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pompous schemesThrown from his horse, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is left to traverse the remaining fifteen miles to Pemberley on foot. Richard never imagined the first carriage to cross his path would contain the one woman he thought he would never see again.

Lady Aimée de Bourbon the only child of Prince du Sang Geoffroy de Bourbon, Marquis of Agen had captured and nearly broke Richard’s heart four years earlier. He had loved her and planned to give up his bachelor ways, but her father intended her to marry a royal, not an English Earl’s second son. Now Lady Aimée is affianced to Señor Duarte de Cortázar, a lesser Portuguese royal.

While lost in his thoughts of his prior love, the carriage is robbed, Lady Aimée’s dowry stolen, and Lord Agen is injured. Colonel Fitzwilliam directs the driver to take them to Pemberley where Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizabeth take them in and offer refuge and a place to heal.

Ancient customs of Dom Duarte’s family forbids marriage without the dowry present at the wedding and now with the dowry stolen, Lady Aimée and her father fear the de Cortázar’s will call off the marriage. But Lady Aimée intends to have love and will let nothing stand in her way, even if it means hurting the man she once professed to love.

Pompous Schemes Paperback and eBook Links:

Paperback:

eBook

Gumroad (Author Direct): https://gumroad.com/l/AyrBray-PompousSchemes

 

author information

 

ayr bray“From an early age I have always been fascinated by the written word and the mood and atmosphere it creates for a reader; especially those books that affect me and transport me to some far-off place. These are the elements I strive to create in my books. My books in many ways record what most affects me: my feelings and experiences with family, friends, and those I have run into on my life’s journey. My hope is that in my books you will find something that touches you, something which will resonate in your soul and remind you that you are strong and can overcome anything, especially if you have the support of loving friends and family.” – Ayr Bray

Ayr Bray is from the Pacific Northwest, but travels as much as possible so she doesn’t have to deal with the cold. Ayr loves to hear from readers. Connect with her at her website http://www.ayrbray.com or on Facebook at http://goo.gl/kAAO3u  and Twitter: https://twitter.com/AyrBray

review

Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I wanted to read it: I love sequels to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that focus on the secondary characters, especially Colonel Fitzwilliam.

What I liked: I’m really into novellas lately, especially since I have so little reading time these days, and I loved that I was able to read Pompous Schemes in one sitting.  It’s the second book in Bray’s Pemberley series, and although there are some vague references to the first book, Cowardly Witness, it can be read as a stand-alone.  There was a little bit of everything in this novella, from highwaymen to a love triangle to sweet moments between the newly married Darcys and even some humor and a mystery.  It didn’t end the way I’d expected, and I liked being surprised.

What I disliked: I only wish the mystery surrounding Lady Aimée’s dowry had not been so easily resolved.

Final thoughts: Pompous Schemes is an exciting, entertaining novella whose original characters, Lady Aimée and her betrothed, take center stage, but there is enough of Austen’s characters to keep readers satisfied.  This was my first time reading the work of Ayr Bray, but it won’t be the last.  I can’t wait to go back and read the first book in the Pemberley series.

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Disclosure: I received Pompous Schemes from Loving the Book for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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mr. darcy to the rescueI’m thrilled to welcome Victoria Kincaid back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue, which I had the privilege of editing.  Victoria is here to talk about humor in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

The Importance of Laughter

So, I wrote a Pride and Prejudice variation in which Elizabeth actually becomes engaged to Mr. Collins. Why was I motivated to write such a plot? Well, there are multiple reasons, but one is because my son (then 11 years old) thought Mr. Collins was funny. My son laughed at the guy when he read the Pride and Prejudice graphic novel and even more when we watched the 1995 adaptation (He also does a wicked impersonation of Mrs. Bennet: “You have no compassion for my poor nerves!”). His reaction made me think about Mr. C as more than just a plot contrivance.

When writing P&P variations, authors like me tend to focus on the romance, which makes sense. It’s a beautiful, compelling, timeless love story. Just the fact that P&P can sustain so many wonderful variations is a testament to how well-written it is and how well-drawn Darcy and Elizabeth are. But it’s easy to forget that it’s also a wicked social satire. My son’s reaction reminded me that humor is an essential element of the novel.

And, although Collins isn’t a very nice person, he’s a great source of humor. I had a great time writing scenes with him because he’s so egregious in so many ways. And unexpectedly, those scenes set the tone for the entire novel; the rest of it became fairly light and humorous despite the drama inherent in Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance. Darcy himself even reveals a sly sense of humor when dealing with Caroline Bingley’s insults to Elizabeth.

Writing Mr. Darcy to the Rescue taught me something about Austen’s novels: the importance of laughter. Although her characters often face worrisome dilemmas, the thread of humor helps remind us of a valuable tool in facing the difficult world. Elizabeth encounters some awful people, like Collins and Lady Catherine, but her sense of humor prevents her from growing too angry and resentful toward them (and probably helps her avoid an ulcer). She could easily become bitter, but instead she is amused.

Along with tremendous insights into the human character, laughter is one of the gifts Austen gave us in Pride and Prejudice—and it’s one I flatter myself :) I have been able to share with the readers of Mr. Darcy to the Rescue.

About Mr. Darcy to the Rescue

When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day…

Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma…

How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?

Giveaway: Victoria is generously offering one ebook copy, in any format, open internationally. Simply leave a comment about why you want to read Mr. Darcy to the Rescue and/or whether or not you find Mr. Collins to be a humorous character, and please include your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, August 23.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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a will of iron

Source: Review copy from Meryton Press
Rating: ★★★★★

This has been a most trying evening.  Mama continues furious that Darcy has gone away again without extending an offer of marriage.  I say, bless him.  She goes on and on, and I do wish she would invite the vicarage guests to dinner to ease the strain on me as she does not yammer quite so much in company.  Or perhaps the presence of others makes it easier for me to ignore her.  Selfish, Anne!

(from A Will of Iron)

Quick summary: In this darker variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Linda Beutler puts Anne de Bourgh front and center.  A Will of Iron lets readers into Anne’s head through her journals, which make their way into the hands of Charlotte Collins and Elizabeth Bennet after her sudden and shocking death.  Anne had a lively mind, made astute observations about the people around her, and wasn’t shy when it came to taking her future into her own hands.  As the residents and guests of Rosings Park and the Hunsford Parsonage try to come to terms with the events leading up to Anne’s death, they soon face even darker realizations while simultaneously seeking out happiness for themselves.

Why I wanted to read it: I enjoyed Beutler’s previous takes on Pride and Prejudice (check out my reviews of The Red Chrysanthemum and Longbourn to London), love the variations that expand on Austen’s secondary characters, and couldn’t resist imagining an even darker side to Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

What I liked: Beutler wastes no time in shocking readers, and I was glued to the pages from Anne’s very first journal entry.  The dark twists and turns of this novel are both shocking and morbidly funny, and there are plenty of love triangles and romantic entanglements to lighten the mood.  Beutler does a great job blending the darkly comic events with the sweet romantic scenes.  The novel is set just after Elizabeth rejects Darcy’s first proposal, and watching them find their way back to each other amidst all the other happenings was exciting.

What I disliked: Nothing at all (except trying to summarize the plot without saying too much).

Final thoughts: A Will of Iron is a must-read for fans of Austen-inspired fiction, who, like me, continually seek out unique variations of Pride and Prejudice.  I must say that I’ve never read anything like this novel before, and I was surprised by how many times I was shocked and then laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all.  It definitely wasn’t what I expected, which made me love it more.  I can’t wait to see what Beutler writes next!

Disclosure: I received A Will of Iron from Meryton Press for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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the prosecution of mr. darcy's cousin

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★★

“I will not send for Mrs. Fitzwilliam, but I do mean to send word that you are safe.  Neither Mrs. Darcy nor my sister deserves to spend another hour in worry over your actions.”

He could not control speaking in disappointment.

“I thought better of you, Edward.”

(from The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin)

Quick summary: The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin is the latest Pride and Prejudice mystery by Regina Jeffers.  Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy have been happily married for about five years and are enjoying life with their two young sons, but their world is turned upside down when Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, sends word that her husband, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, is missing.  Darcy tracks down his cousin in a seedy inn in London, drunk and in a uniform covered in dirt and blood.  Fitzwilliam’s marital problems and PTSD are the least of the family’s concerns, once it becomes known that he is the prime suspect in a serious of gruesome murders.

Why I wanted to read it: I’ve long been a fan of Jeffers’ novels (check out my reviews of Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, Christmas at Pemberley, and The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy), and I was intrigued by the idea of a darker side to the charming and amiable Colonel Fitzwilliam.

What I liked: I was fascinated by this tale from start to finish, and I especially enjoyed the twists and turns of the mystery.  Jeffers really digs deep into her characters, particularly Georgiana’s need to find inner strength in the face of great loss, Darcy’s realization that he is no longer his sister’s protector, and Fitzwilliam’s troubled transition to civilian life.  The assortment of original characters, like Cowan, secondary characters given bigger roles, like the Earl and Countess of Matlock, and even some courtroom drama help round out the story, and I was happy to see another of my favorite Austen heroes make an appearance toward the end.

What I disliked: Nothing!

Final thoughts: The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin is a darker take on the characters of Pride and Prejudice, but it is exciting and shines in the complexity of the characters and the multilayered mystery at its core.  It was hard to see Fitzwilliam in such a light, but Jeffers’ portrayal of a man who has spent a great deal of his life at war and remains haunted by his experiences is realistic and heartbreaking.  Although it focuses on some heavy subjects, like PTSD, and puts Austen’s beloved characters in some dangerous and hopeless situations, the romantic moments between Darcy and Elizabeth help to lighten the mood.  Jeffers had me guessing and biting my nails until the very end, a sign of a great mystery, and I hope there will be more installments in this series.

(I haven’t yet read the previous installment, The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy, so that’s something to look forward to, and I should point out here that The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin can be read as a standalone novel.)

Disclosure: I received The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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I’m pleased to welcome Regina Jeffers to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin.  She is here to discuss the real-life inspiration for one of the characters in the novel, and there is an excerpt and an international e-book giveaway as well.  Please give a warm welcome to Regina Jeffers:

John_Norton

Image source: Mather Brown-Portrait of Major John Norton as Mohawk Chief Teyoninhokarawen Notecards (www.encore-editions.com)

One of the characters in my latest Austenesque novel, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, is modeled upon that of John Norton (Teyoninhokarawen), who was a Mohawk Indian chief of Scottish birth. Norton attended school in Scotland.

Norton was the son of a Cherokee Indian father and a Scottish mother. His father was taken prisoner as a boy by British soldiers when the British destroyed the Cherokee village of Kuwoki in South Carolina. Later, the youth was removed to England.

John Norton became a soldier in 1784, serving with the 65th Foot Regiment in Lower Canada. From 1787 to 1788, he served at Fort Niagara (Upper Canada). From 1791-1795, he found his “fortune” in the fur trade. During those years, he learned his skills in trade and negotiation from John Askin, an American trader who served as an interpreter for those in and around Fort Detroit. Norton and Askin also had dealings with the First Nations (Maumee, Wyandot, and Shawnee tribes), who resided south of the Great Lakes. When the Americans defeated the Maumee at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in August 1794, Norton returned to Canada.

In Canada, Norton became an interpreter for the Indian Department at Niagara. During this time, he met Joseph Brant (Mohawk chief), who convinced Norton to become a fellow tribesman of the Grand River Mohawks. Brant even adopted Norton as his nephew, and Norton became chief when Brant died in 1807. As “Peace Chief,” Norton assisted the Mohawks in negotiating land settlements with the British government. Under Indian law, Norton was considered a full-blooded Indian for his father was an Indian.

The British and Foreign Bible Society saw John Norton as an asset to their cause. They asked him to translate the Gospel of St. John into the Mohawk language. The translation was published in 1806, a first for the First Nations’ language.

Over the next few years, Norton traveled extensively through the Grand River area, even establishing a relationship with Tecumseh. During the War of 1812, Norton served as a captain in the British army. He led several of the Indian tribes at Detroit and at the Battle of Queenston Heights. With the death of Sir Isaac Brock (the British leader in Canada), Norton led the Mohawk tribes against the American troops. He participated in the burning of Buffalo (NY) in 1813, as well as fighting in the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane. His efforts provided the British time to successfully defeat the Americans in the encounters.

Norton also was instrumental in the British defense of Fort Niagara, Fort George, the Battle of Stoney Creek, and the Battle of Beaver Dams. After the war, Norton and his wife, a Lenape (Delaware Indian) traveled to England, where he received the higher rank of major in the British army for his gallantry and meritorious conduct. It was a brevet commission and held no authority, precedence, or rank pay.

During his years in England, Norton finished his journal, which became an accurate account of the War of 1812 from the Indian point of view.

Norton return to the Canadian front in 1816. In 1823, he was found guilty of manslaughter after a duel involving his wife’s infidelity. We know little of Norton after this point. He reportedly passed in October 1831 in northern Mexico.

Resources for the post: Davis, D. S. “Norton, John (Teyoninhokarawen).” War of 1812. © RCGS/HDI/Parks Canada 2011, All rights reserved.

“Chief John (Teyoninhokarawen) Norton,” The Casebook: The War of 1812.

Carl F. Klinck and James J. Talman, eds. The Journal of Major John Norton. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1970.

the prosecution of mr. darcy's cousinThe Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until “aggravation” rears its head when Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgiana’s side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edward’s return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family.

Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before the authorities hanged his cousin and the Fitzwilliam name knew a lifetime of shame.

Buy: Kindle * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Nook

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

“I expect you to reexamine your records, Belker,” Darcy said with his best “Master of Pemberley” voice.

He favored the harbormaster with a quelling glare.

“I want to know unequivocally that no one impressed my cousin into service upon one of the ships recently setting sail from the Thames. If you ignore my request, you will know the wrath of the Earl of Matlock, Viscount Lindale, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and even His Royal Highness Prince George, who favored the major general upon more than one occasion.”

Darcy took pleasure when his exaggeration caused Belker to flinch. The harbormaster was not happy to observe Cowan enter his office.

Without doubt, as a Bow Street Runner, Thomas Cowan hounded Belker’s existence, for the man held a reputation for the importation of illegal goods. When this investigation knew completion, Darcy would use his extensive influence to aid Cowan in replacing the man who used his position for personal benefit.

“As I said previously, Mr. Darcy,” Belker shot a furtive glance to a glaring Cowan, “the major general was here. Saturday last. But he never boarded any ship.”

“How can you be so certain?” Cowan growled.

Belker puffed out his chest in self-importance.

“Assisted the officer meself,” he declared. “Some men upon the Towson thought the major general an easy target for your cousin consumed more than his share of drink.”

Darcy did not like to think upon Edward imbibing so heavily. Whatever drove the major general from his home rested hard upon his cousin’s soul.

“Certainly, some can hold their drink better than others.”

Belker straightened some papers upon his desk while organizing his thoughts.

“Those from the Towson thought to claim the major general, but Lord Matlock’s son proved himself worthy of his position. With just his fists, the major general dispatched the four men from the Towson. More easily than what anyone might believe of a gentleman’s son, I might add.”

“Explain,” Cowan demanded.

Belker did not disguise his disgust, but he provided the information. The harbormaster would not cavil over a thing such as principle.

“Needless to say, none on the Towson realized the man they discovered passed out among the crates waiting to be loaded onboard was a gentleman. The major general’s clothes be finely cut, but they be filthy. On the night in question, my dockers escorted all five men to my office, and I summoned a surgeon. Your cousin had but a few bruises and cuts, Sir. Two from the Towson are still housed at the infirmary a few streets over.”

“Do you know the major general’s destination when he departed the docks?” Darcy asked.

“Said he meant to find himself an inn to wait for his next set of orders. I thought him a junior officer on one of the ships, for he wore no epaulets. Thought he expected to depart soon,” Belker disclosed.

Cowan stood to depart.

“Do you have a guess as to where the man took residence?”

Desiring their exit, Belker stood also.

“Can’t say for certain. Most sailors avoid the inns close to the river, preferring those inland for obvious reasons. I would image a King’s soldier would follow suit. If I wished to hide from those who would follow me, I would avoid the city inns.”

Weariness claimed Darcy’s stance.

“If you think of anything of import, please contact me at Darcy House. It would be well worth your time.”

About the author

Regina-270x300Regina Jeffers, a public classroom teacher for thirty-nine years, considers herself a Jane Austen enthusiast. She is the author of several Austen-inspired novels, including Darcy’s Passions, Darcy’s Temptation, Vampire Darcy’s Desire, Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, The Phantom of Pemberley, Christmas at Pemberley, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy, Honor and Hope, and The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy. She also writes Regency romances: The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, A Touch of Velvet, A Touch of Cashémere, A Touch of Grace, A Touch of Mercy, A Touch of Love, and The First Wives’ Club. A Time Warner Star Teacher and Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, Jeffers often serves as a consultant in language arts and media literacy. Currently living outside Charlotte, North Carolina, she spends her time with her writing, gardening, and her adorable grandchildren.

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LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED INTO A GIVEAWAY OF 2 eBOOK VERSIONS OF THE PROSECUTION OF MR. DARCY’S COUSIN. Please include your email address. The giveaway will close Sunday, July 12.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Sun-Kissed

Source: Review copy from Meryton Press
Rating: ★★★★☆

“You honestly expect me to splash about in the brine, naked as the day I was born?” Darcy scoffed.  “I think not.”

“Prig.”

“Just because I prefer privacy and prudence does not signify I am prudish.  I swim — without clothing, I’ll have you know — at Pemberley Lake.”

(from Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, “Spyglasses & Sunburns” by J. Marie Croft)

Quick Summary: Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer is Meryton Press’ first short-story anthology featuring eight feel-good tales of summer, most of which involve Jane Austen’s novels and characters in some way.  Included in the collection are several takes on Pride and Prejudice, from a young Darcy’s education in becoming a great lover to Anne de Bourgh’s splash in the sea at Sanditon to the confessions of foolishness and love at a masquerade ball.  Sun-Kissed also features modern-day takes on Persuasion and Northanger Abbey set on the beach and a sweet non-Austen-related story about how a chance encounter can turn one’s life upside down.

Why I wanted to read it: Short stories, particularly lighthearted, romantic stories with a Jane Austen connection, sound perfect for the beach…or at least when you’re dreaming about a beach excursion.

What I liked: The selection of stories was fantastic.  I enjoyed the mix of period and modern-day stories and the mix of new-to-me authors and authors whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past.  I also was impressed that Sanditon was included; Austen’s unfinished novel about a seaside resort begs to be included in a summer anthology, and it was nice to see those characters mingling with characters from Pride and Prejudice.  I loved or at least really liked every story in the collection, and despite their brevity, I felt like I really got to know the characters, and each had a satisfying ending.

What I disliked: That there were only eight stories in the anthology.  Don’t get me wrong, the anthology was the perfect length, but once I was immersed in the collection, I didn’t want it to end.

Final thoughts: Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer is the perfect summer read for fans of Austen-inspired fiction, with a little something for everyone.  Hats off to the editor, Christina Boyd, for helping to create an anthology that flows beautifully from story to story and provides enough variety to both satisfy readers and keep them wanting more.  Although I didn’t read this book at the beach, these authors and their delightful tales transported me to the sun and surf at least for a few hours.

Meryton Press will be releasing a holiday-romance-themed anthology late this fall. The short story contest for that volume is now open for submissions. Click here for further details: Official Rules

Disclosure: I received Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer from Meryton Press for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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first impressions

Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

“It’s a tragedy,” I insisted. “Sure, Elizabeth and Jane get their guys, and Lydia makes an exciting, scandalous marriage, and the author hopes that Kitty will turn out okay, but Mary…it’s a tragedy for Mary.”

(from First Impressions, page 1)

Quick summary: First Impressions by Marilyn Sachs is a young-adult novel told from the point of view of Alice, the third child in a family of five who feels unappreciated by her parents and siblings.  She is a straight-A student forced to spend Christmas break rewriting a paper on Pride and Prejudice so her teacher will reconsider the C+ she received for misinterpreting the novel.  Given Alice’s place in her family, it’s not surprising that she identifies most with Mary Bennet, and she is unwilling to believe her teacher’s contention that Jane Austen intended for Mary to be a minor character who provides comic relief, not a tragic character who needs a chance to shine.  After a mysterious woman in a raincoat appears at random moments, and her new boyfriend, Kevin, offers to read and discuss the book with her, something magical begins to happen.  Alice finds herself and Kevin within the pages of Austen’s novel, and as she sets out to change Mary’s fate, she finds that her own life may be changing, too.

Why I wanted to read it: I was in the mood for a short Austen-inspired novel that wasn’t simply a retelling of Elizabeth and Darcy’s story.

What I liked: I liked the premise of the novel, that someone might identify with one of the other Bennet sisters and the idea of being able to dive into a novel and play with the storyline a bit.  I also thought it was nice that Alice slyly encouraged her father to ask her mom out on a date after recognizing how much fun her mom had helping Alice pick out a dress for her first New Year’s Eve party.

What I disliked: I wished the novel focused more on the magical aspects of the book, which took a backseat to Alice’s relationship with Kevin and helping her parents rekindle their relationship.  I didn’t like how Alice’s teacher thought her interpretation of the novel was wrong, especially since she was able to back up her arguments.  It also felt like Alice’s newfound sense of self seemed too heavily reliant on Kevin.  The secondary characters felt flat, but at 117 pages, there wasn’t much room for character development, aside from the changes in Alice.

Final thoughts: Overall, I thought First Impressions was an okay novel.  There was nothing wrong with the writing, but there was nothing memorable about the characters.  Part of that might be related to the fact that I’m not the target audience for this novel, but I have enjoyed plenty of YA novels in the past.  I think I would have enjoyed the novel more had the magical aspects been fleshed out a little more.  Still, I must applaud Sachs for making readers think more critically about Mary Bennet and how the events of Pride and Prejudice would have affected her life.

Disclosure: I borrowed First Impressions from the public library.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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