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Posts Tagged ‘summer hanford’

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!

Source: Purchased

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.

Source: Purchased

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.

Source: Kindle freebie

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.

Source: Public library

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.

Source: Purchased

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.

Source: Kindle freebie

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!

Source: Purchased

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:

Source: Purchased

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.

Source: Purchased

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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miss-bingleys-christmas

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Miss Jane Bennet was pretty, sweet and tolerable. Her only flaw was that it had taken Miss Bingley considerable effort to wrench her brother back from pursuing a disastrous union between them. Elizabeth Bennet was by far worse. She was distressingly strong willed, oddly alluring to men in general and, most horribly, to Mr. Darcy in particular. Miss Bingley couldn’t think of anyone worse to meet in London.

(from Miss Bingley’s Christmas)

Renata McMann and Summer Hanford’s short story, Miss Bingley’s Christmas, is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that finds our beloved characters in London for Christmas. Set after Caroline Bingley conspired to remove her brother and the rest of their party from Hertfordshire to separate him from Jane Bennet, the story finds Caroline and her sister, Louisa, stranded in a freezing carriage on their way home from a trip to the flower market. Caroline hopes her Christmas preparations bring her closer to becoming Mrs. Darcy, but all her plans go awry when she and Louisa are forced to abandon their carriage, find themselves soaking wet and lost, and are rescued by Jane and Elizabeth Bennet and their aunt Gardiner.

Being forced to stay at the Gardiners’ home for Christmas Eve gives Caroline a chance to observe the Bennet sisters and their relations and relax in their company. When Mr. and Miss Darcy arrive for Christmas dinner with other guests, including a Joseph and a Mary, Caroline takes a good look at the people around her and even inward, seeing the differences between “Miss Bingley” and the true “Caroline” for the first time.

Miss Bingley’s Christmas packs a lot of character development into a short story that can be finished in less than an hour. The story takes place over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so Caroline’s soul searching and revelations occur rather quickly, but that is to be expected and didn’t dampen my enjoyment. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy take a back seat in this story, and at first I was a bit hesitant to spend too much time in Caroline’s head, but it worked here as her observations uncover some pretty harsh truths about her expectations versus reality. But rest assured that there is a happy ending and an epilogue set during the following Christmas. Although I wish Miss Bingley’s Christmas had been longer (it really would make a great novel or novella), it made for a quick and satisfying read during the busy holiday season.

Disclosure: Miss Bingley’s Christmas is from my personal library.

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