REVIEW of “Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Persuasion” by Regina Jeffers

Each lover has a theory of his own about the difference between thee ache of being with his love, and being alone. (W.H. Auden, “Alone” – Regina Jeffers uses poems or parts of poems in every chapter.)

I have to admit that I was really eager to read Persuasion from Captain Wentworth’s perspective because after reading Darcy’s P&P and Edmund Bertram’s MP, I could not wait until reading lovely Frederick’s account of the story: when he decided that Anne was his soul mate after arriving at Kellynch, his thought about the Miss Musgroves or Anne´s family, his almost extreme jealousy, etc.

From my point of view Regina Jeffers has recreated his thought well enough. However, the part that I have enjoyed more is what is not told by Jane Austen in Persuasion: what happens after the engagement?

Could you imagine Anne standing up to his father and Lady Russell? Could you imagine Anne being a bit cheeky when talking about Mrs Benwick with Frederick? Could you imagine Anne being secretive? Maybe you could but I highly recommend reading how Regina Jeffers has described her and how her personality glows when she is with her love, Frederick.

How do you think Anne deals with the life in a ship during war time? What happens if she almost loses his husband? What happens when she is facing a better life than she ever expected?

I like the way Anne is developed and obviously I enjoy the adoring Captain Wentworth and his undying love for Anne.

As you could have realised my favourite part is the sequel to Persuasion, this sequel is intertwined with the story by Jane Austen, Regina Jeffers starts on the same point as the original but mixes that story with the sequel. It is a good idea as Wentworth is thinking about his life with Anne while he is severely wounded.

I have read several JAFF books by Regina Jeffers and I highly recommend them, have a look on Amazon for instance and check the reviews, I will post reviews of her books as soon as I can. However, I have already reviewed one of her books that I really liked: Mr. Darcy’s Fault. I have read a few that I would like to reread but I have also taken advantage of her amazing sale for Mother’s Day and I bought three more that I did not have!

(picture from her website)

4out5 stars

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REVIEW of “The Houseguest” by Elizabeth Adams

What a torture if you have the love of your life at home during three weeks and you are clueless of how to behave! (apart from a gentleman-like manner, obviously!)

The Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams is a very nice variation of Pride and Prejudice that starts after the Netherfield ball and we can see an active Georgiana asking her brother permission to go and visit him and Mr Bingley in Hertfordshire. As usual, Mr Darcy cannot deny anything to her lovely sister, so she arrives to visit looking forward to meet Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a neighbour who has been mentioned several times in Darcy´s letters.

Elizabeth and Georgiana become “besties” quite quickly as Georgiana is in need of female companionship. Darcy is content for her sister as she is happy having a friend to share things with.

What we know next is Darcy coming back to London after a trip to Somerset where he helped some family members to manage their state. Darcy is always the perfect relative… yes and no, he totally cares about his family but he also needs to forget Elizabeth as he thinks he must do his duty and marry properly. As I mentioned, he arrives to Darcy House in London and he has a guest, his sister’s best friend and the woman he loves.

Fitzwilliam Darcy struggles as he tried to be polite but not too involve with his houseguest. However as the Spanish saying more or less says “with the contact, affection grows” and in this case Darcy cares about her and having her in his house it is a big torture. After some time, he realises that he is his own master and he should not care what other people thinks about his choice, he chooses love, he chooses Elizabeth. Here starts his plan to conquer her heart but we know how Darcy is, very determined but sometimes he does overlook the feelings of others. How is he going to react when there are possible suitors for Elizabeth encouraged by his own aunt Lady Matlock? How is he going to behave in a silly snow game? How is he going to react when Elizabeth disappears without leaving any explanation apart from a short note to Georgiana? How is he going to act when he realises that he is the only one to blame for her running away?

“I merely heard something that I was not meant to hear and it was not pleasant, and now I find myself rather disillusioned.” (Elizabeth said)

You need to buy and read The Houseguest by Elizabeth Adams in order to answer all this questions and see if Elizabeth and Darcy are able to find love together and if so, how are they going to do it?

“Would you like to hear about naughty little Lizzy, or troublesome Elizabeth?” (Elizabeth)

“I think I’d like naughty little Lizzy best.” (Darcy)

I would like to mention Lady Matlock as she has been a very nice character to follow and she is quite similar to Mrs Bennet in “hobbies”.

Here I leave you with one lovely dress. Why do I put this picture? Read the book 😉

red dress

 

 

4out5 stars

(pictures from: cover, red dress)

REVIEW of “When They Fall in Love” by Mary Lydon Simonsen

One of my top ten variations of Pride and Prejudice: I simply love everything that happens on When they fall in love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy by Mary Lydon Simonsen.

After the proposal at the parsonage, Darcy chooses a bride and in a few months they are married and eventually they have a lovely daughter, Alexa. You can imagine how Elizabeth may be feeling.

However, the book does not start at that point. The book introduces the happy Bingley family and her governess, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzy is the governess to her nice niece. She depends upon them in everything, her father has had financial problems and she is happy to be with her niece but she has sadly realised that her friend, Charlotte Collins, née Lucas, was more sensible than her.

Elizabeth goes wherever her older sister and brother go, she is content with the situation as she is going to France with them. Jane had a difficult labour whit Cassie and she is going to different spas to take the waters.

Almost all the places where they are going in France are suggestions of Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, Charles Bingley’s best friend. They keep travelling around France and Elizabeth is delighted with Paris or Aix-en-Provence, however she is not so happy when the whole family gets and invitation to go to Italy. Her unhappiness is not because she dislikes Italy, au contraire, she would love to go to Italy directly if it not were that the host for their stay is Mr Darcy.

Elizabeth’s feelings changed drastically after reading Darcy’s letter before leaving Kent. She begs Jane not to go with the excuse that her dad needs them and that their trip has been for over a year and it is time to go home.

Eventually, the invitation needs to be accepted and with her reservations about how Mr Darcy will receive her, they start their trip to Italy. Before they thought, they meet their host and everything starts to spark:

“Miss Elizabeth, it has been too long” Darcy said, extending his hand (…)

Without thinking, she removed her glove and lifted the hand that had been pinned to her side. Looking into Mr Darcy’s gray-green eyes, Elizabeth offered it to the gentleman, and when he accepted it, she knew she was in trouble.

I have omitted a key detail on this review but I have to add that misunderstandings are always around and it is really nice to leave the English etiquette and propriety and have a more relaxed vision of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam. Now it is your turn to read it and she what is going on. What questions do you have after reading this review? I would have a few, write them on the comments and let’s see if I can answer them…

Last tempting excerpt:

Although Darcy looked directly at her, it was as if he was seeing through her. “If you could read my mind, Miss Elizabeth, I think you would be surprised at what you would find there”.

If you want to know more about this lovely writer, visit her Facebook page or Twitter account.

5out5 stars

(cover picture from WhiteSoupPress)

REVIEW of “Captain Wentworth: Home from the Sea” by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Persuasion  is perhaps my second favourite novel by Jane Austen. Therefore, I am always looking forwaard to reading variation or what ifs related to that novel.

The two novels that I have read by Mary Lydon Simonsen are about Elizabeth and Darcy (it is time to reread them and review them!) and I have liked them very much, for this reason I was eager to read Captain Wentworth: Home from  the Sea.

This version starts on the same moment as the novel it relates to: Sir Walter Elliot is forced to move to Bath because he does not have a penny. Anne stays at Kellynch Hall to accommodate the Crofts but the twist comes here as the Admiral and his wife are coming with Captain Wentworth as he is living with them… since he is not fit for the navy as he has lost part of his memory. He cannot remember a lot of people or places who have been in his life or where he has travelled before.

As you can imagine, if you have read Persuasion, Anne is unsettled at first but when Frederick arrives, they engage in a nice friendships that evolves into a stronger relationship where the Captain asks Anne to marry him as he is sure that she will be a good wife and a good mother to his children.

The Anne that we read about can be more selfish but not in a mean way, she thinks about herself and what she wants, instead of running off to Uppercross when her “poor” sister is ill or when (in this version) she is told to go to Bath because Mr Elliot wants to be with her.

Anne accepts Frederick without hesitation but she tells him nothing about their past. I am not going to spoil this short novel as it is worth reading. You need to discover what happens if Frederick recovers his memory, what happens if Lady Russell was not only once in the middle of their lives and what happens if Frederick is even more amazing in this version!

I would have loved to read 150 pages more!! Although I have just read three of Mary Lydon Simonsen‘s novels and novellas, I can state that I really like her style and her way of writing. I will reread When they fall in love and you will read about it 😀

 

4out5 stars

 

(cover picture from Amazon UK)

REVIEW of “Behind the mask” by Bronwen Chisholm

What would happen if Darcy and Elizabeth knew each other (kind of) before Bingley arrived to Netherfield Park? 😉

Behind the mask (a Pride and Prejudice novel)  by Bronwen Chisholm has its starting point in a erotic encounter. I am pointing it from the very beginning in case someone does not like to read erotic scenes involving our dear characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

The masque ball is set before the story by Jane Austen but immediately Behind the mask catches up with Pride and Prejudice. It is obvious that there will be changes, but those changes, in my opinion, follow an interesting retelling of P&P.

We can read about a passionate Darcy and an adventurous Lizzy, a lot of the events are reversed in this novel but with a great imagination and skill, Bronwen Chisholm hits the target when she decides that Darcy actually helps Bingley to get back to Jane and he makes Miss Bingley to go to London in order to protect the Bennet family. It is also great to see that Darcy, again, loves Elizabeth beyond everything.

I have to say that during this novel Lizzy has mentioned several times that “she will not marry” AT ALL. Is that something to be worry about? YES!! How difficult is to have this obstinate, headstrong girl on the right path!! Even after what happened at the Hunsford Parsonage…

I keep talking about William and Lizzy but I need to mention other characters who change a bit from their “moulds”. Colonel Fitzwilliam is a lovely infuriating busybody that makes the story of our heroes a rollercoaster where they do not help at all as they are too stubborn (Lizzy) and too honourable (Darcy). Mr Bingley is great in this story as we can read more about him, he is more protagonist in a way as he is more observant and insightful. Lydia, what could I say about Lydia? She follows her own ruin but she is even lucky at the end! Mrs Bennet’s nerves are worse than in P&P but I have to say that Elizabeth gives her more than one reason for having a bad health, you will eventually sympathise with her (poor Mrs Bennet and Mr Bennet)! Mr Bennet still needs a bit of drive towards his daughters, he cares a lot but he needs to show it more! Charlotte is as usual a great friend and one of the most perceptive characters together with Anne!

I have to mention Lady Susan, oops, I mean Lady Sarah, one of the oldest friends that Jane and Elizabeth have. She is key in this story and I have to say that I really like how the novel ends for her.

One quote from the book that I have loved (read it properly):

“Miss Elizabeth, would you do me the pleasure of being my partner,” for the rest of my life? His breath caught in his throat. “For the next dance?”

 

 

By the way, who is Lucinda? I am not answering this question, you must read the book and discover it!

 

5out5 stars

(picture from https://bronwenchisholm.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/cover.jpg)

 

REVIEW of “Revisit Mansfield Park: How Fanny married Henry” by Sarah Ozcandarli

When I read the title, I could not conceive the idea of Fanny marrying Henry. It went against my idea of Fanny, my dislike of Henry and my love for a happy ending.

Mansfield Park is one of my favourite Jane Austen’s novels and I find Fanny too sweet to end up with someone different from Edmund. However, I wanted to read Revisit Mansfield Park: How Fanny married Henry because it was a challenged not to be biased by my ideas.

It is true that I spent more than half of the book waiting for the author to show that everything was a lie, that Henry is still despicable and untruthful as Jane Austen showed us. I was being a bit mean with Sarah Ozcandarli‘s book because although I was enjoying the letters that Henry and Fanny wrote to each other in order to have a better acquaintance, I kept thinking that it was not possible that Henry was actually in love with Fanny.

However, he was and he wanted to show her how he could changed just to deserve her love. It is a lovely way the book is written because as I wrote before, the love story is mainly seen through the letters they send to each other. There is a great change between the first letters where they write in a very sensible and polite manner and the last ones, where feelings and emotions are so clear and evident.

There are more stories around the courtship that Henry and Fanny have, the Bertram’s do not have really happy news or events but those events are very important to complete the story. We can find Maria and Julia, Tom and Edmund together with their parents. I like Susan, Fanny’s sister, as an important character in this story, we also have Fanny’s parents on Revisit Mansfield Park.

I was lucky to get the story for free on Amazon, but I recommend it, mainly if you dislike the Henry Crawford from Mansfield Park as I do.

4out5 stars

Why JAFF is so great!?

Have a look at this nice article that tells us why JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) is so important and why we need even more!

5 Reasons the World Needs More Jane Austen Fanfic

I totally agree with Elizabeth Ann West on this matter but I will add another reason: the people involved in JAFF.

Obviously I have to thank the writers, they are absolutely amazing and creative. Taking as a reference, Pride and Prejudice, authors are telling us what if, what happened after the wedding, what happened before the wedding, they are meeting in different situations or they are taking the personality of the characters and changing the era.

I started reading JAFF books several years ago, thanks to Amazon USA and UK, I bought paperbooks, at that time mainly by Abigail Reynolds, highly recommended to read The Man who Loved Pride and Prejudicemy first JAFF book. Back then, I was not aware of the huge experience that the JAFF universe is nowadays.

However, my point does not only involve amazing authors writing great stories. I have been following JAFF authors, JAFF bloggers or befriending readers of JAFF stories and I have to say that I have felt extremely welcomed. Around two years ago, when I was commenting on blogs or groups, I felt like an invader because I could read and realise that they knew each other quite well and I was just a newbie. In addition to that, I started mainly on websites and groups with people from the USA and it seemed to me that I was the Spaniard living in England who “dared” to “invade” a new universe.

Needless to say, I was totally wrong, it was just a silly feeling that I had as I was just new in a cybernetic and “geeky” world. (By the way, I love to consider myself geeky, so please do not take any offense).

After participating on a few giveaways, I realised that the authors and the people behind some amazing blogs were just very pleasant and generous as well. I believe I will never forget the first ebook that I won: The Madness of Mr Darcy by Alexa Adams, a giveaway on The Calico Critic. It may sound silly but I felt really happy to win it, not only for the prize (a lovely and tender book) but for starting to be part of that universe. I have been lucky enough to win a few more books but what I adore above all on the JAFF universe is the contact with the writers and also with other JAFF addicts. Being able to write to authors on a post or on their twitter or facebook account is great! They answer you, you can give your opinion or leave a comment, etc. and it goes from “cybernetic”, that normally is related to impersonal, to personal and human.

I just want to thank everyone who belongs to this universe, and I have kept writing universe because it is vast and it is just great. Thank you for being so welcoming and for sharing so much with me and with everyone insterested in Jane Austen.

Keep being so awesome! Authors, carry on writing! 😉 and the rest of the people (readers, bloggers, editors, supporters), keep spreading the JAFF universe!

Thank you very much. Muchas gracias. 😀

Ana

picture of gracias