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Posts Tagged ‘sarah johnson’

I admit that I had overly optimistic plans for leisurely Christmas reading last month, but life got in the way, as usual. Between working overtime at the day job, working on freelance editing projects in the evening, doing the annual Christmas decorating/shopping/baking, and taking a seven-hour road trip with my daughter for a college admissions interview, I am exhausted — and surprised that I managed to make even this small dent in my Christmas reading list. Even though it’s already January, I figured I’d share my very brief thoughts on these books, before posting my Top 10 of 2017 list tomorrow!

A delightfully sweet novella that finds Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia caught in a snowstorm on the way to Netherfield, taking shelter in an empty cabin and eventually snowed in with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. There wasn’t a lot of tension here, but I enjoyed the innocent games they played to pass the time, helping Bingley see that Jane does have feelings for him and allowing Elizabeth to see Darcy in a different light.

Set eight years into the Darcys’ marriage, this novella has a very pregnant Elizabeth heading out to go shopping against Darcy’s advice, and due to some serious scheming, she is kidnapped and held for ransom. Being a novella, it was quickly resolved, but I enjoyed how it played out and that our dear couple managed to enjoy some Christmas spirit despite nothing going according to plan.

This short story is depressing at the beginning, as Mr. Bennet has died, his wife and daughters must depend on the charity of the Gardiners and Elizabeth’s wages, and Lydia’s fate was as bad as you can imagine without the interference of Mr. Darcy. But it ended up being a heartwarming story as a chance encounter with Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam brings unresolved feelings to the surface and unexpected Christmas spirit to the Bennet household.

A modern-day, gender-bending Pride and Prejudice told from the point of view of Darcy Fitzwilliam, who reminded me more of Emma Woodhouse than Mr. Darcy. It was an entertaining book, but I wish I had gotten to know Luke Bennet more and saw more of their relationship than kissing under the mistletoe.

A sweet story perfect for those who like their romance without angst. In this tale, Darcy doesn’t meet Elizabeth (who was away recovering from an unnamed illness) until after Jane and Bingley are married, and their attraction is immediate, with no obstacles to overcome — except for Darcy’s desire to give Elizabeth the perfect Christmas gift.

A short but sweet story that finds Darcy on death’s door following a riding accident. This comes after Lydia’s patched up marriage, so when Colonel Fitzwilliam goes to fetch Elizabeth (because Darcy keeps calling her name while delirious with fever), she is distraught that Darcy might never know her feelings have changed. Of course, Christmas is the season for miracles!

Pride and Prejudice sequel of sorts, as Darcy and Elizabeth face each other following an argument over what to do with Lydia and Wickham’s son now that he is an orphan. Both recount the teatime at Rosings where they came to terms with their misunderstandings and feelings for one another, which though outlandish was thoroughly entertaining!

Not Christmas books but read during the month, so I’m including them here anyway:

I’m a sucker for books about Colonel Fitzwilliam (yes, I know there isn’t much about him in Pride and Prejudice, but I can’t help myself), and it was nice to imagine that a girl from the future could catch his eye. This was a very creative novella about two people faced with difficult situations and impossible decisions and realizing where they belong.

I immediately downloaded and read this book after finishing The Colonel’s Timely Bride, happy to see Anne de Bourgh get a chance in the spotlight. This exciting novella is about a man from the future who goes back to Regency England to rescue Anne from an oh-so-evil Lady Catherine, and I loved seeing how these two troubled souls found happiness.

If you have any favorite Austen-inspired holiday reads, please share them in the comments!

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blame the mistletoe

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Their mother is vulgar, their younger sisters are senseless, and their father is a fool to think his jokes about his family are in any way appropriate. No, they are not worthy of our association.”

“Does my past not prove to you that our own family is not without its flaws as well?”

(from Blame the Mistletoe)

Quick summary: Sarah Johnson’s Christmas novella, Blame the Mistletoe, is a delightful retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in which Georgiana Darcy convinces her brother to pursue Elizabeth Bennet, and the pair, along with Mr. Bingley, return to Netherfield Park for the holiday. An accident on a mistletoe-gathering adventure puts Elizabeth on the path toward thinking she might have misjudged Mr. Darcy, but Mr. Wickham’s presence in Meryton — and his tense interactions with the Darcys — leave her feeling confused. In the midst of holiday preparations, a sleigh ride, and strategically placed mistletoe boughs, can Darcy win Elizabeth’s heart?

Why I wanted to read it: I’ve been in the mood for Christmas stories this year, and I couldn’t resist the Austen connection and the gorgeous cover!

What I liked: Blame the Mistletoe weaves Christmas traditions into a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I loved getting a glimpse of Mr. Darcy helping the Bennets hang a mistletoe bough, and I wished I could have enjoyed the sleigh race alongside the Bennet sisters. Johnson jazzes things up by putting Wickham at a card table with Darcy, Georgiana, and Elizabeth. I also liked how Georgiana pieced together what was bothering Darcy and Bingley and was willing to point out her flaws as a reason for Darcy not to miss out on his chance at happiness. Elizabeth’s encounter with a drunken Wickham in Meryton and the outcome of Mr. Collins’ interference in Darcy’s affairs are scenes that are not to be missed!

What I disliked: I wished that the story had been longer, not because there was anything missing, but because I got so wrapped up in Johnson’s version of events that I didn’t want it to end.

Final thoughts: Readers will enjoy Johnson’s portrayal of Austen’s characters and how she incorporates mistletoe into the story. The pacing is well done, so despite the brevity of the story, the plot doesn’t seem rushed. I read Blame the Mistletoe on a recent day off from work, curled up on the couch with some peppermint tea, our Christmas tree in the background. It was the perfect book and the perfect setting to put me in the Christmas spirit.

Disclosure: Blame the Mistletoe is from my personal 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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