melissia Bruehl.
214 reviews46 followers
October 24, 2019
Read my full review here: https://booksandsassylilacs.com/woodh...

Growing up in a college town, I do love stories set on campus. I put on my College Days spotify playlist, filled with songs that range from G. Love and the Special Sauce to Dave Matthews to Shania Twain. A book with dorm life, romance, student government, it was really very enjoyable!

Bottom Line: If you love campus reads, give it a go! Trigger-warning for sexual assault.

Why I Picked It Up: It’s another Blog Tour! I’m on a number of email lists to be a host for these Blog Tours. Until recently I didn’t look too closely at them but a number have come through, including this one, that look fun to me! I do love the idea of supporting authors to get the word out about their books while sharing honest reviews at the same time. As I mentioned earlier, campus life is a comfort to me. Not only growing up in a college town, but I loved college!

It is inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, and I have to admit I have never read any Jane Austen books so I can’t give you much comparison. I can still be a book blogger after I admit that, right?

What I Loved
I really enjoyed the good mix of characters. Some I really liked, and some I really didn’t, but such a good mix of both!
As I’ve mentioned, I do enjoy reading about campus life. I wasn’t in Student Government but reading this book I really wish I was! Dorm life, student government and studying for exams ugh. Things I wish I could go back and do and some I certainly don’t!
I enjoyed seeing Amelia’s character arc, what she learned about herself both as a friend and as a growing professional.
Tough topics, I do love a book with tough topics. This book managed to make them still feel a bit light but unfortunately sexual assault, and sexism is definitely a thing people have to deal with. Unfortunately when I was in school this is something that happened but wasn’t really talked about but luckily it’s talked about more now.
Sara Marks is a new author to me and I enjoyed her writing. According to Goodreads this is a third in a “series” but appears to be a standalone so don’t worry about that!
So, what didn’t I like?
I can’t think of much, is that good or bad? I guess one thing I would say is that there are some unlikeable characters which I addressed above. BUT, there should be unlikeable characters, right?
The ending was maybe a bit too wrapped up in a bow, but that’s really the type of book this is, so I suppose that isn’t necessarily bad either. Just something to enjoy when it actually does happen.
Profile Image for Maureen.
355 reviews12 followers
October 22, 2019
If you like Austen variations, then you'll love this modern day Emma set at a university. Amelia thinks she's a great match-maker and understands what everyone needs. But is she seeing clearly? And what of her own heart? It's clear the author is very familiar with dorm-life, college politics, and the vagaries of young love. This was a fun re-telling of one of my favorites!
Profile Image for Lilly.
373 reviews18 followers
October 24, 2019
The blurb for this book is right to the point. It had many funny moments, it has crazy situations, mix-ups and so much more! It made me feel all the right things and for that I am more than grateful!

Amelia is experiencing the college life to its fullest. Living on campus, having a roommate, trying to find love for others instead of herself. You know, the usual stuff. She is one of the likeable characters in Woodhouse and her intentions are good, though not needed. I am not willing to divulge much more, as I may spoil things, but I can tell you that you are in for a treat!

Being an “Emma” retelling, you know more or less what to expect, but the author surprises us with elements that make the story richer and more entertaining. Not always things are what they seam and not always the good intentions have a good outcome. These are just some of the lessons we see in Sara Marks’ story.

I liked as well how we follow not only the romance around campus, but as well some more serious aspects, like sexual assault or trying to save a house full of students. The combination of these elements and the friendships and misunderstandings and everything else is well executed.

The quick ending is what set me back a little, I would have liked to see a more developed conclusion. But I cannot give less than 4 stars. It’s a “feel-good” book, with a positive vibe. It was relaxing to read it and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Give it a try and come back with your thoughts 😊 Happy Reading!
Profile Image for ana darcy.
241 reviews6 followers
January 7, 2021
Entertaining modern variation of "Emma"

I like how the characters are sorted in the book.
"Mr Elton" is worst here.
"Jane Fairfax" is a bit of a mix of opinions for me.
"Harriet Smith" is pretty nice.
"Mr Knightley" is adorable :)
698 reviews1 follower
February 9, 2023
Audiobook: On the whole, this story was entertaining. I appreciated the elements that linked this contemporary work with Jane Austen's novel titled, "Emma". The issue I had with this retelling was that there were issues of a more sensitive nature that were incorporated in this story, but there wasn't any notification of that anywhere. Sharmila Devar's narration was mediocre, and she paused too long between sentences making it seem as if she was reading to a child rather than an adult. I was given a free copy of the audiobook, and I have voluntarily posted this review.
Profile Image for Michelle .
1,997 reviews226 followers
September 3, 2020
Woodhouse Hall is a young adult/new adult contemporary romance by Sara Marks. Woodhouse Hall is a re-imagining of Jane Austen's Emma, and I was super excited to read it. Upon first glance, it ticked off so many of my boxes- college dorm room setting, match making, romance. Seemed like it would be a cute read. Unfortunately, I did not love this book. In fact, it irritated me to no end, which is a real shame because this is normally the type of story that I would really enjoy. My biggest disappointment with the story were the characters themselves.

 In Woodhouse Hall we meet our main character Amelia who is assigned to the worst dorm on campus, Woodhouse Hall. Amelia is our Emma, who is trying to set up her roommate Jenna with the student council president. There is also another storyline going on at the same time, of the demolition of Woodhouse Hall. I actually enjoyed the plotline of the story, but Amelia drove me up a wall. I found her to be completely immature. This book is college aged, which places it in the new adult age range but our main character was even too immature for young adult books, in my opinion. In true Emma fashion, she butts into other people's business with no regard for what they actually want. But she was way less endearing than Emma, and there was no character growth for Amelia, which ultimately frustrated me. 

Amelia didn't listen to Jenna, didn't listen to Adam, didn't listen to Eric. She just didn't listen. And I kept hoping that she would but I was disappointed. All of her interactions felt very juvenile and one sided. When she finally "got it" the whole thing felt very forced. Bottom line: This book was just not for me. But if you are a big fan of Emma, and if you want a college book that fells like young adult, this might be a good option for you. 
October 23, 2019
*** 3.5 Stars ***

Woodhouse Hall by Sara Marks, a modern take on Jane Austen's Emma, is a new adult, chick-lit/women's fiction novel told entirely from the first-person viewpoint of Amelia, our modern-day Emma. Although not technically a romance, it does include a subtle, friends to lovers subplot.

Amelia, a college junior with a last-minute housing emergency, ends up living in the Woodhouse Hall dorms thanks to her best friend, Adam, the RA. A well-intentioned, meddling matchmaker, she determines to set up her roommate, Jenna, with Eric the SGA president. Due to Amelia's oblivious nature, chaos ensues and her efforts end in disaster. Meanwhile, the college students are in a battle with campus administration over plans for next school year to demolish or renovate Woodhouse Hall, the most affordable dorm on campus.

Can Amelia fix her mistakes, save her friendships, and find her own HEA? Can she win the war for Woodhouse Hall by finding a way to keep housing costs from rising? Give it a read to find out.

Woodhouse Hall is a lighthearted, fun college story. Overall, an enjoyable read.

*** I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC. ***
69 reviews1 follower
October 28, 2019
Due to some complications, Amelia doesn't have a dorm at the beginning of school year. But her friend and the resident assistant of Woodhouse hall, the worst dorm of college, gets her a room. She is determined to make the best of this year, and when she meetJenna, her new roommate, Amelia decides to play matchmaking with Jenna and her friend Erick. Encouraged by a previous successful couple matching, she plays with different situations to get the results she wants. But you can't force love to happen, or can you?
Throughout the book you'll meet all the various characters that live in the dorm, and how fortuitous factors can get people together and force them to know each other.
This is an amazing story, based on Jane Austen's Emma.  It's engaging and with surprises, couldn't put it down until the end.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

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