Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Impressions by Alexa Adams

In Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy begins his relationship with Elizabeth Bennet with the words: "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men." What would have happened if Mr. Darcy had never spoken so disdainfully? First Impressions explores how the events of Jane Austen's beloved novel would have transpired if Darcy and Elizabeth had danced together at the Meryton Assembly. Jane and Bingley's relationship blossoms unimpeded, Mary makes a most fortunate match, and Lydia never sets a foot in Brighton. Austen's witty style is authentically invoked in this playful romp from Longbourn to Pemberley.”

I was contacted by the lovely Alexa Adams asking me if I would like to review her trilogy, Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice, and I was only too happy to agree!  If you wish to read more about the entire trilogy and the reasons and inspiration for this trilogy then have a look at the Guest Post from Alexa Adams.

I was provided with a review copy but this is my honest, unbiased opinion. This ‘what if’ variation captured my intention as soon as I read the blurb – I had always wondered what might have happened had Darcy danced with Elizabeth at the Meryton assembly rather than insulting her, resulting in Elizabeth's opinion not being immediately prejudiced against this mysterious man, and their relationship beginning on a much happier note.

Summing up... This is Pride and Prejudice with all the same events taking place, but perhaps as they should (or rather, could) have happened, had all gone smoothly! I say ‘should have’, but I do not really mean ‘should’ – after all, Pride and Prejudice is Pride and Prejudice, and it is loved for all the misunderstandings and miscommunications between Darcy and Elizabeth! But, it is enjoyable to read a version of Pride and Prejudice where, for example, all carries on smoothly between Bingley and Jane and Elizabeth is warned much earlier of the true nature of Wickham and therefore does not fall for his charms.  Basically, all the things which while reading the original make you think ‘if only so and so had/hadn’t done this or that...’ happen that way in this variation.

It was a nice change to read a variation which keeps very close to the original - all the assemblies and events being the same - with only the slight (but important!) difference that Darcy and Elizabeth are favourably disposed towards one another. I haven’t read a variation which kept this close to the events of the original before, and I like it.  There were many familiar conversations from the original story coming up but with the addition of Darcy and Elizabeth's budding relationship being included; for example, the talk after the Meryton assembly between Jane and Elizabeth includes both Bingley and Darcy as they discuss the evening, both with big smiles and many girly giggles and feeling very happy! Also there is the talk with Charlotte Lucas about the importance of encouraging both Bingley AND Darcy in their affections.

It was a very strange variation to read, I will admit – I think the strangest aspect was reading the characters we know and love behave very differently and very unlike their normal selves, and it was bizarre to read - but fun! A few examples of what I mean by this... 
It was very extraordinary, but lovely, to see Mr Darcy being described in such a favourable light so soon in the story! Elizabeth thinking him agreeable and gentlemanly from the first moment of their acquaintance!  Mr Darcy also acts differently (and more beneficially for himself) in his actions.  Louisa Hurst, too, takes a different view towards Bingley’s attachment to Jane and also towards her sister Caroline’s continual pursuit of Mr Darcy!   And Mr Bennet decides to take an interest in his family and curb some of their more embarrassing behaviour! Bingley, too, is a more authoritative character and (perhaps most surprisingly) we are presented with a much more giving Lady Catherine de Bourgh – unheard of!

I always like to have some sort of description of the marriages and then the ‘happily ever afters’ which follow, as well as the futures of most of the other characters who have been part of the story and I was not disappointed here.

One of my favourite aspects to this story was the authoress’ style of writing - the narration style is very story like and the story is told in a very charming manner meaning it always remained interesting and never dragged.  Transitions between different settings and between characters are also very smooth – we have interactions, conversations and insight into the thoughts of many characters throughout the story!

I love the way she interacts with the reader - 'and so dear reader' type of thing - and when the author is talking almost directly to the reader like that, it makes it feel more personal which I enjoy.  Most of the time there was an omniscient narrator who knows all and who is always present, commenting and remarking on the unfolding events in a very funny manner, with satirical comments or rhetorical questions. One of my favourite examples of this would be when Darcy and Georgiana are reunited after an extended absence, and the narrator remarks, ‘after exchanging the mandatory pleasantries which must be attended to upon any reunion, regardless of their value conversationally, Darcy said, “I stop here...”’ – it’s just brilliant.  This way of speaking to the reader with the added sarcastic comments on society, mannerisms and etiquette is very much in the style of Jane Austen.

I am looking forward to the next two stories, seeing Kitty's and Charlotte's paths to love.
What I will admit is that I would have liked to have more romantic interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth, however that is just my romantic nature wanting more as I fully understand and appreciate that the focus of this variation is not the romance, but it is the humour and twists to the story and characters! And anyway, there were still enjoyable moments of sweet words and shared looks.

I found it a very refreshing change to read a story which was low on misunderstandings and angst, where everything goes to plan and unfolds as it should with minimal problems!  It may not be a favourite variation romantically, but it is most certainly a favourite for the comical style and for the uniqueness of the story. 

Your affectionate friend,
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Alexa Adams: Guest Post

I have recently become acquainted with the lovely Alexa Adams, author of Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice, when she contacted me asking if I would like to review her trilogy for her. I was very happy to oblige and I am very much looking forward to reading all three stories.

First Impressions:
In Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy begins his relationship with Elizabeth Bennet with the words: "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present togive consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men." What would have happened if Mr. Darcy had never spoken so disdainfully? First Impressions explores how the events of Jane Austen's beloved novel would have transpired if Darcy and Elizabeth had danced together at the Meryton Assembly. Jane and Bingley's relationship blossoms unimpeded, Mary makes a most fortunate match, and Lydia never sets a foot in Brighton. Austen's witty style is authentically invoked in this playful romp from Longbourn to Pemberley.

Second Glances:
“Yes, but he is Darcy, after all. Can you imagine the lady who would reject him?”
Sir James laughed. “I don't know; if he had made a muddle of a first impression upon his wife, as I have on Miss Bennet, then perhaps his gentlemanly status would have undergone similar attack.”
A year has passed since the conclusion of First Impressions, and the marriages made by the three eldest Bennet ladies are prospering. Expectations are high for the two youngest sisters to do equally well. Kitty, having excelled in school, receives an invitation to join Georgiana Darcy in her first London season, leaving Lydia to bear the burden of the classroom alone. Will the most forward Bennet tolerate such inequity?
Kitty arrives in London prepared to be happy, but her delight is marred when she finds a most unwelcome gentleman on intimate terms with her hosts. She has met the reckless Sir James Stratton before and would like nothing more than to never encounter him again, but his acquaintance she is forced to endure. Struggling for firm footing amidst the whirlwind of London society, will Kitty be allowed to follow her heart, or will her family force her hand? Join the reimagined cast of Pride and Prejudice as they pursue happiness amidst the ongoing obstacles of life, love, and interfering relations.

Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters:
"Charlotte smiled from across the room at the man’s obvious devotion to her friend. Such attachment was very charming, undoubtedly, and when it came to an end, as it was most certain to do, they would have abundant good fortune to keep the inevitable aggravations with each other to a minimum."
Both a Christmas celebration and conclusion to Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice, Holidays at Pemberley begins where First Impressions ends, with the marriage Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, and spans the course of Second Glances to conclude their story. As the Darcys enjoy their first years of marriage, Charlotte Lucas is often invited to join them. Watching as the Bennet sisters, one by one, marry to both outrageous advantage and with great affection, her only ambition remains independence and respectability, stubbornly blind to the virtues of a love match. Miss Lucas thinks she has found an acceptable husband in David Westover, rector of Kympton and determined bachelor, but he remains oblivious to the implications of befriending a Miss Lucas. It may mean some heartbreak, but if Mrs. Darcy's pragmatic friend will only surrender to Cupid, she may find wild fantasies do come true, even for ladies dangerously close to thirty.

Before I come to read the stories I was interesting in asking her the reasons behind her trilogy and what spurred her to write them, and this was her response...

"Mrs. Darcy graciously asked here to describe how I came to write my Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice trilogy, but I honestly never set out to write a series at all. My first book, First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice, was written very quickly, completely by hand, and without any intention of showing it to anyone but my husband. The story was inspired by the enormous quantity of Austenesque I reading at the time, and my ongoing quest for a book that would fulfill my dreams and hopes for Elizabeth and Darcy. Much of First Impressions is a reaction to the many overly dramatic and highly sexualized interpretations of Pride and Prejudice I came across, when all I wanted was a book that would give me more of Lizzy’s laughter (I’m in the right place!) and Darcy’s smiles.

I poorly imitated Austen’s habit everything up nice and tidy at the end of the book, “impatient to restore everybody, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.” Mostly because I did not know what to do with her and needed a neat ending, Georgiana Darcy’s fate was left unresolved. I really had no intention of continuing her story until readers started requesting I do so, but Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Continues quickly became more about Kitty than Georgiana. It’s a rather raucous tale, intentionally silly and lighthearted, and in no small part inspired by the Georgette Heyer historical romances I was plowing through at the time. I did try to impose a bit more drama and conflict than can be found in First Impressions, also at the prompting of readers, but I don’t think it diminished the humor of the story.

I wanted to provide Charlotte Lucas (who never married Mr. Collins in my version of events) with her own happy ending during the course of Second Glances, but I cut her almost completely from the story in editing, as I just couldn’t make the timeline fit. This inspired Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Concludes, which was just released this fall. The story spans the previous two books and focuses on Charlotte’s trips to Pemberley for the winter holidays over the course of three years. The Darcys have a long tradition of hosting a Twelfth Night ball, and I used this time of gathering for family and friends to bring Charlotte together with her hero, while also resolving a few other fates left unsettled. We all have our own expectations for Austen’s characters, and this trilogy is a projection of mine. I am entirely indebted to those authors who pioneered the genre, as well as the nurture and support of the wonderful online community of Austen fans. As long as they keep asking for more of my stories, I will continue writing them, for there’s no such thing as too much Darcy."

Again, I am looking forward to all three stories. And thank you again to Alexa Adams for providing me with the opportunity to review these stories! Keep watching for the reviews which I will post in the next few weeks.

Your affectionate friend,
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Would Mr Darcy Do? and The Darcy’s of Derbyshire by Abigail Reynolds

I have just finished What Would Mr Darcy Do? and it was very good and is now my favourite story by Abigail Reynolds,  although I did enjoy Mr Darcy's Obsession  as well as the novella recently released, The Darcy’s of Derbyshire (which I will also be posting my thoughts on at the end of this post.) But for now, back to What Would Mr Darcy Do?  

“There's only one gentleman to turn to when a lady is in desperate need of answers...
With scandal descending on the Bennet family (again), Elizabeth absolutely refuses to drag Mr. Darcy's name into this shocking situation. But how on earth is she going to get her family out of trouble this time without his involvement? Hiding things from Mr. Darcy is getting more and more impossible, especially since he's started letting his feelings show...”

I’d always wanted Darcy to give some assurance to Elizabeth before leaving the inn that fateful day in Lambton and so this variation sounded very interesting to me.  The opening scene when Darcy makes clear his feelings and is assuring Elizabeth that he does not wish to severe the acquaintance between them because of Lydia’s recent behaviour.  Darcy certainly has a very successful way of comforting and assuring Elizabeth!

The development of certain well-known characters such as Bingley and Georgiana are great to see in this variation.  I particularly love Georgiana – she begins to grow in confidence, and she builds a wonderful relationship with Elizabeth and is a very useful source of information for Elizabeth in finding out more about her brother.  One of my favourite aspects between these two is their correspondence; it allows them to become closer and there are many fun (and important) revelations in these letters, as well as few lessons in the art of teasing! Georgiana also builds up a fun relationship with both Mary and Kitty (which is to be expected given their similarity in age).   

The Gardiners also are brilliant and very... useful in this story. They are very sweet towards both Elizabeth and Darcy (Mr Gardiner towards Mr Darcy in particular) and are helpful in dropping the odd hint or conveniently letting slip a piece of information (or concealing certain knowledge!) in the hopes it will help promote the growing relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth.  Mr Bennet was another interesting character and he and Mr Darcy have a very amusing relationship.  

Now to the main two character of the story; Elizabeth and Darcy both go through a rollercoaster of emotions. The extent of the love they feel for one and another causes them both pain. He is terrified at losing her again and she is very upset at any thought of Darcy losing his affections for her.  It is clear how they both require that security of marriage to be completely happy - both have a talent for misunderstanding each other (not to mention Elizabeth completely misjudging Darcy at first and Darcy being rejected in the most insensitive manner imaginable!) and so I think this behaviour is perfectly reasonable, and at times it is very touching to read.  This story is very Elizabeth and Darcy focused, the majority of the scenes being between them (which is always a bonus) and I enjoyed seeing such an extended courtship and engagement as we are privy to in this variation and seeing the ease of conversation growing between them - normally in variations they get engaged, get married, the end.

I have already said how this is a very Darcy and Elizabeth focused story, and this means that this is a variation full of romance.  There are so many scenes which are beautifully romantic (perfect for a hopeless romantic like myself!)  and my heart was melting most of the time! This is one of Abigail Reynolds clean variations, but it is quite a passionate story, with many (many!) stolen kisses.

When the wedding day finally arrives (I would have warned you of the spoiler, but really, we all know what is going to happen in the end!) the description of the day is perfect.  It still amazes me how with every variation I read the final joining and security of marriage continues to have the same effect on me, even though I know it is, of course, going to happen!  I felt particularly happy with this one, and the relief and joy I felt when they finally married is always a good indication of the quality of the writing and the depth and emotions the authoress can create in her beloved characters.

I liked having an epilogue which is not set years into the future, describing their children and such things. It was a nice change to read how the couple are getting on just a few months into their marriage.  The book also ended in the same inn in Lambton where it began, which created a lovely loop and provided a perfect end to a wonderful story. This was a very passionate and romantic story showing the importance of trust in a relationship which has already been through many trials and tribulations!  

And now my thoughts on the Novella The Darcy's of Derbyshire...

What are Men to Rocks and Mountains?  Elizabeth Bennet longs to see the view from the famous Black Rocks in Derbyshire, but her aunt and uncle refuse to allow her to climb to the highest rock outcroppings alone. Elizabeth's distress is only worsened by a chance encounter with Mr. Darcy -- at least until he offers to escort her to the top. But unbeknownst to her, the Black Rocks have a very special meaning for him. As Darcy tells her the tale of his parents' courtship and marriage, Elizabeth, like Darcy's mother before her, is forced to confront the true power of family and destiny atop the Black Rocks. Please note that this story is a novella, not a full-length novel.”

I greatly enjoyed this novella by Abigail Reynolds – it was a very sweet little book with a great story! Hearing the account of Darcy’s parent’s courtship gave great background and a new dimension to Darcy’s character and a real insight into his childhood which was fascinating.

I thought it was very clever how as Darcy begins to tell the tale to Elizabeth, instead of just hearing his account, it jumps back to the time and we see the story unfold as it is happening. It was a very endearing story between his parents and I felt myself being drawn into just as much as Elizabeth was! When we return to the present and see the effect and true implication of this romance between his parents in relation to the current Mr Darcy and Elizabeth and the scenes which follow are very romantic... But I do not wish to give anything away.

This was a really sweet little story and very unique and unlike any other variation I have read before. The use of his parent’s courtship in aiding the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth was a novel idea, and I enjoyed the detailed insight this story gave into Darcy's continued and ardent love and admiration of Elizabeth. It was an enjoyable escape into the world of Darcy and Elizabeth for an hour or two.

Your affectionate friend,
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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Jane Game: A Jane Austen Trivia Board Game

"The Jane Game is a trivia board game devoted to Jane Austen’s six novels. It is designed to bring Austen admirers together to share in her stories, characters, wit and language. While playing, each participant enters Jane’s world as one of her heroines. As such, you seek after a fortunate life by becoming an accomplished woman, gaining life experience and choosing to marry or not. Through chance, expertise and choice you could become the envied Mrs. Darcy, the pitied Mrs. Collins or the new roommate of Miss Bates."

I had seen and heard a lot about this new game and I was thrilled to be asked to help in spreading the word by the lovely Elizabeth Bankhead. This game has just been launched on the website Kickstarter and needs all the backing it can get to ensure that this brilliant game becomes a reality. To find out more about this game and to back it, follow this link.

Below is the press release article...

Kickstarter Launch

Salt Lake City, Utah -- Elizabeth Bankhead of Salt Lake and team unveils “The Jane Game: A Jane Austen Trivia Board Game” on Kickstarter Nov. 20 to make it available for Austen fans. The game can be pre-ordered on Kickstarter until Dec. 14, 2013.

Bankhead has given her heart to the game’s development for nearly five years and has seen it progress from a good idea to a beautiful product which provides a diverting experience for any Janeite. With Kickstarter’s pre-order funds supplementing her own initial investment, Bankhead plans to produce the game for Austen admirers’ enchantment.

“Five years ago my mother and I dreamed up “The Jane Game” during Christmas vacation,” Bankhead said. “A year later I decided to start the journey of bringing it to its full potential. The road has been longer than expected, but, then, the game has surpassed what I initially imagined it to be.”

In “The Jane Game” each player starts as one of Austen’s seven heroines and seeks after a fortunate life. This fortunate life is best achieved by becoming an accomplished woman, gaining life experience and by marrying well. Through a little chance, wise choices and Austen trivia expertise, you could end up as the envied Mrs. Darcy, the pitied Mrs. Collins or not marry at all and be Miss Bates’ new roommate.

“I feel like I stepped into Jane Austen’s world for an evening,” said a play-tester, which encompasses Bankhead’s main goal while designing the game.

“The Jane Game” fosters an evening of conversation centered on one of history’s most beloved authors as those who play reminisce over her stories, characters, world and wit. All who wish to walk into Jane Austen’s bygone era with friends can become a founding contributor to “The Jane Game” and pre-order it before Dec. 14.

As I said, this game sounds like a lot of fun and I really hope it receives all the backing it needs. So visit to find out more and to help in making this game a reality!

Your affectionate friend,
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Journey by Jan Hahn

I have just finished reading my second variation by Jan Hahn after thoroughly enjoying An Arranged Marriage .The Journey was equally as brilliant - it was nice to read a variation which was full of proper adventure and real danger!

"Danger: Shortly after the Netherfield ball, Elizabeth Bennet begins a journey to visit her relations in London with her travelling companions, Mr. Bingley's sisters and the proud, arrogant Mr. Darcy. Suddenly, their carriage is abruptly stopped, and Elizabeth hears the menacing cry, "Stand and deliver!" Abduction: The leader of a band of highwaymen, Nate Morgan, a handsome, masked rogue, plans to seize Elizabeth for his amusement, but Darcy steps forward and offers himself as a hostage in her place. When his proposal fails to secure Elizabeth's release, Darcy makes a shocking declaration-Elizabeth is his wife! Romance: At a time when a woman's future could be ruined by the slightest hint of scandal, Elizabeth's reputation will depend not only upon the actions of a hero but a villain as well. Filled with danger, excitement, daring and passion, The Journey follows Jane Austen's beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice as they embark on a fateful journey that changes their lives forever."

Having been captured by highwaymen, the situation allows for very different sides to Darcy and Elizabeth to come to light. Darcy shows great bravery and quick thinking in the face of danger as well as great compassion in offering to give himself for ransom instead of Elizabeth - the extent to which he will protect Elizabeth is touching.  Elizabeth's independent nature helps in this situation - she is a feisty one! Her bravery throughout the whole ordeal is remarkable.

I really enjoyed seeing the two of them have to face such appalling circumstances and learn to really trust each other and live without the luxuries they are accustomed to. As well as this, seeing them play the part of a happily married couple when they are arguing all the time when the highwaymen aren’t around is quite amusing – they switch between moments of genuine compassion to anger, heated arguments back to teasing banter! As they try to cope with such peril the image of an unshaven and unkempt looking Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley trekking through the woods covered in mud, falling in rivers and hiding from highwaymen (as well as being forced to travel with a pig - yes, you did read that correctly!) is all completely unheard of and a very strange situation to find them in! It was very interesting though, seeing them in such a situation, facing the elements and struggling for survival - Elizabeth sums it up when she laughs at herself for worrying about her soon to be ruined reputation when she currently fears for her life!

The character and leader of the highwaymen Nate Morgan brought an interesting addition to the story - one of which is competition for Darcy!  Elizabeth seems to develop a soft spot for this particular highwaymen - the highwayman who also seems to have a soft spot for Elizabeth and who is showing her undue attention compared to what a prisoner should receive!

Once the adventure is over and they have returned to civilisation now the problem arises from the fact that Darcy and Elizabeth have spent three days - and nights - in the same room! Unfortunately for the romantic Lizzy who wishes to marry for nothing but the deepest love, everyone is assuming she will marry Darcy - but she isn't going to accept him just like that, oh no. Darcy, clearly in love with Lizzy, is very downcast by this rejection but does he walk away? Of course not!  Mr Darcy remains the gentleman and does all in his power to save her from the gossip columns, as well as some other things to help and please her which I will not disclose in this review. How he can be still so considerate when she has refused him... What a gentleman.

Of course, the happy ending we expect and love does eventually come around and it is wonderfully romantic... As are many scenes which follow but again, you must read it for yourself as I don't which to ruin it for you!

In the final chapter we get a few glimpses into their life after marriage as well as the fates of other characters from the story, which I always like to red.  It was very interesting seeing the Wickham and Lydia situation take place when they are married - I always wondered how he would act if he had already secured her. There is also a fantastic epilogue which was very clever and a perfect and completely fitting ending for this particular story. 

This was a brilliant story full of adventure, danger and romance. I look forward to the next book from this author which I believe is being published shortly! 

Your affectionate friend,
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Saturday, November 09, 2013

Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven by Beth Deitchman

"The last Bennet daughter remaining at Longbourn, Mary leads a quiet life in Hertfordshire, where gossip about the intriguing new vicar provides the only entertainment. Having developed a taste for novels, Mary lives vicarious adventures through their heroines. But when a mysterious book arrives addressed to her, she embarks on a magical and thrilling adventure of her own. In London she meets Mr. Hartbustle, a charming old bookseller, who invites her to a meeting of the famed Bloomsbury Coven. There she learns about their dreadful enemy, known only as the Glastonbury Sorcerer, who has stolen a very powerful book of spells. Before long Mary finds herself at the centre of a deadly war between light and dark forces.   Set in Jane Austen's England a year after the events of Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven is the first book of the Regency Magic Series, whimsical tales of magic and manners published by Luminous Creatures Press."

Ok. I admit it.  Jane Austen + Harry Potter = a combination I would not usually go for. However, when I was contacted by the lovely Beth Deitchman I thought it would be fun to give this story a shot – although I admit I was a little dubious.  Having said that, Mary Bennet is a character very little explored in the original and so I was looking forward to reading a story developing her character further. And as it turns out, I had no need to be doubtful as I really, really enjoyed it, reading it in one sitting as I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next!

I very much enjoyed seeing more to the unexplored Mary Bennet – although her character takes a very different and magical turn from the Mary Bennet we know.  It was fun to see a side to Mary who has finally discovered the pleasure in reading novels – the works of Mrs Radcliffe and such – as opposed to only reading books to inform your mind and refine your moral opinions. It is this which accidently lands Mary with a magic book for beginners.

Mary, seeing this as her opportunity to live a more exciting life, decides to read this unexpected book and so begins her journey to sorcery!  I really found it rather amusing seeing magic spells being used in the refined and polite world of regency England, as Mary begins practicing her new found skills causing confusion with moving tea cups, infatuations with old gardeners, rather slippery fans and flying violin bows! It made me laugh as it is such an unusual and funny setting for magic!

The whole story and mystery surrounding the Bloomsbury Coven and the illusive Glastonbury Sorcerer was very intriguing.  Throughout the story, I found it harder and harder to work out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys – my trust in all the different characters kept wavering and I couldn’t make my mind up about who to trust! I had my suspicions some of which were confirmed, but some which were not, but then something else would happen, making you reconsider what you first thought only a few chapters beforehand!

The relationship between Mary the different members of her family was nice to see;  I always thought it is a shame the sisters are so divided in Pride and Prejudice, so it was nice to see a new relationship between Jane, Lizzy and Mary, and even Kitty to some extent.  Also, Mr and Mrs Bennet were fun as well.  All the characters (apart from Mary, obviously) seemed to stay true to their original characters which is always great because I like characters to remain true to themselves in fan fiction. The relationship between Mary and her parents was my favourite; now that all the other sisters have left Longbourn, her parents begin to take more notice of their plainest daughter - especially her father.  I enjoyed Mr Bennet in this story – I always knew Mr Bennet was cleverer and more observant than he cared to let on!  But I shall say no more on this subject.

I am finding this a hard review to write as I do not wish to give anything away – you need to read it for yourself to find out what happens!  Safe to say, there are many new characters to love as well as those to hate, and there is a bit of romance thrown into the mix for all you romantics out there, just like me!  There is an exciting climatic battle to this story (which wasn’t too drawn out and overly long which I was pleased about), and it was great to see all the spells coming together which had cropped up before in the story.  

This was such a well written book, if a little short (but then “if a book is well written, I always find it too short”) and it flows brilliantly and the story never drags.  It was full of excitement with battles, mystery and adventure! Most characters kept true to the characters we know and love, while others take an exciting and very different route.  I enjoyed this story a lot more than I was expecting to as it was Jane Austen meets Harry potter - however, if you enjoy Harry Potter and you enjoy Jane Austen and her Regency England (as I do) I can assure you that the combination of the two very different worlds does work rather well, however strange it may seem! I was unsure about this story, but I can assure you that this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you are looking for a story with fast paced adventure with delightful humour, intriguing mystery and an adorable romance thrown in, then this is a highly enjoyable book which I would recommend you read.  I am really looking forward to the next instalment of this Regency magic series!  

Your affectionate friend,
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