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Posts Tagged ‘married by midnight’

I’m playing catch-up here with some Austen-inspired short stories and novellas I read over the summer, plus two non-Austen Christmas stories I read more recently. Stay tuned for reviews of several Christmas-themed Austen books this week and next. I’ve really been in the Christmas spirit!

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Murder at Mistletoe Manor by Holly Tierney-Bedord

This was an amusing novella, a cozy mystery set in Windy Pines, Idaho, a remote mountain town with a bumbling police force obviously not used to investigating murders. The story centers on Klarinda Snow, the owner of the struggling Mistletoe Manor, who is shocked and curious to find all seven guestrooms booked on a Tuesday in December. When each guest arrives with a mysterious letter on the inn’s letterhead inviting them for an all-expenses-paid, one-night getaway, Klarinda is confused because the letters weren’t from her. The guests are all odd in their own way, and most know each other from their teenage days at a private school. Soon Klarinda has to contend with disgruntled guests who start dropping like flies and a snowstorm that traps the surviving guests and staff in a building that is now dangerous for more reasons than murder. Although the mystery wasn’t very complex and I couldn’t stop shaking my head at the incompetence of the police and even Klarinda’s odd behavior throughout, the novella was funny enough that I downloaded the second in the Windy Pines mystery series, Carnage at the Christmas Party (both are standalone and both were Kindle freebies at the time).

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Married by Midnight: A Christmas Story by Talli Roland

This was a short and sweet romance set in a small village outside London in the week before Christmas as Kate quickly plans a midnight Christmas Eve wedding to the man who’s perfect for her, at least according to her mother’s astrological charts. Both Kate and her mother depend on the stars, signs, and fortune tellers for every decision in their lives, including which day is a good one to shop for her wedding dress. She finds the perfect 1930s-era gown, with a note attached to the inside wishing the new owner of the dress much luck and happiness. The note sends her on a whirlwind search for the previous owner on social media, and as finding out the secrets of the dress becomes more important than planning a wedding set to take place in a matter of days, Kate beings to question whether she should trust her horoscope or her gut. The first person viewpoint was enjoyable in this story, as Kate was likeable even if blind about things. The mystery was solved and everything wrapped up a bit too quickly, but that’s to be expected with such a short story. It definitely could’ve been expanded into a novel; I would’ve loved to see how the loose ends would’ve been tied up in such a scenario.

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A Spot of Sweet Tea by Maria Grace

I read two of the Austen-inspired short stories in this collection separately last year; you you can read my mini-reviews of “Four Days in April” and “Sweet Ginger” here.

I really enjoyed the other two stories in this collection. “Last Dance” focuses on Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice as she is staying with her aunt Phillips in Meryton while the rest of the Bennets are in London. With three sisters married, Mary is floundering as her aunt tries to make her be someone she is not in order to attract a husband. I really enjoyed seeing Mary come into her own under the watchful eyes of two very different men.

“Not Romantic” centers on Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice and shows how a broken heart turned her into someone who could be content as the wife of Mr. Collins. I enjoyed how Maria Grace made Charlotte such a sympathetic character as you see her disappointed in love, understanding Mr. Collins, and watching him fawn over and be rejected by Elizabeth. I could almost believe that she found her happily ever after.

Disclosure: All of these books are from my personal library

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