REVIEW of “Mansfield Restored” by Ronald McGowan

Mansfield Restored: Miss Crawford’s Return by Ronald McGowan tells the story a few years later after the story of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. However he makes a change and in his story, Mr. Henry Crawford does the honourable deed and marries Maria. However they are outcasts from Mansfield Park and its residents. Julia is also persona non grata at Mansfield together with her husband Mr. Yates.

As you can gather from the full title, Mary Crawford is the main character, mainly because she is the key element for this story.

MaryCrawford

I have never really liked her; she is vain, opportunistic, capricious and a busybody. However, I wanted to give this book an opportunity and read how she becomes after a few years after all the event at Mansfield.

Mansfield Restored is made of collected letters between the characters, some of those writers are: Mrs. Bertram (Fanny), Miss Crawford, Mr. Crawford, Captain Price, Mrs. Price, Lady Bertram (not the one that you know, you have to read it), Mrs. Grant, etc.

Miss Mary Crawford has a task set: to reunite the Bertram and Crawford and Yates families.

Will she succeed? Will she employ her arts and allurements to achieve her goal? Will she be a different person? Will she actually want to do a selfless deed?

I do not want to give any spoilers, so I am going just to give you my opinion of this book and I hope you give it a chance. I have enjoyed these letters and the “gossip” and the plots going around between some characters and others. I recommend it for a change of perspective regarding Mansfield Park.

4out5 stars

If you want to read this book or more by Ronald McGowan, you could find his books on Amazon UK, Amazon US or Bookdepository.

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REVIEW of “Swimming in Rain” by Heather C. Myers

Swimming in Rain is a modern variation of Pride and Prejudice written by Heather C. Myers.

I have liked this book a lot but I have to be honest and mention that at the beginning I was not liking Ronnie Bixby 100%. Marion or as she prefers to be called, Ronnie, is our “Elizabeth Bennet”. She is a 18-years old girl who studies a major in English Lit. She is a Obstinate, headstrong girl! but there are a few moments on the first half of the book where his stubbornness or misapprehension of Aiden Shawe (aka. Darcy) is not totally 21st-century-realistic. Heather C. Myers has tried to be as true to the text of Jane Austen as possible and twice or thrice I have found it a bit unnatural for the modern version.

Nevertheless, I have already mentioned that I have enjoy the book so I will tell you a bit about it.

Ronnie and her older sister Taylor are looking for a roommate and a lovely 18-years-old Hannah is the “chosen” one. The sisters became very quickly attached to the newcomer, she comes from England to study at UCI and she is as “crazy” as Ronnie and they share a lot of interests. Hannah invites them to a party at her brother’s best friend’s house. At the party Ronnie and Taylor meet Hannah’s brother, Aiden, and his friend, Stephen, as well as Stephen’s sister, Farrah.

Stephen has a instant crush on Taylor and he does not leave her side. Hannah and Ronnie go straight to the dance floor and enjoy themselves. When Ronnie stops to have a short rest, she ends up nearby Aiden and she simply ask him if he dances. He is apparently an arrogant stupid man that slights her with a no. She is furious but she tries to avoid him.

This party does not go very well as Taylor has food poisoning and Aiden is the one that has to take them home and Stephen quickly invites them back as soon as Taylor is recovered.

They say first impressions are not always right but here you have Ronnie and Aiden’s first impressions or each other:

Ronnie after a couple of encounters with Aiden she says:

This is all Aiden Shawe’s fault. I mean, I don’t like him. In fact, I loathe him. I hate him. I detest him and everything in between.

Aiden’s description of Ronnie or Marion as he always calls her:

Marion Bixby was the rudest, most ridiculous person he had ever met in his entire life and he hoped he would never have to see her again.

As you can imagine, their paths are going to cross more than what they wish for. Ronnie’s best friend becomes the girlfriend of Ronnie’s neighbour who used to have a crush or Ronnie. He is a bit of a silly, ridiculous person but Kelly likes him a lot. Paul is his name, he works for a Mrs. Solomon that happens to be Aiden and Hannah’s aunt. When Kelly follows Paul to the opening of the last art gallery that Mrs. Solomon has. Paul is like a teacher’s pet with her and the reason why Kelly is travelling with him is because Kelly needs the approval of Paul’s boss!! However, the important part of this trip is that Ronnie and Aiden get together again and a lot of very interesting and nice things happen, well not all of them. Here you have a couple of pictures to enlighten, or confuse you about those days that they spent together (I will ot tell you more because I do not want to make any spoliers). I will just mention that a karaoke can be a very funny activity when you have people visitin your Pemeberley.

alcawheel

More about other characters: there is a Wickham but he does not seem as awful at the end as he may be seen at the beginning. As you may have deduced, Lady Catherine is Mrs. Solomon and she is despicable and old-fashioned in a snob way. The rest of the sisters are Erin,  and the twins Kat and Megan. They are a handful but you may be surprised about who is who compared to Pride and Prejudice. Mr. and Mr. Bixby are quite interesting although they do not have a major role but I have to say that Mrs. Bixby at the end is even moving.

4out5 stars

If you want to know more about this young writer, you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also buy her books on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

I highly recommend the other novel that I have read so far by Heather: The Four Sides of a Triangle. I have not review it yet, I think I will reread it again for you to have a good review.

REVIEW of “Love at First Slight” by J. Marie Croft

What if instead of being five Bennet daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet would have been blessed with five Bennet sons? If you are interested, just read Love at First Slight by J. Marie Croft.

I have really enjoyed reading this upside-down of Pride and Prejudice. If you are reading this entry and you have not read Pride and Prejudice, I will recommend you to read it before hand as you may not understand everything I comment here.

The writing is really good and I have enjoyed reading a lot of Shakespeare within the book. From my humble opinion, I believe the author has been dutiful on following Jane Austen’s tone while emulating the whole story, from Netherfield is let at last to the wedding. Yes, sorry for the little spoiler but there is a happy ending as it happens in P&P. However, I will tell you a bit more about it.

Let me introduce the Bennet Brothers:

Bennet Brothers(images created with dolldivine.com – Regency Hero Doll)

Martin Bennet is the heir, Charles the second son, William the third son and the twins Christopher and Laurence. If you know Pride and Prejudice you can relate the names to the girls: Martin (Mary), Charles (Jane), William (Elizabeth), Christopher a.k.a. Kit (Kitty) and Laurence (Lydia).

As you may be thinking, this family is not so worried about the future of these five gentlemen but you are mistaken there! Mrs. Bennet does not care but Mr. Benner, he is nervousness itself, he wants his sons to be married as soon as possible and with wealthy women. Benjamin Bennet is extremely happy when a widow, Mrs. Jane Devonport comes to her state, Netherfield. Mr. Bennet is sure that the lady will want to remarry and who is better than his second and handsome second son, Charles?

“What a fine thing for our sons!” In a flutter, Benjamin Bennet relayed the news to his wife.

Jane arrives with his two brothers and sister-in-law, and joining the party, her best friend Miss Elizabeth Darcy.

Mr. Bennet was happy to meet the party at the Meryton assembly. However, he had to check his neighbour’s attention to the newcomers as he was sure that his neighbour wanted his two sons to be the suitors to the widow.

A man’s world might be, but women had the almighty power of refusal, and Benjamin was determined to further his sons’ chances against all other suitors.

Mr. Charles Bennet believed Mrs. Devonport to be an angel. However, there was someone on that assembly that was not observed as an angel, just the opposite, her friend Miss Darcy was soon considered an ill-mannered haughty lady after she slighted Mr. William Bennet:

“Miss Darcy, if you are not otherwise engaged, may I request the honour of sharing the next set with you?”

“I thank you, but no,” said she. “I would rather not.”

She then made a comment about him being tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt her. That though changed quite quickly on the same night.

The main interaction or the main time together for Miss Darcy and the third Bennet son is when William goes to Netherfield to take care of Charles, who fell ill after a downpour. Those days makes William dislike her even more and those days makes her to be more interested in his “smouldering eyes”.

Mrs. Devonport, as amiable as she was, wanted to host a ball at Netherfield. Just a few days before the ball, the Bennet brothers met a charming girl that came with Mr. and Mrs. Foster and the militia, Miss Felicity Wickham. She singled out William Bennet and he was glad to have the attention of such a lovely and beautiful lady, when another lady did not find him tolerable enough. Miss Wickham told him all her sorrows and difficulties she has to endure due to the mistreatment that she declares has been done to her by Miss Darcy. *roll eyes* 

During the Netherfield Ball, William expected to dance with Miss Wickham and he was disappointed when he discovered she was absent as she wanted to avoid Miss Darcy. William did not know exactly how but he eventually danced with Miss Darcy and the conversation was not very adequate to a ballroom. Sparks were flying around them when talking or even when silent but maybe not the appropriate sparks.

Just after the ball, all the Netherfield party left to London, not to come back as a letter from Casper Bingley sent to Charles Bennet declared. (Yes, Casper, that is the name of Jane’s unmarried brother, yes Casper, like the ghost! but he is not nice.) Charles was heartbroken. William though the fault was Jane’s brothers and he encouraged his brother to go to town with their uncle and aunt and maybe encounter her. Charles went as he preferred to work in business with his uncle instead of carr yon with the profession of law.

I am not explaining some scenes that are better read in the book that read on a review but I will just mention that William and Elizabeth met again in Rosings Park, the state of Lizzy’s uncle whose priest is William’s cousin. Something very important happens there and I will just give you a teaser of it:

By God! She slapped me! “Ouch.” The sharp, stinging sensation brought him to his senses. Bloody well deserved. I’ve been a monster. (William Bennet)

What if the twins are wild and bring shame to their family? What if Miss Wickham is not as charming as William believes when he meets her? What if Jane does not love Charles? What if William and Elizabeth meet in a very “funny” situation? What if William is a rake in the eyes of a peer? What if hide and seek is a very entertaining game?

You need to grab this book in order to answer all those what ifs, and discover how the happy ending reaches our main characters.

“We are both guilty of forming mistaken first impressions.”

There are funny moments, a few jokes, a lot of alliteration and a great deal of new situations that will make you keep reading even if it is 2am *smile*

Let me introduce you to Miss Elizabeth Darcy, the background, where she is, is not a random one *chuckle*. I could not find a necklace with a pendant that describes her own but the two jewels she has at the end, the necklace may not be the most important one.

miss elizabeth darcy (image created with dolldivine.com – Dress up a Regency Bella)

5out5 stars

 

If you want to read this book or other books by J. Marie Croft, go to Amazon US or Amazon UKYou can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

 

REVIEW of “Bewitched, body and soul” by P.O. Dixon

P.O. Dixon is one of the JAFF authors I have read the most. I may have read around 80% of her writing, that is quite extensive, and I keep liking everything she writes.

Bewitched, body and soul is one of my favourites by P.O. Dixon, I have just reread it to write this review. In this book you can see the strong willed Elizabeth Bennet who goes to town in order to look for Mr. Bingley and tell him or make him understand that her sister Jane is in love with him.

She is not very successful because she encounters Miss Bingley and also Mr. Darcy but there is no way of finding her sister’s heart’s desire. Jane Bennet is not the same one as she was since he left the neighbourhood, she rarely is in company of her family members and she does not even dares to go to Meryton.

Elizabeth is determined and after going to Mr. Bingley’s house and have no success on seeing him, she decides to go to Mr. Darcy’s house to seek assistance from the serious and haughty friend of Bingley. You can imagine how inappropriate was this visit for two reasons: she was unchaperoned and he was the only person in his house. They are totally alone and she collapses due to a temporal illness. He takes care of her and she wakes up in the mistress’ bedroom without recalling any event from the previous night.

She is ill but as she is a headstrong girl, she flees from Darcy House to her relatives. She is fuming and very angry with Darcy for two reasons, again: he does not want to help her regarding her sister’s relationship with Bingley and she realises the unladylike behaviour she had going to the house of an unmarried man.

However, she has seen a different man, still a bit arrogant but caring as well. She is a bit confused but avoids thinking about it. At this point  Elizabeth is “indifferent” to Mr. Darcy or that is what she wants to believe but there is already something not clear for her.

What must it be like seeing him again? Elizabeth frowned. Why am I always thinking of him?

Elizabeth’s aunt, Mrs. Gardiner, has a family member, Lady Susan, that wants to be like a sponsor for Elizabeth. Elizabeth accepts with the hope of finding Mr. Bingley in any social event during the Season. Among other people, Lady Susan introduces Lady Gwendolen Helmsley to Elizabeth and they get on well with each other.

Lady Gwendolen is the sister of one of Mr. Darcy’s oldest friends and she is hoping to catch Mr. Darcy, she fancies herself in love with him. She is actually quite nice until she sees some rivalry and tries to overcome it. This rivalry is seen during the getaway in her country house and the person that seems to get Mr. Darcy’s attention is her new friend Elizabeth Bennet. Lady Gwendolen is not happy and seeks, as usual when Darcy is concerned, help from his brother.

Rumours can destroy the reputation of a person and even more if those rumours point to a fallen woman, Elizabeth Bennet… When Darcy is informed about those gossips he is as usual, honourable and asks Elizabeth to marry him, to placate the malicious reports and also because he loves Elizabeth.

Nevertheless, Elizabeth refuses him! why? on what account she refuses the person who wants to protect her and claims a profound admiration and love for her?

Does Elizabeth see Mr. Bingley? When and where do they meet again (both Charles and Jane and Elizabeth and Darcy)? Do they solve their problems? Lady Catherine is going to be around, how will she behave? Is Wickham going to make an appearance as usual or not?

 

Read the book and see what else is happening to the eternal Darcy and Elizabeth.

 

A teaser to get you into the book:

“I must confess I am relieved to hear it. I had not put the matter completely out of my mind.”

“Trust me, Miss Elizabeth, I am relieved, as well, much more than you know.”

“Why is that, sir?”

“Because, the next time I offer you my hand in marriage, I intend to go about it entirely differently.”

 

If you want to find out more about this book and P.O. Dixon‘s work, check her Twitter and Facebook. If I have to choose my favourite book by her, I will choose Still a young man: Darcy is in love. I will reread it, for the third time, and review it for you to like it at least half as much as I do like it 🙂

You can buy her books on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

4.5out5 stars

REVIEW of “The Juggling Act” by Carol Maloney Scott

This is my first review outside the JAFF world and I have enjoyed to read a romantic comedy, although it had more the side of romance or relationships than comedy. I received a copy of The Juggling Act in exchange of my honest review and I hope you enjoy it.

Carol Maloney Scott tells us the story of the married couple Claire and Brandon.

Claire: 38 years old, work in a publishing house, she has a sister, she is not able to have babies

Brandon: 30 years old, musician and writer, he was adopted and has a sister, he wanted to adopt with Claire

Brandon fell in love with Claire really quickly and he made a rush move when he promised her a family. Claire has the desire of becoming a mom and after a short period being together they get married and adopt a baby boy, Aiden.

Brandon works from home but he is not a househusband and he is always surrounded by women: their hot single mum tenant who brings her daughter Ruby to play with Aidan, the hot Russian nanny and the female singer of his band; Diamond, Tatianna and Zoe respectively.

Claire is super jealous of the two first women and how they go around his husband. Although there is sexual tension between Diamond and Brandon, he does not succumb to her.

Claire also has his “moons” gravitating around her, well just one but a powerful one, Justin. His work colleague who is very into her. To make things worse: he is super cute and super gentleman-like, obviously Brandon does not like it. (there is a lot more story before this trip that you need to know to understand better this triangle)

Turning point: Claire has a work trip to a lovely and romantic place with Justin.

Justin behaves, in spite his desires. Claire overcomes some fears but what she still knows what happens at home and it is burning her.

The problem with Brandon is that he tries to avoid conflict and if that means to wait ages to tell something to Claire, he will. It does not matter if it is something as important as an meeting with Aidan’s biological mum, or big changes with his band, or what is his book about, etc.

After the trip, Claire tries to overcome her jealousy and after a really good night and a deserved rest, she founds in her bed and bedroom: feminine underwear and a pregnancy test.

I will not tell you more but what happens during the trip and what happens after these discoveries is very interesting.

I have enjoyed the book and I will recommend to read it. I will be posting soon the review of Afraid of her Shadow.

4stars

If you want to know more about Carol Maloney Scott, follow her on Twitter or Facebook. You can also buy her books in Amazon UK and Amazon US.

wiener dogs

REVIEW of “The Subsequent Proposal” by Joana Starnes

“Mind-blowing” is the word that I used after just reading the prologue of The Subsequent Proposal by Joana Starnes.

Where Pride and Prejudice meets Persuasion and where all my favourite characters of Jane Austen live together or fight together.

It is so difficult to review this book because I do not want to do any spoilers. I will do my best. However, I am starting with the first shock for me: Mr. Darcy after believing that Elizabeth is lost for him, he proposes to Anne Elliot!! They talk and they know that their hearts belong to someone else but they are also practical. Darcy wants to take Anne from her horrible relatives and Anne can give Darcy the heir that he needs for Pemberley.

If you have read Persuasion, you will know that Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot is a vane and selfish man who only cares about his appearance and also about titles and wealth. I simply do not like him  but Joana Starnes has showed me the only time that I cannot resent him for something done against Anne in favour of his elder sister: he imposes a six month period before announcing the engagement in order to give Elizabeth Elliot time to find a husband. Although Darcy does not agree with him, he cannot do otherwise.

Darcy is content with the arrangement and he decides that it is time to write Charles Bingley about his involvement on separating him from Jane Bennet and how she may love him in return.

Some weeks past and Bingley appears at his town house, he has just read the letter and asks him to accompany him to Netherfield. Eventually Darcy accepts and takes Georgiana with them.

The word awkward is an understatement to describe the first meeting of Darcy with Elizabeth but at the same time they way Joana writes Darcy’s feeling is adorable. However, Elizabeth is not herself, Georgiana describes her as “shy” (can you believe it?).

Every contact that Elizabeth and Darcy have is very “romantic” from the desperate point of view of Darcy who loves Elizabeth beyond boundaries but at the same time he is an honourable man who is engaged to another.

In case you have forgotten, characters from Persuasion are included and who else if not Captain Frederick Wentworth is here and he is very interested in Elizabeth Bennet!! Yes, as you read it, “what is going on here?”. (Read it and enjoy!)

To make things more complicated, the annoying Mr. Wickham has to be the baddie, again. Lydia, again, is the black sheep of the family and she needs protection. She is not going to be left alone as Mr. Darcy starts his journey to save her and another gentleman as well, Captain Wentworth. I will just mention that there is a duel with guns and it does not end very well :S The danger is great and people get hurt in duels.

Onegin_by_Repin

Remember one thing while reading the duel: there are no rules in hate and rancour. Wickham is not a gentleman even if he wants to believe he is.

I am not going to tell you anything else about the story, only remember that in this story we still have around Lady Russell, Mrs. Bennet, Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam among others.

 

Go an grab a copy of this book or any of Joana’s book on Amazon UK or Amazon US. They are just awesome!!

Follow Joana on Twitter and Facebook. You can also check her blog and page on Austen Authors.

 

SPOILER ALERT!

 

 

There is an amazing happy ending after a lot of “need-to-be-honourable” moments, aching hearts, misunderstandings and “Caroline Bingley, my bad”.

By the way, walks in the park are very entertaining!  😉

“We must endeavour to subdue our minds to our good fortune: we must learn to brook being much happier that we both deserve!” (said by a character in the book)

 

 

5out5 stars

REVIEW of “From Admiration to Love” by April Floyd

The only regret that I have is that From Admiration to Love by April Floyd is just a novella. I would have liked to read the admiration to love in more detail, with more encounters and more feelings before the nightmare.

My highlight from From Admiration to Love is Lady Anne DarcyI have read several variations where Mr. Darcy, the father, has an important role but I was missing reading about Lady Anne Darcy, the mother of our beloved Mr. Fiztwilliam Darcy.

Elizabeth lives with Mr. and Mrs. Bingley in a state that borders Pemberley. As Elizabeth is very fond of walking she goes to Pemberley grounds quite a lot. She has not seen Mr. Darcy since the day of Jane’s wedding and she only knows that something horrible has happened to make him and his mother mourn. The haughty Darcy is just “a shadow” of that man that picked her interest even when he was uncivil.

In one of her ramblings, she decides to refresh her feet in one of Pemberley lakes, she trips and she sees herself “fished” by some footman at the order of Lady Anne Darcy. The lady barely left her rooms during her mourning but from a window she saw Elizabeth in danger. Elizabeth is rescued and fortunately Mr. Darcy is not at home. I write fortunately because Elizabeth wants his good opinion. The following morning, Darcy encounters Elizabeth in his house! He sees how good Elizabeth is for his mother in only a few hours and his admiration, that comes from his time at Netherfield, grows.

During the days that Elizabeth stays at Pemberley, including visit of Jane Bingley, the admiration from Darcy and Elizabeth becomes love and Darcy is so bold as to ask:

“Miss Elizabeth, I hope you do not find my question impertinent, but is there a young man in all of Hertfordshire with any claim to your heart?”

Before their love can be continued at Pemberley, Elizabeth receives a letter from her father urging her to come back to Longbourn, he does not state the reasons but she reckons it will not be anything awful as he does not mention it.

Lady Anne and Mr. Darcy go to London while Elizabeth and the Bingleys go to Longbourn. Darcy will go to Hertfordshire to speak to Mr. Bennet after finishing in the capital city.

However, problems start here, felicity and joy stops in the novella to find: family mistakes, kidnapping, attempts to marriage without consent, lies, danger, frustration, threats, death, etc.

I am not going to explain more but the baddies are multiple and poor Elizabeth suffers a lot and she faces danger. Would Mr. Darcy save her on time? Would Lady Anne have another daughter to cheer her up and take care of? Would Elizabeth survive it all?

April Floyd has been so kind as to give copies of this novella to several fans. You can also follow her on twitter and you can buy her books both on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5out5 stars